Microsoft brings ribbon UI to Windows 8 file manager

By on August 29, 2011, 5:53 PM

Microsoft has detailed a few more changes coming to Explorer in the next version of Windows. In a long blog post over at the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft Director of Program Management Alex Simons announced that the company will bring the 'ribbon' UI to its ubiquitous file manager tool in an effort to provide easy access to hundreds of features and highlight a few 'hidden gems', all while respecting Explorer's heritage as a powerful file manager.

Simons says the decision to redesign Explorer is based on opt-in data from hundreds of Windows users showing that, despite having over 200 commands, only ten of those represent 81.8% of Explorer's total usage and only two of the top 10 commands are featured prominently in Vista and Windows 7's command bar.

Microsoft wants to address these inefficiencies in the next version of Windows, and though Simons acknowledges that Explorer's new look might meet opposition from power users, he believes that the redesign has its benefits. He also promised keyboard shortcuts for every command in the ribbon, UI customizations with the quick access toolbar, and like the ribbon in other Microsoft products, the one in Explorer will be collapsible to save screen real estate when needed.

Check out the video below where Alex Simons goes through a few of the changes in the next Windows Explorer:
 




User Comments: 51

Got something to say? Post a comment
Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Personally I don't see an issue with it, but I prefer the cleaner look win7's explorer offers, also there will be many who probably wouldn't want it.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I like it. The ribbon US is quite user friendly; I see this as a way for people not so good with computers, feel a lot more comfortable when exploring/managing files and folders. Most people already use Office for work, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Although, I would probably still use the older design. I presume they won't just get rid of the minimalistic design; sure the ribbon UI will be on by default when it ships, but I'm positive you can bring it back.

Win7Dev said:

As long as you can collapse the ribbon its fine.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

I'm on the fence here. On one hand, I prefer the smooth, clean look of Win7, but on the other, it's got some nice features I could see my self using. I'm still not 100% convinced on buying Win8, though. I haven't been wowed yet :P

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Im going to need a Windows XP functionality modification to explorer.exe, or an alternative to the file manager. I hope they dont make things even harder to find, I feel like they did that in Windows 7 to some things.

Guest said:

bad idea . the ribbon is a very over engineered look that is terrible to use.

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wow I just watched the video, they're re-innovating Office 2003 into Windows 2012 (8). Such garbage.. I've always been a windows advocate but its as if they're moving at a snails base in a pathetic direction. I am impressed by Windows 7's stability and speed, low hardware requirements, and multi-core support, but beyond that things arent looking too bright to me as a power user.

Launching cmd as an admin from the ribbon bar? HOLY CRAP THATS AWESOME. I can already do the same thing on the start menu by setting up a quick launch toolbar of my applications folder. More garbage taking up space on my screen, how wonderful. I hope Google is working on a smokin' great OS or I'm going to start looking into Linux distros at this rate.

aj_the_kidd said:

---agissi--- said:

Wow I just watched the video, they're re-innovating Office 2003 into Windows 2012 (8). Such garbage.. I've always been a windows advocate but its as if they're moving at a snails base in a pathetic direction. I am impressed by Windows 7's stability and speed, low hardware requirements, and multi-core support, but beyond that things arent looking too bright to me as a power user.

Launching cmd as an admin from the ribbon bar? HOLY CRAP THATS AWESOME. I can already do the same thing on the start menu by setting up a quick launch toolbar of my applications folder. More garbage taking up space on my screen, how wonderful. I hope Google is working on a smokin' great OS or I'm going to start looking into Linux distros at this rate.

I hardly think an objection to implementing the ribbon in files explorer is any reason to ditch windows, but thats just me. If your waiting for google to bring out anything competitive then you will be waiting a very long time. Your best bet is with Linux, if your that upset. FYI The ribbon is collapsible

Cota Cota said:

Instead of this, they should put a Control Panel entry to edit Left click menu

yorro said:

There is a toggle button for minimalist.

Guest said:

I am digging the tabs. Good job Microsoft!

POLL: What do you think of Windows Explore 8?

Vote: http://www.wepolls.com/p/2104561

FatTwinkie said:

I'm digging that they are putting the ribbon UI in explorer. Only thing is for me when I first used it in office 2010, it looked cool, but I found everything just as easily as if I still was using the whole 'File, Edit, View, etc" system or the whole UI system. Don't really know if using the ribbon UI in explorer will...help much to most people? I dunno.

ikesmasher said:

I am a fan of simplistic windows. Ive been using windows for so long everytime they change the location of something it bugs the crap out of me

IAMTHESTIG said:

That's all good I guess... we'll see.

I still want my free disk space back on the status bar though. Why the hell did you remove that in 7?

mrtraver said:

NNNNOOOOO!!!!! Not the ribbon! I have been using Office 2007 at work for over two years, and I still have trouble finding the simplest of settings that I could easily find via menus in earlier versions of Office.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Blech...I can't stand the ribbon UI.

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@mrtraver, what ever happened to simple menus with words right?

@ikesmasher, +2 for sure

@aj_the_kidd, thats great its collapsible but then whats new? Its as if MS arent in the right direction. We'll see when we use the final product.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm one of those people who always turns on the menu items, and generally likes this sort of thing, so I'm kinda open to playing around with it.

But I can see how other people would find this really annoying. It seems to take up a lot of real estate. \

This ribbon would be perfect for that touchscreen keyboard that I keep talking about. You select stuff with your mouse, then you hit the appropriate button on the touchscreen, etc. It can't be that hard to make a long rectangular LCD, why hasn't someone made one. Companies release tons of crappy products every year, why not something like this? bah humbug.

aj_the_kidd said:

The ribbon is used by all MS office products so I am guessing this decision to go down the ribbon direction was to keep some consistency amongst its products. As for new, what else do you need from the files explorer?

I hated the ribbon too at first, but after a while i got use to it, chances are you will too. Its not going anywhere you might as well embrace it, plus other non-Microsoft products are slowly starting to use the same concept as well.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

lawfer said:

Although, I would probably still use the older design. I presume they won't just get rid of the minimalistic design; sure the ribbon UI will be on by default when it ships, but I'm positive you can bring it back.

I am kind of neutral on the issue as illustrated in my original comment mainly because with a little effort anyone can get used to new concepts/stuff. But this will be a good feature to have nonetheless

Guest said:

As long as they retain an option to go all minimalistic I don't mind, even the Win7 toolbar is a total waste of space for me. Everything on there is easier done by rightclick menus or through common keyboard shortcuts...

Doubt I'll ever upgrade from 7 unless they do some major under the hood improvements though.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The Rapture of Windows 8, and What it Means to You....

For those of you religious folk who have been waiting for the second coming......, wait no more.. Windows 8 is it...! Jeezus Gates rides again, shepherding the second coming of Vista.............Hooray..! Oops, I meant, "Oy Vay"...!

. Companies release tons of crappy products every year, why not something like this? bah humbug.
Tru-dat, but it's not really intentional. Tomorrow's dumpster deposits will all be made of yesterday's, "it seemed like good idea at the time technology breakthroughs"... That said, I do think M$ releases crap on purpose, to make themselves look good with their next release. Did you ever notice how much fresher the air smells after the fart goes away....?

Gars Gars said:

No word about 'Compare directory' or similar.

How long we need to wait?

The ribbon UI will be terrible for those who don't use MS Office 2007 or above.

That was my exact experience.

Capaill said:

I personally hate the ribbon in MS Office products. Purely because I use a widescreen laptop so I already have reduced height to view Word documents. And with the ribbon I lose a further 20% off the top of the screen. I've got loads of room to the sides .. if MS want to let me move the ribbon to there, I'd be happier.

Guest said:

Yup I agree...The ribbon is harder not easier than file edit view. But looks like we got to live with this crap.

Arris Arris said:

Dunno who at M$ is pushing this ribbon UI but it's just awful. Thank god for compatibility pack for Office 2007 (when I have to use it over Libre/OpenOffice).

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Just more clutter. I'm not against innovation, but not everything in the world needs to have a tabbed interface.

PinothyJ said:

Capaill said:

I personally hate the ribbon in MS Office products. Purely because I use a widescreen laptop so I already have reduced height to view Word documents. And with the ribbon I lose a further 20% off the top of the screen. I've got loads of room to the sides .. if MS want to let me move the ribbon to there, I'd be happier.

I hate the damn ribbon. What was wrong with the little menus at the top of the screen and why is everyone in a rush to get rid of them? If I had a choice between ribbon or death I would choose the latter.

Hmph...

taea00 said:

Does Microsoft think everyone is illiterate? Do they know how difficult it is to explain to a regular user, "Go up to the ribbon and click on the Office button" vs "Go to file". I swear Microsoft thinks everyone is a ***** and can't read.

CryVer CryVer said:

Think I'll stick with Windows 7 for a while longer

raybk said:

Ribbon UI is really terrible. It's hard to find what I am looking for. It consumes a lot of space and it's badly organized. I hate it so much! That's why I still haven't upgraded Office to 2007.

Butch said:

I guess I'll have to break down and learn to use this ribbon crap. First they take away my DOS prompt with Windows and now this!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Meh, having it in Office is one thing, but this is a bit much imo.

Zilpha said:

Just more clutter. I'm not against innovation, but not everything in the world needs to have a tabbed interface.

+1

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I must also be the one of the very few members of this site that generally likes the Ribbon UI. When it first came out for Office 2007, the first thing I did was install classic menu UI AFTER installing office 2007 (before updating it even) becase I too hated the sudden change without any built-in alternative. But after working with it for a few months it grew on me, with me now being "fluent" in both UI, sometimes faster with the ribbon. Granted, I use keyboard shortcuts A LOT, so I don't necessarily find myself going to the top interface for most of my actions. When I do and it's a common feature I've either pinned or is by default showing, I find the Ribbon UI much faster.

So I welcome the change with open arms, though I do hope there will be the option for the classic menu UI, just in case. I still have to get used to the new File tab and other small changes they introduced in office 2010... which is difficult since none of my own personal or work computers have it (a couple friends/family do though).

@using too much space: well, when I'm looking at/editing a long portrait document that I'll be with for a while, I simply pivot my screen or turn my laptop on it's side, so I don't get the concern. /troll

Seriously though, I SUPPOSE I understand for laptop users and the lack of vertical space; you can blame manufacturers for not using or offering 16X10 screens (1920x1200 for instance). =p The option to be able to dock the ribbon on the left or right sides would be nice, sorta like how image editors have the floating vertical toolbar. Might be more difficult for regular users but that's why it would be an optional location.

About regular users vs power users: Those of us who would mark ourselves as power users are in what I'd call the loud minority. We'll complain, but in reality the majority of users which Microsoft caters to are just "regular" or "light" users, which they,in my experience [with dealing non-power users], generally profit from the more visual and "space wasting" Ribbon UI, opposed to having to dig through a menu, even when they are familiar with it.

Just my thoughts.

Guest said:

And stupid, pointless UI "upgrades" like this are why I continue to use XP ten years after the fact.

Newer Windows wouldn't be so bad if there were more options to customize your interface, but Microsoft gets on this "gotta compete with apple/tablet/promote synergy across devices" kick and starts treating its users like incompetent imbeciles without offering functionality alternatives.

I skipped Vista entirely, and recently spent two weeks with Windows 7. By the time I was done kludging it into something borderline usable, the parts I liked looked and acted like XP, and the rest of it was just obnoxious baggage with playskool options I wasn't allowed to change. Moreover, I didn't see any performance gains in any of my apps or games, so I just went right back to my finely turned, personally customized, tried and tested XP install.

Hey, it works.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

As long as it can be toggles, I guess it seems fine. It can be limiting for some people though in a way.

Guest said:

"And stupid, pointless UI "upgrades" like this are why I continue to use XP ten years after the fact:

That's right brotha. Even 100yrs into the future, I want to keep windows looking like it's still circa windows 95. Why change right? (sigh)

Doesn't matter what any of us thinks, they are going to change it because that's what software companies do. Ribbon is the evolution of GUI, just as Win95 evolved from DOS.

I find it funny 'I will dumpz windowz, it don't look like Xp'z, ChromeOS FTW!" yeah you do that, go right ahead.

Guest said:

@Guest: " Hey, it works. "

I agree, Windows XP works, and works very well.

Microsoft's Ribbon instead of classic pulldown menu and toolbar ?

I can say about this is a full backward step !!!

But you still can buy a Windows 7 or change to a distro Linux !!!

;)

Guest said:

Actually, I don't see any Improvement !!!

It seems that Windows 8 will be another failure of Microsoft like Windows Vista.

Then we have to go with 7 or wait to Windows 9, to see if it doesn't have Ribbons !!!

aj_the_kidd said:

Wow some of you are being overly dramatic, its a fricking ribbon, you will get use to it.

Guest said:

... or best: you can skip Windows 8 !!!

Guest said:

I want my windows version "20" 50yrs in the future to look like it was made in 1970 like this beautiful app:

http://projects.gnome.org/dia/images/dia_screen.jpg

Now that is beautiful!

p.s., notice how some of these posters who can't handle GUI changes are the same ones who can't handle social/progressive changes as well? (snicker)

Guest said:

Yes, because it is that hard to right-click and get all these options...

Useless.

TJGeezer said:

Those who don't like the ribbon, hit Ctrl-F1 to minimize it. That's how I generally run Office 10 apps. For stuff without a keyboard shortcut I either create one or use one of the quick-access icons I've planted in the quick access row at the top of the window. Depends on whether my hand is already on the mouse. I really don't see the big deal.

aj_the_kidd said:

TJGeezer said:

I really don't see the big deal.

Thats because you are using common sense and logic Apparently when it comes to the infamous "Ribbon" those attributes do not apply, but yeah I don't see the big deal either

caravel said:

I want my windows version "20" 50yrs in the future to look like it was made in 1970 like this beautiful app:

[link]

Now that is beautiful!

p.s., notice how some of these posters who can't handle GUI changes are the same ones who can't handle social/progressive changes as well? (snicker)

Nice trolling!

Now maybe try logging in...?

Arris Arris said:

Seriously why do I need giant copy, paste, copy path (just click in the "address bar" and it reverts to a path you can copy.. and users that will be clicking on giant copy and paste buttons aren't very likely to need to copy file paths for any reason...), move, delete, rename.... Takes up half the screen width. Common functions should be learnt or accessed via quick context menus. The lesser used and more complex options should be tucked away in menus with keyboard shortcuts associated with them. I don't need a 32x32 button to "Copy"... My god, even my 65+ parents know how to copy and paste with keyboard shortcuts. Who is this UI aimed at?

caravel said:

Who is this UI aimed at?

Windows users.

Arris Arris said:

Windows users.

Touché.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.