September 27, 2023

Get Ready for More File Explorer Changes in Windows 11

Windows 11 logo

The File Explorer received a few updates in the initial release of Windows 11, ending years of neglect, and more changes have rolled out since then. Microsoft has now announced more changes coming to File Explorer, and they’re exciting.

The File Explorer didn’t change much in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, but Windows 11 replaced the Ribbon toolbar with a new row of buttons. There were also a few revamped menus (like the context menu), and later in 2022, tabs were added to the File Explorer. Microsoft has also been working on a more low-level change — updating File Explorer’s ancient codebase to use the modern Windows App SDK. The updated version has been available to Windows Insider testers since March, but at the time, there were no visual changes.

Now that the under-the-hood work is complete (or close enough to complete), Microsoft is moving onto visual and functional upgrades. Starting with Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23475, the File Explorer has a new Home page with recent and favorited files, and for people signed into an Azure Active Directory account (like a work or school account), there’s also a “Recommended” section at the top with files you might need. That last feature was announced back in March.

image of new File Explorer

The new File Explorer also has “a modernized address bar and search box,” which Microsoft says works well with both local and cloud files. There’s also an indicator for the current OneDrive synchronization status.

It’s exciting to see significant improvements roll out to File Explorer, and now that it’s using the same framework as Microsoft’s other modern applications, it should feel less like a relic from Windows 7. Hopefully, Microsoft won’t get too aggressive with the OneDrive integration, though. There’s also a new photo gallery view in development.

The new File Explorer is starting to roll out in the Canary channel of Windows 11, and it could be a few weeks or months before it arrives for everyone — and File Explorer could look a bit different by then.

Source: Windows Blog

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