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Root Explorer is a favorite among power users, including yours truly, for its no-nonsense approach to file management on Android. That said, the app was getting a bit long in the tooth before today, with a stale UI and a lack of new features. Developer Speed Software has released a major update to Root Explorer with a ton of new content, including a revamped user interface, networking and cloud storage options, and background processing.

2013-05-30 12.09.00 2013-05-30 12.09.05 slightmod

The most forward-facing feature added is the new tabbed user interface. By default you're presented with a Root and a Storage tab, which can be navigated independently. You can add tabs for any folder, the SD card, internal storage, or an external network by pressing the "+" icon in the new action bar. Dismiss a tab in the same way with the "x" button. Bookmarks to often-used locations are managed with the heart icon.

Add a new tab, and you'll see how much new functionality is available to you. Root Explorer now works with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.net, or any standard SMB server, allowing a pretty great selection of services to pull or push files. Dedicated Root Explorer users may not even need the Dropbox or Drive apps anymore, unless they rely on device-side syncing.

But wait, that's not all! According to the changelog, processes (copy/paste, extraction, deletion, et cetera) now happen in the background, concurrently, and with notifications. (You'll need to manually set operations to run in the background if you'd like to do something else in the same tab.) This is only necessary if you're handling big files, but when you do, it's a godsend. The Preferences menu now now includes a fully-customizable display settings for each listed file or folder. And of course, the app works with root and permission adjustments.

2013-05-30 12.07.01

There's just one thing missing from Root Explorer now: a proper tablet interface. Tabs are great, but the app still shows only one tab at a time, even on 10-inch tablets. But this is a minor nitpick - Root Explorer is better than it's ever been before. It's $3.99 for the tool, and worth every penny.


What's in this version:

• Multiple tabs.
• Network (SMB), Google Drive, Box and Dropbox support.
• Concurrent, background processing of multiple operations with notifications.
• New action status with progress display and ability to cancel all long-running operations.
• Action bar and multi-select action mode support.
• Fully customizable list icons.
• For details of new permissions requested see the full app description.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Guest

    Guys will I need root for this app?

    • Leandros99

      Yes, it's not for fun named "Root Explorer". (But I guess you could use it without as well)

      • sgtguthrie

        Actually, no you can't. That's "Explorer" ;-)

        • Leandros99

          Edited. ;)

          • sgtguthrie

            Now that you edited your post, I look like a tool...What's the point of that? Lol...

          • Leandros99

            Trolling, maybe? :D

    • Miah

      lol, Seriously?

    • HellG
    • jjrudey


    • mgamerz

      Actually you don't. I've ran it on non rooted devices simply cause its a great file manager. To use root only operations you'll need root obviously. It acts like 'Explorer' when you don't have root (free version of it from same Dev)

  • Zombirate

    ES is still my preferred file explorer. Just like the interface :)

    • zack

      Terrible app haha

  • http://kawangeek.com/ EddyGeek

    FX File Explorer... and its the end of the best.

  • Aymen Fadhel

    OT but that Note 8 notification area is puke-inducing.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Yup. I wish someone would port CyanogenMod or AOKP.

    • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

      What's OT?

  • yahyoh

    i'm sticking with ES File explorer its doing everything i need and more + its free :D

  • TheCraiggers

    Oh thank ye gods. Been hoping for this for a year more. My day just got brighter.

  • sgtguthrie

    Awesome! I've always stuck with Root Explorer because it's been the most stable workhorse I've used. No glitches, etc. It's been rock solid since the D1 days...if it ain't broke, why replace it :-)

  • scuttlefield

    I use Solid Explorer. Anyone who's used both able to compare the two?

    • Hal Motley

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Bakaouji

      Root explorer was best for modifying files on your system with root (hence the name), but it was lacking in other features. This latest update + its simple interface means I'm ditching ES & SE for it.

      SE should be able to do everything this can, so you wouldn't be missing anything (apart from the flexibility in the tabs, you can add as many as you want, unlike SE's hardcoded 2).

      • scuttlefield

        Thanks. That's helpful.

    • Paul

      One thing i disliked about Solid Explorer, was the icon resizing feature.
      It didn't work as expected. One could downsize the icons, but the line height stayed the same. Meaning, no space saved and takes longer to scroll through big folders.

      Compared to the old version, RootExplorers update leaves a good and bad aftertaste for me. While tabs are really great, they take away one line at the top. The lower (always on) action bar takes away another line (makes -2 in total now), which could have been handled by the menu button like in the old version.

  • umataro42

    Looks like it now does all the things ES File Explorer does. The cloud service access was the reason I ended up going with ES since both allow root file access if you're rooted. Now I have to consider switching back to Root Explorer.

  • JJ

    Sweet! This is great news.

  • Jason Hanford-Smith

    I've been a Root Explorer user since the Droid X came out and found it very useful. That said, I'm now running the 1.4.4-pre version of Solid Explorer and as far as I'm concerned there is nothing that comes close to it.
    I'm using the pre-release version (although I've paid for it too!) because of a minor issue with mounting /system as r/w in the current version. Besides that minor issue, Solid Explorer is light years ahead of Root Explorer, even given this update.

  • Matthew Fry

    Begin the "I use x. It's better because y," comments.

    I use Solid Explorer. It's better because... of something awesome... probably.

    • enomele

      They have already happened. You are too late

  • faceless128

    nice update! my fave explorer!

  • Bakaouji

    Nice nice. Just tried it out, it's exactly what I wanted. Having used ES File manager, Solid explorer, astro, FX, and many more - all of which had some naggling fault - this seems to be just right. Will have to use it abit more to know for sure though :)

  • Guest

    That UI is terrible including the icons. This is what drifts me apart from a lot of apps, developers really need to work more on this.

  • Alvin Brinson

    Glad to see an update on this. I bought it back when it was pretty much the ONLY root explorer available. While I have used ES and a few others, Root is always my go-to app for real work because it JUST WORKS, no need to "enable" root mode, no jumping through hoops to mount system rw, etc... It just works.

  • ESScott

    Switched to solid explorer a couple months ago and haven't looked back.

  • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

    I wonder if the CM File Manager will ever get released on the Play Store. I'd love that.