How to Manage Files and Folders on Your Windows Phone Device

Now that the Files app is avaialble for Windows Phone devices, we can use it to manage our files and folders with ease. Goodbye having to connect to a computer in order to perform basic file management tasks. Here's how to use this app to open files and folders, delete them, rename them, share them, move them around and view their properties.

Where to Find the Files App in the Windows Phone

You can download the Files app from the Windows Phone Store here.

If you would like to learn more about it, its features and limitations, read this article: Introducing Files - The File Manager for Windows Phone 8.1.

How to Search for Files and Folders Using the Files App

If you have a lot of files on your Windows Phone, browsing the file system looking for certain files or folders might not be the best thing to do, especially while on the go. Fortunately, Microsoft included the Search function, which will save you a lot of time, especially when you know the name of the item you are searching for. To access the search function, simply open the app and tap the search button:

Next type a few letters from the searched item’s name (1) and press enter (2) on the bottom-right of the keyboard.

If any item is found, before being able to use it, you will need to select it by pressing the select button on the app bar:

Then, continue by ticking the checkbox next to the item.

Now you are ready to do more with the file or folder you were looking for. You can do things like deleting it, moving it or copying it to another location, renaming it or sharing it with others. You will learn how to do all these things by the end of this article.

How to View & Open The Files From Your Windows Phone

The Files app allows you to access the files stored on your Windows Phone and on your SD card, if you have one.

Tapping once on a file will open the file with the associated application (if there is one). If not, which was the case with the Sample.unknown file we specifically crafted for this tutorial, you will be prompted to search for an app in the Windows Phone Store that can open it.

How to Create a Folder in Windows Phone

If you want to create a folder, navigate to the desired location and tap the new folder button (1) on the app bar at the bottom of the screen.

The keyboard is now displayed and a box (1) where you can type the name of the new folder.

Type the name of the folder and press OK (2) to continue or cancel (3), if you have changed your mind and you no longer want to create a new folder.

How to Delete, Share, Rename or View the Properties of a Folder

If you press and hold on any folder in the Files app, a contextual menu will be shown. This menu includes the following options for interacting with that folder:

  • delete (1) - This will permanently delete the folder and any files and subfolders that it may contain. There is no Recycle Bin on your Windows Phone so it will be very hard if not impossible for you to recover it later on.
  • share(2) - This will share all files inside the folder. If a folder contains over 100 files you will be notified that you cannot share more than 100 files at a time.

    A successful share command will take you to the sharing list on your Windows Phone, where you will see all the available sharing options.

  • rename (3) - tapping this option will display the keyboard and a field where you can type the new name for the selected folder. Type the new name inside the File name field and press save.

    You can also press cancel if you don't want to rename the folder anymore.

  • properties (4) - tapping this option will display information about the selected folder such as the total size, the number of files and folders it contains and the date when this folder was last modified.

How to Delete, Share, Rename, Move or Copy a File in Windows Phone

Moving forward, let's examine the contextual menu options for a file. Navigate to the folder of your choice and tap on a file for 2 or more seconds. The contextual menu is shown. All files, regardless of their type, have the same options in this menu:

  • delete (1) - This option will permanently delete the file right away. You will be asked to confirm the removal of any file before it is deleted.

  • share (2) - This will share the file you selected and it works just like when sharing a folder.
  • rename(3) - pressing rename will display the keyboard and the File name field where you can change the name of the file. Type a new name and press save

  • move to (4) and copy to(5) - pressing any of these options will take you to a screen where you can select the destination folder where the file will be moved or copied. Navigate to the desired location and press copy here or move here, depending on what you want to do.

    If a file with the same name exists in the destination folder, you will see a notification and you are presented with the following choices: replace (1) the existing file by overwriting it, skip (2) it by not moving or copying the file with the same name but continuing the operation with other files (if they were selected) and cancel (3) to stop moving or copying the file(s).

    You might have noticed the checkbox item saying "Do this for all items", (4), which will come in handy when you want to overwrite or skip all files with the same name.

How to Sort Files and Folders in Windows Phone

The Files app for Windows Phone offers several choices for sorting the folders and files it displays. Sorting works the same for both files and folders.

In order to access all sorting options, tap the sort (1) button in the navigation bar.

Then you will see all the available choices: sort by name (ascending), name (descending), newest, oldest, largest and smallest.

To exemplify how it works, let's sort by name (ascending).

Below you can see the list of folders sorted by date, with the newest folders on top.

Now you can see the same list sorted by date with the oldest items on top.

Don't hesitate to experiment with all the available sorting options and see how they work. We found the size sorting options quite useful while trying to find out which folders take the most space on our Windows Phone devices.

Conclusion

Even if it took Microsoft a while before releasing the Files app for Windows Phone, the wait was worth it and this app is a must-have on every Windows Phone device. It will simplify the way you manage and share files and, most of all, save you some time by eliminating the need to connect to a computer for simple file management tasks.

We hope that you have found this guide useful. If you have any questions or problems, don't hesitate to ask using the comments form below.