Microsoft has released source code and binary for the Windows File Manager that was an integral part of the Windows NT 4.0 back in 1996. The source code has been modified to make it work with the modern versions of Windows like Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The source code along with the binary files is available from GitHub. If you are a developer, then you can modify it for your own personal use as you like and recompile using Microsoft Visual C++ 2015.
However, if you are excited to finally have a look at the source code of the original File Manager then you might be disappointed as they have stripped all the internal API calls (these API functions are known only to Microsoft and are not made public) and have been replaced by appropriate publicly known Windows API.
If you are not a developer and not interested in programming, then you can just download the binary file that works in all the currently Microsoft supported Windows versions. All you have to do is launch WinFile.exe and you will see the old Windows File Manager on your screen. It also comes with a help file WinFile.chm which is useful if you want to understand how to work with this strange looking File Manager.
Surprisingly, the WinFile.exe program is not digitally signed. This was the practice back in late 1990’s for all the software but Microsoft should have digitally signed it so that the modern security software does not block it. When we launched it in Windows 10 64-bit, Microsoft’s own SmartScreen displayed a warning about the program. But you can ignore the warning as we know about the origin of the program and can trust it.
Whether it is the nostalgia or the search for a minimalist file manager, this Windows File Manager from decades ago could be of some interest to everyone. And if you are a developer, then you can even personalize it for your own custom needs.
You can download Microsoft File Manager from https://github.com/Microsoft/winfile.