Facepalm: In a discovery that brings to mind the famous old maxim of something not being a bug, but a feature, what appears to be a bug has been discovered in Windows File Explorer that actually improves the program's performance when it's activated.
Windows File Explorer doesn't offer the smoothest of experiences. It can be slow, laggy, and clunky, with some people complaining that the problems are even worse in Windows 11 compared to Windows 10.
But X, formerly Twitter, user @VivyVCCS has discovered an apparent bug in File Explorer that gives it a snappy speed boost. All you have to do is enter full-screen mode by pressing F11, then exit the mode by pressing F11 again.
Did you know you can speedup explorer by use of bugs?– VivyâÂ¡ (@VivyVCCS) September 3, 2023
Turns out switching in and out of full screen mode (F11) noticeably improves load times!
Wish this was the performance we get out of box.
(Yes navbar breaks.. tho navbar shouldn't cause such a huge snappiness regression..) pic.twitter.com/GObybf1C8q
Once activated, the bug will boost File Explorer's performance. You should notice the contents of folders loading instantly when moving between them, as do file thumbnail previews. The improvements are present on all drives, no matter how slow the devices might be.
Activating the bug does come with a price: it breaks the navbar, though this is arguably worth it for the extra performance that it brings.
For those who can't be bothered to hit the F11 key twice every time they open File Explorer (or just keep forgetting), developer Schalk Burger has created an automated hotkey script on Github that automatically activates the bug whenever the program is opened.
One Redditor wrote: "I tested it on a music folder with 1800+ subfolders, and 25,000+ files: Everything opens instantly, awesome. This is the performance that we had in the Explorer of Windows 7."
Neowin writes that the trick works on all versions of Windows 11, including Canary Builds and early releases. It's unclear if the bug is also present in Windows 10, but at least one commentator using Microsoft's older operating system said they didn't notice any speed improvement in File Explorer after pressing F11 twice.
As this is essentially a bug that borks File Explorer's navbar, expect to see Microsoft include a patch that addresses it in a future Windows update. Hopefully, this will also improve the program's performance - but don't hold your breath on that one.