Using the micro:bit file system

New to the micro:bit v2 API, MicroBitFileSystem is a component which allows you to interact with a POSIX-like interface to store “files” on the micro:bit v2’s flash memory, rather than using the older key-value file storage system from micro:bit v1, MicroBitStorage. This guide will discuss how to set up and use a filesystem created through this component, and some example usage for common use cases.

Be very careful if using this API in tandem with the old MicroBitStorage API. Do not place the key-value storage page on an intersecting page to the file system in flash memory. For example, creating both starting at the page following FLASH_PROGRAM_END (this is the default for the MicroBitFileSystem constructor) will result in overwrites, undefined behaviour, and absolutely nothing good.

Creating a File System

To create a file system, we should initialise an instance of MicroBitFileSystem somewhere close to startup, and where it won’t be destroyed by scope cleanup. Note that you should only ever have a single instance of MicroBitFileSystem created at any one time, so don’t go and create an instance everywhere you need one. Instead, use the static property MicroBitFileSystem::defaultFileSystem, which is the singleton pointer that points to the first created instance of the file system class, to access it from across your project.

#include <MicroBit.h>
#include <MicroBitFileSystem.h>

MicroBit uBit;

//Create the file system here.
MicroBitFileSystem fileSystem;

int main()
    //Do something.
#include <MicroBitFileSystem.h>

void some_other_function()
    //Access the file system!
    auto fileSystem = MicroBitFileSystem::defaultFileSystem;

Interacting with Files

Creating & Writing to Files

Files on the MicroBitFileSystem can be interacted with through the class’ POSIX-like file interface. This pattern will be familiar to you if you’ve used the stdio.h interface, and works in much the same way. To create a file, we can simply call the open() method with the MB_CREAT flag. If you wish to write to the file after creation with the same file handle, you should also pass the MB_WRITE flag. Flags can be combined with the binary OR operator.

//Create & open write to a new file.
int fd ="test.txt", MB_CREAT | MB_WRITE);
if (fd < 0) {
    //Something terrible happened!

To then write to this file we have created, we can use the write() method. This takes in the file descriptor we have just received, as well as the location of a buffer containing the data to write, and the length of that data. For this example, we’ll simply write some text along with a null terminator.

//Write some content out to that file.
//std::string.length() returns length *without* the null terminator, so we add 1 byte here.
std::string myText = "Hello filesystem!";
fileSystem.write(handle, (uint8_t*)myText.c_str(), myText.length() * sizeof(char) + 1);

Once we’re done writing, this does not actually guarantee that all of our content is saved to the file system! To ensure this, we either need to call flush() to flush any buffer contents out to file, or simply the close() method to close the file descriptor and save any remaining buffered content.


If you are finished with a file, and wish to delete it, you can do so with the remove() method. This will attempt to remove the file from the file system, returning MICROBIT_INVALID_PARAMETER if the file does not exist, and MICROBIT_CANCELLED if something unexpected went wrong.

if (!fileSystem.remove("test.txt")) {
    //The file removal failed for some reason.

Reading Files

You can read files created on the MicroBitFileSystem by opening a file descriptor with the MB_READ flag and using the read() method, like so:

//Open a read mode file descriptor.
int fd ="test.txt", MB_READ);
if (fd < 0) {
    //Something terrible happened!

//Read our text from file.
char buffer[100];
if (, buffer, 100) <= 0) {
    //We ran into an issue reading any characters.

If you need to read from a specific point in the file, or jump around and read from different places, you can use the seek() method to achieve this. This function takes three parameters: the file desriptor, the offset to jump, and the starting point to jump from. These starting points are:

  • MB_SEEK_SET, the start of the file.
  • MB_SEEK_CUR, the current location in the file. On creation of a file descriptor, this is 0.
  • MB_SEEK_END, the end of the file.

You can use negative or positive offset with seek() to jump from these points to the desired location in your file., -9, MB_SEEK_END); //Seek to 10 bytes from the end of the file., 32, MB_SEEK_SET); //Seek to 32 bytes from the start of the file., 4, MB_SEEK_SET); //Seek 4 bytes forward from the current position.

Directory Management

MicroBitFileSystem allows for the use of directories in addition to normal files. These directories, much like in ext4 and other Unix filesystems, are simply directory entries which can be deleted with remove(). To create a new directory, you can call the file system’s createDirectory() method, like so:

//Create a top-level directory.
if (!fileSystem.createDirectory("mydirectory")) {
    //Failed to create directory.

//Create a nested directory.

Once this directory is created, you can access files within it by using Unix-style path strings (i.e., using ‘/’ as the path separator). This must be a canonical path with no prepending ‘/’.

//Create a file inside a directory.
int fd ="mydirectory/test.txt", MB_CREAT | MB_WRITE);