How to Use ES File Explorer to Edit and Modify System Files on Android

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ES File ExplorerRooted Android phones provide many additional benefits when compared to a non-rooted phone and that’s because we can read and modify system files. Now the thing is, most of the time when we have to modify system files, we use an app or script to apply the updates directly. Not always convenient though.

Sometimes, we might need to edit and update certain system files manually in order to apply some custom mods and patches and that’s when we need a root file explorer. There are many apps in the market (some of which are paid) that claim to do the task, but we will see how to use ES File Explorer, one of the most trusted file explorer apps, for the task.

ES File Explorer as a Root Explorer

Launch ES File Explorer and open the app’s settings by pressing the menu soft key. In Settings scroll down to Other Settings  section and tap the option Root Settings.

menu settings

Now in Root Settings, check the option Root Explorer and Up to Root. For the first time when you enable this feature, your phone will ask if you would like to grant the particular app root access on your phone. Select the Remember option and enable it.

root settingsenable root access

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You will now be able to view all the root files when you tap the up button instead of exiting the app. If you want to gain write access over system files, enable the option Mount File System. You can now edit system files on your Android manually.

grant root

You can also opt for the option to backup system files automatically before you modify and save a file. This makes sure that you always have a failsafe file on your device to roll back to if anything goes wrong.

root system files

Note: Please be very careful while editing system files. Always refer to reliable source if you are planning to apply any mod or patch to your device. Even a small mistake can put your phone in Force Close or boot loop. You were warned!


So this was yet another great use you can put ES File Explorer to. Don’t forget to have a look on how to use ES File explorer to manage your files on computer over Wi-Fi and even on cloud storage tools such as Dropbox and SkyDrive.

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  • jaygeezy

    why it says “sorry, test failed. These feature cannot run on your phone”?

    • Jen

      did you end up finding a solution? jaygeezy?

    • Ashish Mundhra

      Are you sure you have root access on your device?

  • jaygeezy

    why it says “sorry, test failed. These feature cannot run on your phone”?. It appears everytime i check the root explore.

    • Ashish Mundhra

      Is your phone rooted?

      • Ben

        I have been downloading things & looking at how they work for a couple days now & cant seem to figure out how to root my Mytouch 3G slide.
        Im getting this error as well & I cant tell you for sure if mine is rooted. I thought thats what I was doing with this app.

        My understanding is I used Astro file manager to install superoneclick which would rooted my phone & now Im trying to do something to allow the drop of a new sys image (2.3) in the right place in my android system before rebooting to wipe & install.

      • rishi

        No my phone is not rooted and I dont know how to root it please help

        • Jorge L R

          It’s called “Google”.

      • Syria Mason

        I am also having the same issue with my Galaxy S3. I don’t know how to root my phone. I thought that’s what I was doing

  • Jane Jones

    Thank you very much for letting me know about this option. Had tried many “root explorers” and none of them had worked for my Defy Mini.


    • Guest

      Hi, I am trying these instructions on my Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. I keep getting the “Sorry test failed. This feature cannot run on your device”. I can not seem to root my Kindle… Help!?

  • Harish Alwar

    Hi Ashish,
    Installed ES File Explorer V3.0.3 on my Galaxy Ace GB 2.3.4 (official version). Have rooted my file. However when I try to edit system file (gps.conf, say), says permission denied. Tried all possible options. cannot change read/write permissions for the file as well. Any ideas?

    • Ashish Mundhra

      Hi Harish
      When you turn on Root Explorer, select the option Mount R/W to mount the file system with write access. In the additional dialog box, you will get the path and permission that you wish to apply.
      RO=Read Only
      RW= Read and Write (update files)

      • Harish Alwar

        Super. Worked now. Thanks

      • steffy

        hey i couldnt find root folder at all

      • Kyle R.

        Hello Ashish, so by choosing selecting root explorer, does this root your phone, or do you have to do that prior to selecting root explorer in the es app?

        • Ashish Mundhra

          @Kyle Your phone should be rooted before hand. The app only uses the special permission after it detects the root access on your device.

  • Aedan

    I don’t sI couldn’t see the “other settings” in the settings menu. Did they take this out in a recent update? I’m running CM 1ee “other settings” in the settings menu. Have they taken this out in a recent update?10.1 android 4.2.2

  • Tony

    I have root on my note 3 but I do not see other settings either.

  • Thakur K Thakur

    my device micromax turbo is rooted but i am not understand how to use it what can i do

  • Jen

    Hi, I am trying these instructions on my Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. I keep getting the “Sorry test failed. This feature cannot run on your device”. I can not seem to root my Kindle… Help!? (I can’t seem to post in this forum…)

  • Gokula Krishnan

    Thanks a lot this works I had a no Connection problem caused by freedom apk s i wanted to delete the host file and i can’t delete by seeing your now i deleted the file now googleplay works fine

  • Taylor Martin

    My GS3 is rooted (checked with rootchecker, busybox installed, superSU working) but I still get the “sorry, test failed” message AFTER grating it superuser permissions. I’ll keep looking for a solution and report if I do. Anybody else, please do the same for me!

  • basilis

    i cant see efs files… what can i do?!

  • M. Hanif Ali

    Thanks to ES Explorer team that i was able to rename a verizon Droid Razr xt912 file called VZWphoneservices.apk and .odex which was the reason to always show up the error “This Sim card is from an unknown source”

  • tbos

    There is no Root Settings in my explorer

  • tbos

    Es file explorer version The screen shots you have taken for demosntration are very different from my explorer. The is no Other Settings nor Root settings

  • Faris

    what version this ex explorer you using.. im using version
    interface is not same like your picture. help me !

  • Ruiz Deang

    thanks a lot, it really help me from editing my root folders. i choose r/w so that i could edit my system. thanks :)

  • Sai

    Hi, I am trying these instructions on my MOTO E I keep getting the “Sorry test failed. This feature cannot run on your device”. why it say like that always?

    • Ashish Mundhra

      @Sai Are you sure your Mote E is rooted. The Moto E bootloader should be unlocked and device should be rooted for the trick to work.

  • Alif Afifudin

    my version do not have other setting ??can u give me another way?or hats mean i need to root my handset? i used lenovo a536 and os android 4.2.2 kitkat version