Windows subsystem for Android facilitates local file access

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Windows subsystem for Android facilitates local file access
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The Windows Subsystem for Android, or WSA, a tool for emulating Google’s operating system apps on the PC, is getting some improvements. The latest one allows Android apps running on WSA to read Windows 11 files with the help of folder sharing — just as it is already possible to do in emulators like BlueStacks.

The news comes mainly from user feedback. In light of this, Microsoft recently posted on the WSA’s GitHub announcing that file sharing is available starting with build 2305 of the service. After enabling the feature in the WSA settings, the Windows user profile folder will be available to the WSA file picker as /sdcard/Windows.


With this, the system will have access to folders such as images, documents and downloads, giving access to Windows programs and Android applications — an especially useful resource for editing files stored outside the WSA.

Configuring a shared directory this way has some security advantages over giving the WSA unrestricted access to the Windows root directory. With that, Windows system files, possible malware on USB drives, executable files and hidden files in the shared directory are not available for the tool.

Even when accessing the shared directory, Android apps will need to display a system dialog prompt asking for permission to manage files.

For those who don’t want to grant full access to the WSA, the tool allows revoking access to the shared directory on a per-application basis in the settings. Even when file sharing is turned off, you can share specific files with Android apps by dragging and dropping them from a Windows folder into the running Android app. Files can also be copied and pasted to the clipboard.

File sharing will be available to WSA Preview members by default. Users on the stable channel will need to enable it in the WSA settings.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise