File Expert: The Unofficial Manual

by Shane R. Monroe (Web | Email | Twitter | G+)
Last Updated: 6/8/2012 (File Expert v4.2.1)

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Introduction

File Expert (known from now on as FE) is an all-in-one tool for managing files locally, over a network and via various cloud services. Additional utilities are included for handling application packages (APKs), compressed files and viewing images.

Why Unofficial?

While a fantastic product, FE does not have a manual or even a good website of information and support. This manual was created to ease the burden on the developers and allow them to fix bugs, add features and actually work on the product instead of spending hours creating documentation.

This document was not paid for nor is endorsed by the File Expert product team. It should not be charged for in any way. Instead of copying this document, please send any recommended changes to me (see byline above) and link to this original document.

Paid vs Free

FE comes in a no-cost, ad free application from Google Play. This contains full functionality of the product with the exception of the ability to mount system file folders as read/write (requires root access). This functionality is added via a plugin purchased on Google Play for the price of $2.99 (current at the time of writing).

Personal Note about "the bait and switch" accusations with regards to root access ...

A lot of people have "turned" on this application due to a recent removal of root level access - this access being moved to a "donate" plugin which is not free. There has been rampant rating changes from 5-star to 1-star in an attempt to "get the developer's attention" and protest this move which has been described as "underhanded" and "greedy" (among other things). Horrible emails have been sent to the developer. Distasteful blog posts, forum messages, etc. as well.

First of all, could this "change" from "free" to "donate" have been handled better on the part of the developer? Absolutely. Not all users of apps are in the software industry and don't realize that it is commonplace to release "beta" or "preview" features free of charge to users - only to "expire" these features when the final product ships. At the time of writing, Windows 8 Preview is available for free from Microsoft. I know that no one that is "beta testing" this product expects to get it for free later when the beta period expires. This is a very common practice and while I do not work for the developer of this application - I do believe this was their honest intention.

The developer, however, should have made this intention more clear to the end user who now feels "cheated" by the upgrade of features requiring a pay plugin. It is perceived as deceitful on the part of the developer - and I do understand the outcry of former users at what happened. It didn't help that they did it after they won an award for the product. Overall, it was a mishandled event. I am aware that anyone that "freely" donated any sort of money to the developer was comp'ed a donate key for free.

However; this error has been totally blown out of proportion by the user community. It shames me to see my fellow Android community acting like this over essentially the cost of a cup of coffee. I expect this sort of behavior from our red-headed step-children cousins (iOS users) - but it depresses me to see it here.

Free always rocks - but without ads or any other method of income ... what did everyone EXPECT to happen? I've been waiting for the "other shoe" to fall for some time now.

Look, we've had this application for two years - no ads, no notification nags, endless feature upgrades - totally unheard of in the software world of "pay every year for new features". This sort of negative, berating behavior en masse from users is why developers continue to stay and/or move to iOS. If we want top notch developers developing FIRST on Android and making crappy ports to iOS SECOND - then we need to have a little respect and act like adults. Air your grievences, email the developer and if you're still dissatisfied - vote with your wallet - and don't pay; uninstall and use something that's free.

You may think you're "punishing" the developer, but in reality you're punishing everyone that loves the app and loves to see quality Android development.

To everyone that is lambasting this app and developer on the Market; I'm asking you to please adjust your reviews accordingly. I'd like this app to continue to flourish and become more refined. I'm maintaining this document free of charge, on my own time because I believe the application is great - despite a mistake from the developers. This is how I'm voting and trying to push the product foward.

Can't get a response from the developer? Email me. I might not have the answer - but I'll do my best to help you out. Thanks to the popularity of this manual, I am a bit closer to the developer's ear - and maybe I can help affect some changes in the user's favor. Let's do this right.

The Interface

The interface for FE is a single screen, tabbed interface. Each tab contains a self-contained version of FE - which can contain menus, file locations, network locations, etc. Unlike some "dual pane" or double-listing type file managers, the self-contained nature of tabs doesn't allow direct movement of files or interactions between the tabs - they are complete independent instances of FE. Files can be sent between the tabs via cut/copy/paste style commands.

If you are navigating files and folders, you will see the current path under the tab, but above the files and folders list. This will let you know where you are within your device's file system.

Exiting File Expert

Many features of File Expert require it to continue running - even if you aren't working directly with the program. If you hit the HOME button on your device or switch to another program, FE will leave a notification in your Notification area that it is still running. You may return to the program easily by selecting this notification.

To properly exit the application, you can repeatedly hit your device's BACK button until FE disappears or on some screens you will see the EXIT option at the bottom of the FE window. Both methods will unload the app from memory and close it.

List vs Grid View

As with file managers on Windows and other operating systems, you can view the file listings in either a List View or a Grid View. Aside from the layout display differences, List View allows for multiple selection of files for "batch" type operations using check boxes. In Grid View, multiple selection must be turned on when you wish to select more than one item.

Toggle List / Grid View:
Menu Button -> More -> Settings-> General Software Settings -> Set Default View Mode

Toggle Multiple Selection in Grid View On/Off:
Menu Button -> Turn on|off multi-select

Also See:
Menu Button -> More -> Settings-> General Software Settings -> Grid Mode Entry Size
Menu Button -> More -> Settings-> General Software Settings -> List Mode Entry Size

Tabs

Tabs are useful when opening multiple locations during file operations just as cut/copy and paste. New tabs are spawned by clicking the + icon in the upper right corner of the app. Close tabs by selecting the tab, then clicking the small X located on the tab. Tabs are enabled by default.

You can also perform some tab manipulation by long pressing a tab and using the context menu that pops up.

Toggle Tabs On/Off:
Menu Button -> More -> Hide|Show Tabs

Context Menus

FE generously uses context menus (also called "long press popups" - similar to 'right clicking' in Windows) throughout the application. Much of the functionality of the product is hidden away in neatly organized context menus. Access these context menus by long pressing (that is, tapping and keeping your finger held down) on the item in question. For the purposes of this manual, we will refer to these long press menus as context menus.

File Management: Local

Local file management is the manipulation of files found on your device. Android devices have two or three locations for files (depending on if you have a physical SD card slot or not). This can be very confusing to new users of FE because every Android device must have an "SDCARD" location - whether they actually have an SD card or not.

FE assumes you do not have an "external" SD card - but rather a "fake" SD card partition on your device. Both FE and this manual will refer to this fake SD Card location as "SD Card". The means to access a device's external or physical SD card varies from device to device - but you will likely find the path to it under Phone Internal Storage in FE. No, it doesn't make much sense, but it will once you're used to it.

For example, the location of the physical SD card on the Asus Transformer is: Phone Internal Storage -> Removable Devices -> MicroSD

Fortunately, FE has a bookmarking or "Favorites" system - so you will really only need to find these unusual locations once.

My Files

SD Card

This option will take you to the files located at "/mnt/sdcard" - normally the fake SD card partition in memory. If you do not have a device with an external SD card, you don't need to worry about it; this option is the location for all your non-system files (photos, music, ringtones, data, etc.)

Phone Internal Storage

This option takes you to the device's system files which are read-only (you can look at them, but not edit/delete/alter them). If you have the paid FE plugin and your device is rooted, you can "mount" any system folder to Read Write. If the term "root" doesn't mean anything to you, then you cannot mount these files and folders as Read Write.

If you do have the paid FE plugin and a rooted device, you may change to Read Write anytime.

Toggle Read Only / Read Write:
Menu Button -> More -> Mount -> Mount As Read Only|Read Write

Warning: Altering ANY system file - even renaming one - can result in your device crashing, rebooting and not booting back up again. if you don't know what you are doing, then stay clear of Read Write.

If you have an external/physical SD card on your device, chances are you will access it's location (or mount point) in this area of FE. Once you determine the correction path to your external SD card, add it as a Favorite.

My Documents

Unlike My Documents on your computer, FE's My Documents is more of a search/filtering tool for different types of documents like images, video, music, apk files and zip files.

Once you select My Documents from the FE main menu, you will be asked what type of files to find. Most of these are self-explanatory - but APK Packages and Compressed Packages may not be. Most users won't need these. Power users will use these to find installable packages (APKs) or compressed versions of these packages (tar.gz).

It can take a great deal of time to find all the file types you have requested. Once the search is complete, you will get a list of the files of the type you selected and you may manipulate them the same as you would any other file listing.

Favorites

Typically, there are several locations on your device you will frequently visit (your pictures folder, MP3 folder, ringtones, external SD cards, etc.). These can be bookmarked as a FAVORITE (similar to bookmarking a favorite website in your browser).

To bookmark a favorite folder, simply navigate to that folder via My Files or Phone Internal Storage. Long press the folder you want to make a Favorite. From the context menu, select Add to Favorites.

Once you have bookmarked a folder as a Favorite, it will appear under Favorites on the main FE menu. Clicking a Favorite will take you to that location directly where you can manipulate the files just as if you had navigated your way there yourself.

Options at the bottom of the screen will allow you to select/delete Favorites from this list. You may also long press a Favorite and perform certain actions as well as Remove From Favorites.

Note: Favorites can only be create on folders located under SD Card or Phone Internal Storage. You cannot set a cloud or network location as a Favorite.

Root Explorer

If your device has been "rooted", FE will allow you to manipulate normally Read Only system files. See Phone Internal Storage above on how to enable FE's ability to alter these files.

Note: This capability is is only available to users that have purchased the donate plugin from Google Play.

File Management: Network

Windows/Samba Sharing

If you have a computer with Windows/Samba Sharing pre-configured, you may this feature to access the files on that computer. You may scan your local network for servers or set up a more permanent account.

When creating a new account, enter your credentials and hit Okay to save the profile

Note: Long press an existing account to edit or delete it.

FTP Client

You can access any FTP server using FE as your FTP client. Select this option and then Create New Account or choose one you have preconfigured.

When creating a new account, enter your credentials and hit Okay to save the profile

Note: Long press an existing account to edit or delete it.

SFTP Client

This option is similar to FTP Client above with the except that it uses SSH FTP vice regular FTP. Select this option and then Create New Account or choose one you have preconfigured.

When creating a new account, enter your credentials and hit Okay to save the profile

Note: Long press an existing account to edit or delete it.

FTPS Client

This option is similar to FTP Client above with the except that it uses FTPS (also known as Secure or SSL) vice regular FTP. Select this option and then Create New Account or choose one you have preconfigured.

When creating a new account, enter your credentials and hit Okay to save the profile

Note: Long press an existing account to edit or delete it.

WebDAV Client

This option uses WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) connectivity to access files on a remote server. Select this option and then Create New Account or choose one you have preconfigured.

When creating a new account, enter your credentials and hit Okay to save the profile

Note: Long press an existing account to edit or delete it.

Bluetooth OBEX Client

This option is used to connect to another FE-equipped Android device over Bluetooth. See:
Sharing Your Files -> Share My Content -> Start Share Over Bluetooth

File Management: Cloud

Cloud-based storage is fastly gaining in popularity. With fierce competition and huge free storage quotas being offered - even the most skeptical among us are using these on-line storage option.

While most big cloud hosts offer a dedicated app (and this functionality is not a direct replacement), sometimes - you just want to hop into the cloud and get a file quickly and easily within your file manager.

FE offers several US and foreign cloud solution providers. You can perform basic file operations on your cloud storage (copy, paste, delete). You cannot "open" files directly from the cloud; you must move them to a local location first (i.e. SDCard) before opening or using the file.

Note: You will need to have your own, pre-setup account for the cloud service. You will not be able to create one in FE. Some cloud services will provide a link to sign up as part of the login process.

My Cloud

The following cloud services are supported at the time of writing:

Working with Files and Folders

Beginnings

Browsing your Android device's files and folders is just the beginning. Once you have a list of files and/or folders, you can manipulate them individually or as a group (known as a "batch").

Selecting Files and Folders

Single Selection

Individual items can be acted upon by long pressing them and using commands from the context menu. Files and folders both have their own context menu with specific actions that can be taken on the item.

Multiple Selection

The method of selecting multiple items depends on what Mode of viewing you are in; List Mode or Grid Mode. This option is set here:
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> General Software Settings -> Set Default View Mode

In List Mode, multiple selection is done by tapping the check box to the right of the filename. You can select all files/folders by using the Select All button at the bottom of a listing, If all items are selected, the Select All changes to Clear All.

In Grid Mode, there are no check boxes since everything is in a more icon view, displayed as a grid. To multiselect, you'll need to turn it on. You can turn it off the same way:
Menu button-> Turn on|off Multi-Select

Once turned on, tapping a file or folder will mark it with a check.

Note: If you turn off mult-select, the items will stay selected. However, if you leave the current folder you will lose your selection.

Standard Actions

File and Folder Actions

Many actions can be done on either files or folders. These actions are listed here. These actions, unless otherwise noted, are available by long pressing a file or folder.

Copy

This copies the file or folder to the "clipboard". Navigate to the destination folder and select the Paste icon from the bottom of the FE window. This action leaves the original file or folder alone. Think of this as CTRL-C on your computer.

Note: This is also available as an icon at the bottom of the FE window.

Cut

This copies the file or folder to the "clipboard". Navigate to the destination folder and select the Paste icon from the bottom of the FE window. This action deletes the original file or folder once the new copy has been written. Think of this as CTRL-X on your computer.

Note: Cut + Paste is the equivalent to "Move" in FE.

Note: This is also available as an icon at the bottom of the FE window.

Delete

Deletes the file or folder. You will be prompted one time before deletion occurs.

Note: This is also available as an icon at the bottom of the FE window.

Rename

Allows you to rename the file or folder.

Details

This brings up a window that gives you various information about the file or folder.

For files, it brings up last modified date, size, MIME type, and MD5 checksum.

For folders it brings up the last modified date, and FE will calculate the size of the contents of the folder (this might take a minute).

Zip

This archives the file or folder into a standard ZIP compressed file, placing the new ZIP file in the current folder using the original file/folder name as the prefix.

Send Files

For files, this allows you to quickly send a file via Bluetooth or WiFi. You can also access the standard Android OS "Share" menu which will let you "send" that to any app that is registered as a "share" app on Android (Gmail, Docs, Dropbox, etc).

For folders, this only brings up a single option; NFC Tapping (this will appear regardless if you have NFC or not). If you have NFC, you can transmit the folder. if you do not, you will be instructed by the Android OS that you do not have the hardware to do this.

Add To Favorites

This adds the file or folder to your list of favorites. See:
File Management: Local -> Favorites

File Specific Actions

These are actions only allowed on files (not folders).

Decompress

This feature will take an .apk or .zip file and decompress it into a designated folder.

Note: This option will not appear if the file you have selected isn't decompressable.

Search for Apps that can open this file format

If you have an unknown file you cannot open with any app on your device, this option will scan FE's servers for any known app that can open this file type.

Note: This feature appears to be spotty in operation.

Open As

If you cannot open a file with a default file type application, it's possible it might open in another media format or another app you have installed. This option will allow you to try to open the file with another default handler or even allow you to choose an app to try to open it with.

Open

Opens the file with the registered app to handle that type of a file (ezPDF app for .pdf files, etc.)

View Contents

This will show the contents of an .apk file as if it were a directory or folder.

Note: This option only appears when an .apk file is selected.

Open With

This appears to have duplicate functionality as Open As.

Folder Specific Actions

These are actions only allowed on folders (not files).

Network Share

This is a shortcut to setting up a new sharing directory and sharing it quickly over Web, FTP or Bluetooth. See:
Sharing Your Files -> Share My Contents -> Start Share Via FTP
Sharing Your Files -> Share My Contents -> Start Share Via Web

Search

This option crashes File Expert. Do not use it (v4.1.2)

Open Folder in New Tab

This creates a new tab at the top of FE and opens the selected folder in it.

Hide Pics for Media Detection

When gathering photos and other media for use with media apps like the Gallery, Android OS will ignore any folder (and its subfolders) that contains an empty file named ".nomedia". This option will create that file for you and put it into the selected folder.

Set As Default Sharing Dir

All "sharing" functions in FE use a "default sharing folder" - that is, the folder (and subfolders and files) that are to be shared. This is how you set this value. See:
Sharing Your Files

Install All APK Packages

Use this to quickly install every app (.apk) located within the folder you selected.

Create Shortcut on Desktop

This option will create a shortcut to this folder on your Android device's homescreen. You can now open that folder instantly in FE without opening FE first. Very handy.

Create FTP Shortcut

This option will create an icon on your Android device's homescreen. Touching this icon will launch FE directly in FTP Sharing mode - setting the default Sharing folder to the folder you have selected.

This still uses the default FTP settings found here:
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> FTP Settings -> FTP Server Settings

For more information on this feature, see:
Sharing Your Files -> Share My Contents -> Start Share Via FTP

Create Web Shortcut

This option will create an icon on your Android device's homescreen. Touching this icon will launch FE directly in Web Sharing mode - setting the default Sharing folder to the folder you have selected.

This still uses the default Web settings found here:
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> Web Settings

For more information on this feature, see:
Sharing Your Files -> Share My Contents -> Start Share Via Web

Multi-Select Actions

Basic multi-select actions are handled via both the Menu button->Batch as well as icons on the bottom of the FE window, including; Select/Clear All, Copy, Cut, Delete and Paste. More advanced options are located under the Menu button-> Batch.

Advanced Actions

Details

This will give you the total size of all selected files and folders (and their subfolders). This can take some time.

Batch Play / Execute / Install

This will attempt to play, execute or install any file you have selected. If you have folders selected, it will not recurse folders (or even open the ones you selected)

Batch Zip

Zips all selected files and folders into an archive Zip file of your naming. It outputs to the folder you're currently viewing.

Add To Favorites

This adds the files and folders to your list of favorites. See:
File Management: Local -> Favorites

Other Actions

These actions are accessed via the Menu button on your device.

New Folder

Creates a new folder with the name of your choosing in the current folder.

Search

Begins a search for the text of your choice on the folder you have selected and it's subfolders. This does not search the entire OS.

Sort

Changes how files and folders are sorted in the list. Options include name, type, last modified and size.

Sharing Your Files

Some of the best features of FE center around the ability to share your files with other devices such as your computer, network, tablet and phones. Using internet standard methods like Web and FTP, almost anything can connect to your device to share files. When using these sharing methods, you can use your computer or device's native programs or even your favorite programs to access your Android device's files via FE.

Note: For most of the options below, both devices (your Android device and the other device you want to use to access your files) must be on the same local network. Typically, your Android device will be connected via your WiFi and your other devices will either be WiFi connected or wired to your local network.

Note: All "sharing" functionality uses a "default sharing folder" as the top level folder of the share. To change the default sharing folder, see:
Working with Files and Folders -> Actions -> Folder Specific Actions -> Set As Default Sharing Dir

Share My Contents

Start Share via Web

The fastest and easiest way to get to your phone files is via this option. It will turn your phone into a web server - giving you a very Windows-like OS to access your device's files - right in your browser window.

Once you select this option, FE will give you an address to type into your other device's web browser. It will look something like this:

http://192.168.1.123:8080 (your numbers will vary)

It will also display a username and password; the default is fe and filexpert respectively.

Open up the web browser on your computer or other device and enter the address you are given. You will be prompted for a username and password. Enter the ones you are given.

Once you have connected, you will see a web page that is actually your phone! Opening the File Expert icon will access your shared folder. You may then perform file operations on those files.

Note: You must leave FE running on your device while accessing this Web sharing system. You will need a modern, current browser to use this Web sharing. I recommend Google Chrome.

Once you have completed your Web sharing session, select Stop Share via Web in FE to stop the service.

Advanced Users: You may change the port, username and password - as well as other advanced options.
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> Web Settings

Start Share via FTP

For power users, you may also choose to use the built in FTP server. This will allow you to connect to your device with almost any device via the FTP protocol. You can also access FTP via common operating systems like Windows, OSX and Linux.

Once you select this option, FE will give you an address to use in your FTP client on the other device. It will look something like this:

http://192.168.1.123:2211 (your numbers will vary)

It will also display a username and password; the default is fe and filexpert respectively.

Open up the web browser or FTP client on your computer or other device and enter the address/credentials you are given.

You may now access your shared folder on your device just as you would any other FTP site.

Note: You must leave FE running on your device while accessing this FTP sharing system. Many file managers like Directory Opus will allow you to access FTP sites as if they were just folders on your computer.

Once you have completed your FTP sharing session, select Stop Share via FTP in FE to stop the service.

Advanced Users: You may change the port, username and password - as well as other advanced options.
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> FTP Settings -> FTP Server Settings

Start Share via Bluetooth

Similar to FTP or Web, this allows another FE-equipped Android device to connect to your device and manipulate files on it. With this feature, you're using the Bluetooth protocol to make the transfers.

To use this, ensure the device you want to access yours already has Bluetooth turned on and FE is running. Select Start Share via Bluetooth on your device. A message will confirm that your device will be discoverable for 2 minutes.

On the other device, search for Bluetooth devices in the Android operating system (varies by OS version, but try under Settings->Bluetooth). You will be asked to confirm pairing on BOTH devices.

Once paired, on the other device, go into FE and select Network-> Bluetooth OBEX Client.

After a few moments, you will see your devices default share directory show up on the other device. You may now access and manipulate the files as if you were on the original device.

Start WiFi File Receiver

A very exciting feature of FE is the ability to share a file with another FE-equipped Android device. Both the "sender" and "receiver" have to be on the same local network for this feature to work. If you attempt to do this over your cell phone network, it will crash FE.

Selecting this option puts your device in "listen" mode; awaiting another device to send you a file.

To send a file FROM another FE-equipped device to yours, simply find the file or folder you want to send. Long press the file until the context menu pops up. Select the option Send Files. Then select Send Via WiFi.

FE will scan the local network ... looking for a listener Android device. Once it finds one, it will transfer the file to it. During the transfer, you will see a notification in the Notification area of the sender's device. Currently, it does not offer a progress indicator - so you may have to be patient waiting for the file to transfer.

Application Management

As Android users get more savvy, they want more control over the applications that are on their devices. This functionality will assist you in managing those applications.

My Apps

This option from the main menu will search your device and bring up a list of all installed user applications. It will not show system level apps by default. The list generated will be similar to that of a folder list. You can multi-select and perform functions similar to a list of files and folders.

Note: You can "filter" or search through your apps by a search function (v4.1.5). To access this:
Menu button-> Search

To show all apps (including system apps):
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> App Manager Settings -> Show All Apps

Get New Apps

This appears at the top of your generated app list. Selecting this option will contact FE's servers for a list of "hot apps" you might be interested in. These apps bear no relation to your installed apps or your own personal tastes - it is just a list put together by the FE team based partially on user input.

To recommend one of your apps, long press the app in the My Apps list and select I LIKE THIS APP in the context menu.

Note: This option is also located under Utilities from the main menu.

Get New Plugin (Pro Version)

This appears at the top of your generated app list. Selecting this option will contact FE's servers for a list of plugins you might be interested in. See Other Utilities -> Utilities -> Plugin. You must have the paid "Pro" plugin installed to get this option.

Backup

FE allows you to backup your installed apps (no data or settings are backed up with the backup tools). They are backed up as ready-to-install .apk files and the default save location is:

/mnt/sdcard/backup_apps

You can change this location:
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> App Manager Settings -> App Backup Directory

You can batch backup a number of apps at once using this feature. Select the apps to backup and select the Backup icon at the bottom of the screen.

It is also possible to set FE to automatically backup any newly installed apps. This option will allow FE to sit in the background and wait for an app to be installed. FE will not appear to be running at this time. Unless you really need this functionality, I recommend leaving it off. You can set the option:
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> App Manager Settings -> Auto Backup

Note: You can also backup a single app by long pressing the app and selecting Backup from the context menu.

Uninstall

You can batch uninstall a number of apps at once using this feature. Select the apps to uninstall and select the Uninstall icon at the bottom of the screen.

During the batch process, you will be prompted by the Android uninstall process to confirm removal of the app.

Root Users: You can perform "silent" batch uninstalls - which will uninstall all the selected apps without prompting. To turn this on:
Menu button-> More -> Settings -> App Manager Settings -> Silent Uninstall App

Note: You can also uninstall a single app by long pressing the app and selecting Uninstall from the context menu.

Open With Market

Long pressing an app in the list and selecting Open with Market from the context menu will take you to Google Play (formerly Google market). It will automatically search for the Market using the app's unique application name - which will normally render you only one result - the app you selected.

Note: If you have installed or "sideloaded" an app that is not approved for your device by Google Market, the app will not appear using the option.

Details

Long pressing an app in the list and selecting Details will take you to the Android OS's App Info screen for that app. Based on the version of Android OS you are using, you will get detailed information about the app including the ability to stop the app, clear it's data cache and see the permissions the app is using.

NFC Tapping

If your device is capable of Near Field Communications (NFC), long pressing an app in the list and selecting NFC Tapping will engage the Android OS's built in NFC Sharing utility (varies by device). You may be prompted to turn on Bluetooth and other services to complete the request.

Currently, few devices offer NFC so most users will not find a need for this option.

Share

Long pressing an app in the list and selecting Share will bring up a special sharing context menu. This is not the default Android OS's "Share" list you may already be used to seeing. Instead, this type of sharing is via social networking services like Twitter and Facebook. Gmail and SMS options are also available.

During the sharing process, you will be allowed to view and edit the message posted or sent.

Note: The app itself (aka the .apk file) will not be send with the message. Instead, a link to the Google Market is sent. Depending on the recipient's device, they may or may not be able to view and install the app.

If you want to send the app itself, use the Backup tool and then share the resulting .apk file located in the backup folder location. Remember, no data will be sent with the app.

I Like This App

Long pressing an app in the list and selecting I Like This App will send a "vote" to FE's servers. FE uses this data to create the Get New Apps list. It does not appear to send personal information - but if you're concerned with that, do not use this feature.

Other Utilities

Utilities

Theme Manager

The theme manager allows you to apply, uninstalll and backup your themes. Themes are available as purchasable (and free) add ons from the Google Market. If a theme costs money, you will check out via the Market as you would any other app.

Note: Most themes appear at the top of the Get New Apps list - if you want to avoid a trip to the Google Market and searching yourself.

Once you have downloaded and installed the theme, you will use this Theme Manager to select and Apply the theme. Note: Applying a theme will require a restart of FE.

Restart FE and the new theme should be applied.

Note: Unlike themes in other software, only the visual look (colors, background, etc.) is changed. Functionality, menu items, features, etc. are not changed. It would probably be more appropriately called a "skin" than a theme.

Get New Apps

See Application Management -> My Apps -> Get New Apps above.

Settings

General Software Settings

Update

If checked, FE will check to see if there is a new version each time you run it and will notify you if a new version exists.

Home on Startup

If this is checked, you will always be presented with the FE's "main menu". If unchecked, it will default to your device's default SD Card location.

Set Default View Mode

Toggle between seeing your files and folders in a list or as icons. See: The Interface-> List vs Grid View

Grid Mode Entry Size

Change the size of file entries when using Grid Mode view. See: The Interface-> List vs Grid View

List Mode Entry Size

Change the size of file entries when using List Mode view. See: The Interface-> List vs Grid View

Compressed Files Encoding

This changes the type of encoding used by compressed files. It does not change the type of compression (zip, rar, 7z, etc.) used by FE. Most users will not find usable options here.

File Explorer Settings

Simple List Mode

For those less concerned about details about each file like size and the date/time modified - Simple List Mode will give you a cleaner, more simple display when you're looking at files and folders in List Mode.

Hidden Dir

The Android OS naturally hides folders that contain a period in the name. If you would like to see these anyway, enable this option.

Thumbnails

When viewing items, FE will try to create custom thumbnail icons of images and some media files to be displayed in front of the name. This can slow down operation and make the program sluggish. If you don't need these preview thumbnails, uncheck this option.

APK Icon

Apps you can install (.apk files) have icon graphics built into them. By enabling this option, FE will extract and display these icons next to the filename.

Notification Icon

When FE is pushed into the background (you hit HOME or bring another app up), it will put an icon in the Notification area reminding you it is still running. Uncheck this option if you would rather not see this icon.

Note: The FE icon will not be displayed for certain background operations like Auto Backup.

Root Explorer (Root/Donate users only)

For those that live on the wild side, enabling this option will allow you to mount system folders as Read / Write - allowing you to change, delete and modify these files.

For more information, see:
Local -> My Files -> Phone Internal Storage

Search All Files

When using FE's search feature, it will obey the Android OS's behavior of not showing hidden files. If you wish to see these hidden files, enable this option.

FTP Settings

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a fantastic means of communication. It is solid, reasonably fast and has been around for a long time - which means there are many tools and devices that support FTP communications.

You can use FE as both a client (a program that connects to an FTP server) or as a server (a program that FTP clients connect to).

Note: FTP only works across WiFi. Attempting to use FTP over cell communications will produce undesirable results.

FTP Server Settings

The FTP server allows your phone to serve files to other devices (PCs and Macs, other Android devices and much more). This will allow you to access your files from across the desk or room without a cable.

Wake Lock

There are options in the Android OS to have the WiFi connection go to sleep or shut off when the phone's screen is off. Check the option to ensure you don't lose your FTP server while using it.

FTP User Name

FTP servers usually require credentials - or a login - to access them for security purposes. Set your FTP server's login username here.

Note: If not set, it will default to fe.

FTP Password

FTP servers usually require credentials - or a login - to access them for security purposes. Set your FTP server's login password here.

Note: If not set, it will default to filexpert.

FTP Port

While the FTP address is chosen by your WiFi access point, you are able to set your own port number for access.

If not set, it will default to 2211.

Note: Some WiFi access points are set to block unusual ports like 2211. Similarly, some PCs have security software or firewalls that might naturally block this port. If you cannot connect to the FTP server, try changing the port to something common like 21.

FTP Encodings

If you know what FTP encoding is, and you need to change it - here is where you do it.

FTP Client Settings

Passive Mode

Most FTP servers like Passive Mode from their clients. Unless you have some issues connecting to an odd FTP server, leave this enabled.

Web Settings

Wake Lock

There are options in the Android OS to have the WiFi connection go to sleep or shut off when the phone's screen is off. Check the option to ensure you don't lose your Web sharing while using it.

Web Login

Web servers usually require credentials - or a login - to access them for security purposes. If you feel safe using Web sharing without a login, disable this option.

Multiple Files Upload

HTTP Server Port

Web User Name

Web servers usually require credentials - or a login - to access them for security purposes. Set your Web sharing login username here.

Note: If not set, it will default to fe.

Web Password

Web servers usually require credentials - or a login - to access them for security purposes. Set your Web sharing login password here.

Note: If not set, it will default to filexpert.

SMB Streaming Buffer Size

Changing this buffer size may increase performance when using Windows/Samba sharing.

App Manager Settings

Show All Apps

When using FE to browse files and folders, it will obey the Android OS's behavior of not showing hidden files. If you wish to see these hidden files, enable this option.

Auto Backup

Use this option to enable Auto Backup. See:
Application Management -> My Apps -> Backup

Silent Install APK

You can batch install a number of apps at once using this feature.

During the batch process, you will be prompted by the Android install process to confirm installation of the app.

Root Users: You can perform "silent" batch installs - which will install all the selected apps without prompting - by enabling this option.

APK Install Location

During the app install process on an APP2SD enabled Froyo device, you may want the apps to automatically install on the SD card instead of into the phone's main memory.

Note: Installing widgets or widget enabled apps may cause widgets not to load correctly on reboot. Use with care.

Silent Uninstall App

Allows root users to perform "silent" batch uninstalls. See:
App Management -> My Apps -> Uninstall

App Backup Directory

Allows you to change the location of the App Backup process. See:
App Management -> My Apps -> Backup

Load Data Settings

During the Get New Apps process, this option determines if the automatic loading of "more" apps is done as you scroll down the list. If you prefer to view only a few New Apps at a time, set this to Manual instead of Automatic.

Social Share Settings

When you share an app under My Apps to a social network, you will be prompted to allow access to your social networking account on FE's behalf (to post the message, tweet, etc.)

You can use these options to CLEAR that permission.

Plugin (Pro Version)

As of FE V4.1.2, special small utilities called plugins are available for download and use. You download them by accessing the Google Market or through FE itself via My Apps->Get New Plugin.

Plugins offer various minor tasks including file/text encryption, common text storage area (like a "magic clipboard") and others. See Plugins for a listing and description of available plugins.

These mini-apps can be launched from within FE in this menu location or they can be launched directly from the App Drawer just like any other app. These apps cannot be used without FE installed. If you attempt to use them, you will be prompted to download and install FE.

Note: To remove a plugin after downloading, go to your device's App Drawer, locate the plugin and uninstall it the same way you would any other app.

Memory Manager (Pro; Root)

As of FE Pro V4.1.4, a new tool was added to FE. This requires the Pro plugin and root access on your device.

Every app that runs, Android puts into an "out of memory group" based on their priority; FOREGROUND_APP, VISIBLE_APP, SECONDARY_SERVER, HIDDEN_APP, CONTENT_PROVIDER, and EMPTY_APP.

When Android needs memory, it starts killing off applications in these groups based on how much memory is free; starting with the group with the highest value.

For example, if you set HIDDEN_APP = 24mb; when free memory on your device dips below 24mb, Android will kill off apps running in this group. If the next highest value was EMPTY_APP = 20mb, then Android will wait until free memory hits 20mb, then start killing off apps in THAT group - and so on.

You can control the behavior of Android's "task killer" by setting these values yourself using FE's Memory Manager. FE's team has come up with sets of values based on common behaviors of users. These "presets" can be used without any knowledge by the end user - just pick the one that suits you and you're done.

If you're a more advanced user, you may want to "dial in" these values yourself instead of using one of the pre-built settings. To do this, you'll need to understand each of the groups and what apps get put in there.

Plugins (Pro Version)

As of FE V4.1.2, special small utilities called plugins are available for download and use. See Other Utilities->Utilities-> Plugin for more general information. Note: You need the Pro version to access plugins.

Here is a listing and functionality breakdown of available plugins.

Text Copyer (copier)

This plugin will store bits of text for reuse in other applications. Think of it as a "magic clipboard" where you can stash commonly reused information that you always need, but never have handy. You can add new entries by clicking the "add" button. Enter the text to store in the text field provided. Remove the entries by clicking the X button next to the item to remove.

Clicking the "copy" button next to an item will grab the text and put it on the device's clipboard - allowing you to paste it anywhere that text pasting functionality is supported.

Note: This text should not be considered encrypted or secure. Do not put passwords or sensative information in this plugin.

Cache Cleaner

Note: This plugin does not function properly on Android 4.x/ICS. Do not use it on those devices.

Use this plugin to get a "snapshot" view of the Android system cache. This will show all the "cached" data being used by various applications.

Click the "Scan" button to get a list; and "Clean All" will remove all cached data. You may also selectively delete cached data by clicking an application and pressing the "Clear Data" button.

Text Encryptor

Use this plugin to encrypt and decrypt text using a common key. Encrypt text using a key. Send the encrypted text to a recipient via Email, SMS, IM, etc. The recipient must use the same key to decrypt the text back into a readable format. Use a prearranged key; do not send the key with the encrypted text.

You may cut and paste text from an email or other source into the text area for processing.

Note: The encryption method used is currently unknown. Do not rely on this encryption for potentially sensative data such as credit card or other financial information.

File Encryptor

Use this plugin to encrypt and decrypt a file using a common key. Encrypt file using a key. Send the encrypted file to a recipient via Email, SMS, IM, etc. The recipient must use the same key to decrypt the file back into a usable format. Use a prearranged key; do not send the key with the encrypted file.

Select Choose File to use a FE file selector to choose the file to be encrypted. The destination file will default to the same location with a randomly generated file name.

Depending on the size of the file, it may take some time to perform the encrypting/decrypting process. There are some issues with this plugin. See Known Issues.

Note: The encryption method used is currently unknown. Do not rely on this encryption for potentially sensitive data such as credit card or other financial information.

Miscellaneous Functionality

As with most complex apps, there is functionality "hidden" from direct view of the user; usually buried in a context menu somewhere. Here are some of the options that didn't find their way into one of the above topics.

Device Info

Found under:
Menu button -> More -> Info

... this feature will tell you low level things about your device - often useful for custom roms and tweaking of the Android OS. Things like board, brand, device name, ID, Model Manufacturer and more.

FE For Compressed Packages

Found under:
Filetype Handler for Zipped APKs

If you are using some other file manager or means of opening a Zip file that contains an app in .apk form, you will get the opportunity to "Complete Action Using" this option. This will automatically unzip the file and start the installer process for you. One of the greatest features of the product.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

As I find common questions posted, I'll try to answer them here.

Q. Where is the MOVE function?

A. Much like Windows Explorer, there is no MOVE command. When you wish to move a file, perform the CUT operation then navigate to the folder you wish to put the file. Use the PASTE operation. The file will be then removed from its original location and put in the new one.

Resources

Here are some resources for File Expert.

Known Issues

Here are known issues (and the last version tested for the bug) and any workarounds we've discovered. If you have an issue not mentioned here, post it on the forums or email me - be great if you could reproduce it (video helps).

Manual Changelog

6/8/2012
3/22/2012
3/18/2012
3/13/2012
3/8/2012
3/7/2012
3/2/2012