Tuesday, 3 April 2012

WiFi File Explorer for Beginners


I sometimes forget that even though many people praise WiFi File Explorer for its simplicity and ease of use, it can actually be pretty confusing and daunting for some people to understand.  Things are only easy when you know how, so let me explain the basics behind the app so users of all abilities can make use of WiFi File Explorer.

Usually, to manage the files on your Android device (like copying photos you've taken to your PC or transferring some MP3s to your phone), you would dig out your cable and plug it into your PC.  In essence, WiFi File Explorer lets you accomplish this but without the cable!

You start by ensuring that your Android device and the PC you want to transfer files to/from are both on the same WiFi network, for example your home WiFi network.  Once they are, simply start the WiFi File Explorer app on your Android device and assuming you are connected to a WiFi network it will popup a message that gives you a web address to enter into a web browser.  At this point, go to your PC on the same WiFi network and enter that web address into your web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc).  Make sure you enter this address exactly as the app tells you and ensure you enter it into the address bar, not into a search box.


Once you have done this, you are presented with a web page (like the one in the screenshot above) that lists all the files and directories on your Android device.  It is a pretty familiar concept to the one you are used to in other file managers such as Explorer on Windows, so it should be fairly intuitive how to use it.  As it is a web page, to transfer files from the Android device to the PC the term ‘download’ is used, and this can be achieved by either clicking the arrow to the left of the file name you want to transfer to your PC or by clicking several check boxes of files you want to transfer and then hitting the Download button.  Files are then downloaded to your PC just like when you download a file from any other web page and they are stored in the downloads directory of your PC or wherever your web browser usually saves downloads.  Conversely, to transfer a file from your PC to your Android device the term ‘upload’ is used, and this can be achieved by using the upload box to the right of the web page.  Simply select some files to upload from your PC and hit the Upload button to transfer those files to the current directory of the Android device you are viewing on the web page.

So once you have got to grips with this basic method of transferring files it should be fairly easy to work out how to do other things, like deleting files, creating new directories, moving groups of files around.  Then you can dig into more advanced features, such as setting music files as ringtones, viewing a slideshow of pictures, installing app files and setting your Android device’s wallpaper.

Finally, just to explain how the app technically works if you are interested... It actually works by setting up a small web server directly on your Android device.  This web server is confined to only the WiFi network you are on and can only be accessed by people that know the web address it is using; so don’t worry – it is NOT a publicly accessible web site.  You can also go into the app settings and set up a password to make it even more secure.  So when WiFi File Explorer gives you a web address to enter, that web address is actually made up of the IP address and port number of your Android device on your WiFi network.  And then when you connect to that web address via your PC web browser, you are connecting directly to the small web server running on your Android device (no external servers used at all and all the data is local, so you don’t get charged for any data usage).  This is presented as a set of web pages that allow you to manage your files, which is WiFi File Explorer!

I hope that helps people get into WiFi File Explorer and to understand a little about how it works so they can safely and efficiently use the app to manage their files without the need of a cable.  And please do not hesitate to email me with any further questions about the basics (or advanced features) of WiFi File Explorer.

26 comments:

  1. Awesome share! No matter how simple it is, it can be complicated if you do not know the basics.

    sell used cell phones

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    1. Have as yet, after numerous attempts, using various browsers, been unable to connect to WiFi Explorer on my computer.

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    2. P.S. I also have a Galaxy. An S2. I noticed below someone had the same problem with an S3.

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    3. See here http://dooblou.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-ping-test.html

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    4. why, after lots of trys i cant connect to the ip address in wi fi file explorer

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  2. Your program is a gem and life saver. Just with a recent upgrade on Blackberry playbook, I have not been able to connect to none of my PC and laptops. I am not sure whether it is some application I have installed on Playbook is not allowing me the access. There are other applications but others are just migrated from android to playbook and they do only part of the job for backup etc. as the directory structure is different in Playbook. Thanks for making the program so easy and great. I hope it could be as fast file transfer as it was being done with playbook attached to PC. Thanks again-Parbhat Sood, Toronto, Canada

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  3. Your program is really *excellent*, top quality, I cannot heap enough praise on the excellence of its design and implementation. The other really smart thing you did was to price it at 99cts. The combination of its features and price makes it an offer "you cannot refuse". HTC, Galaxy & Co. should license it from you and put it in their firmware. BRAVO!

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  4. Ace app - thank you. It does exactly what I wanted to do on my Transformer Prime.

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  5. Overall it is a good apply I use it on my BlackBerry PlayBook but sometimes there is a serious problem. The file permissions of the files copied to the PlayBook are sometimes missing, I.e. I cannot open the files as no permissions to do so are set on the files. Sometimes it is okay, but when I cannot open the files it is very frustrating. Is this a bug in the app or is there something I need to do differently to ensure files copied retain a RW permission?

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  6. I was and am as satisfied as others, but would like to recount a transient problem I had with both WiFi Explorer and Securet. After solid performance for weeks after buying them, these programs suddenly were inaccessible to my PC's on the Windows 7 LAN .. the browsers reported time-outs trying to connect. WiFi reception by my ASUS TF300T from the NetGear router was fine and remote programs worked. Thankfully, the browser failures disappeared after I had depowered/repowered the router. Try this simple fix if you encounter similar issues.

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  7. The select files link in WiFi explorer doesn't show.

    Help.

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  8. The select files to upload link in WiFi explorer doesn't show.

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  9. Sounds like your Flash installation has errored. Uninstall Flash on your PC and then reinstall it and it will work again.

    Paul

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  10. great app! do you think create themes? the default ui is not very beatiful...rs

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  11. Hey when I chose to hide media in my downloads folder it worked... but now I can't unhide :-(

    I see the image files but they are all 0bytes. Sometimes the thumbs will show in file explorers but I can never open them. Please help?

    Using Pro version on Galaxy Nexus with Jellybean

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  12. @Alfa, please email at pauldyble82@gmail.com and I will try and help you.

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  13. I love this app so much I married it. Just kidding, I bought it just now. Question: any chance we will be able to upload folders in the near future?

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  14. I'd absolutely LOVE to use the app. I purchased the pro version. I am using a stock Galaxy S3. I run the app, I'm connected to the same wifi as my pc, and it says "Serving" yet when I type 192.168.1.126:8000 into my browser(both chrome and IE) both pages fail to load. How do I fix it?

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    Replies
    1. Please email me and I will support you.

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  15. Hi, I have the pro version on my 'cracked screen' Android, getting a Blackberry, Can I transfer the version from my old HTC Desire S to the new Blackberry Curve 9360?
    also once you've got the files listed on the browser - how do u delete them once selected?
    Cheers

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  16. Thanks for the Link. The download works fine and new Market is definitely better.

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  17. I had problems that were not covered by your helpful troubleshooter, and I offer what I did thinking that it may help others or you can expand your troubleshooting page: 1) I forgot that I didn't have a LAN card on my PC, so I bought a USB wireless Lan card (ipTIME N100 mini), pretty cheap at about $10, and I think many people may not realize their PC doesn't have a Lan card (why would you need one if you're already hardwired to a network?), 2) Once I had this installed and working, it still didn't work, until I checked what IP address both PC and Android device were on. I had two different IP addresses, and I got them to match when I realized that my PC was using the hardwire network connection, so I disabled it in my network listing. That last did the trick. Great app!

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  18. hi, i am trying to transfer files from mobile to pc using this app. i am wondering if it uses your bandwidth as my internet service provider has limit on how much i can download

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    Replies
    1. It uses no bandwidth - it works on the local network only.

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  19. Hi. I've been using this great app since over 6 months. Recently I've come across the fact that I'm unable to upload files larger than 2GB to my mobile. I'm using galaxy nexus running on 4.2.1. on my laptop I use Mozilla Firefox and Ubuntu 12.04 as OS. Is there a way to troubleshoot this glitch?

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