With Windows Phone 8, you can finally connect the device to your PC and access the device’s file system just like any other portable storage device. This lets you drag and drop files to and from the phone and, on devices with microSD storage, between that card and the phone’s internal storage.

Native file system access also provides another benefit: Users with Windows XP and Vista can use this functionality to copy content to and from a device that is otherwise unsupported on those OSes.

To see this in action, simply attach your Windows Phone 8 handset to your PC using USB. The phone will show up with its own drive letter and icon like other attached storage.

file-explorer-01

When you navigate into the drive letter for the phone, you’ll see a storage device entry for the internal storage and, if present, the microSD storage as well.

file-explorer-02

Dive in deeper and you’ll see folders corresponding to the content types on the phone.

file-explorer-03

From here, you can drag and drop files in either direction, as expected, delete and rename files, and perform other common file operations. As an example, I copied a PDF file into the phone’s Documents folder and then opened it on the device using the PDF Reader app from the Office hub.

pdf

You can similarly drag and drop media files and ringtones, using their respective folders.