Microsoft is planning to bring tabs to File Explorer in Windows 11


Posts: 1,246   +24
Staff member
Something to look forward to: Windows fans for years have asked Microsoft to improve the File Explorer interface, prompting several to create concepts that show what a modernized version could look like. A recent Windows 11 preview build suggests the company is once again exploring adding tabs to File Explorer, which is one of the most highly-requested features.

On Wednesday, Microsoft released a new Windows 11 preview build to Insiders on the Dev Channel, which includes several fixes under the hood, some cosmetic changes, and a new video editing tool that will supposedly fill the hole left by the discontinuation of Movie Maker.

However, the new Insider build also has some additional functionality that isn’t immediately visible. According to Rafael Rivera — one of the developers behind the EarTrumpet volume control app — Microsoft may be taking another shot at enabling tabs in File Explorer. His findings have been confirmed by several others who regularly uncover hidden gems in Windows preview builds.

This new feature is believed to be one of several the company has been A/B testing since February. As some of you may recall, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has explored this concept. Back in 2017, the Redmond giant started testing the idea of adding tabs to all Windows 10 apps — including File Explorer — with a feature called “Sets.”

Microsoft eventually canceled the project to focus more closely on migrating its Edge browser to the Chromium engine. With Windows 11, the company started modernizing File Explorer again by simplifying the ribbon interface at the top, and now it looks like it might add tabs in the next major update of Windows 11.

It’s worth noting that a developer has already gone the extra mile and created an alternative to File Explorer. The app is simply called Files, and it offers support for tabs, themes, dual-pane, tags, and more.

If Microsoft is indeed looking to bring tab support to File Explorer in Windows 11, it probably won’t be long before it gets an official announcement.

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Posts: 8,400   +7,820
IMO, an easier to use configuration of File Explorer would be something similar to what M$ had as Dosshell in DOS 6 - You had the possibility of arranging different drives or folders/directories in views that were vertically over/under each other. That made copying files as simple as selecting them in one view, then dragging them to the other. A tab arrangement does not allow as easy or simple of a workflow, IMO. Even overlapping different explorer windows does not make file copying as easy as it was in the dos shell of DOS 6.

But go retro and make things easier to use? Hell no. M$ is intent on making things difficult to use, and incredibly seeming to think that they, M$, know how to use our PCs better than we do.

Keep giving us crap, M$. :facepalm:


Posts: 56   +157
I'm confident it will be buggy on release. For a reasonable solution, use QTTab bar. Have been using it for a long time. I also like that it restores tabs on startup.


Posts: 1,517   +2,260
Microsoft's gold standard QA has struck me again the other night, with an update that managed to completely break my internet connectivity on my main desktop, in such a way that the OS didn't think there was even a problem. So you'll pardon me if I'm going to decline anything to do with Windows 11 or Windows period in the long term.


Posts: 10   +17
They need to fix what they took of. Example the taskbar options. Microsoft love to repeat history by making every other version of Windows a shitty version.


Posts: 1,276   +1,233
How is this only just becoming a feature. This will make my life so much easier in day to day work without having to have multiple file explorer windows open.


Posts: 1,388   +1,030
Just a question - I'm still on W10 ( need to update Bios for w11)- does anyone get a snapback effect in explorer. Ie puts you out of your current explorer action when another action has completed - eg file transfer - It's incredibly annoying and unproductive - as have to start action again - eg renaming a file