Windows File Manager

9 January 2023

Yes, that old chestnut from Windows 3. I was thinking: what other Microsoft programs from the 16-bit Windows days have been recompiled into native 64-bit binaries? I suspect this might be the only one.

It's great that not only did Craig Wittenberg manage to convince Microsoft to open-source the program, but it's also still getting the occasional patch. I know it's old news now, 2.5 years ago in fact, but it's something I still use from time to time.

File Manager running on Windows 11.

File Manager running on Windows 11.

What for, you might wonder? Well, when combined with NSudo/NanaRun, you get SYSTEM account level access to the file system, and the benefit of a GUI. Very handy for say, clearing out temporary files that are stuck in the WinSxS folder.

File Manager used to be able to change file permissions via the Access Control (ACL) Editor. However, it worked by invoking a function in acledwr.dll, which was depreciated in Windows Vista. I was hoping to be able to use the sources of ReactOS or Wine to restore this behaviour, but unfortunately it's just a stub in those — understandably not a priority. It might be possible to copy that DLL from an older version of Windows and redirect it, but it's not the biggest deal.

I like to keep it in the path, in case explorer crashes and won't reload. Windows 11 seems to be rather buggy at the moment, and well... this might save my behind someday!

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