File Explorer redesign comes first in Windows 11


Screenshot of Windows 11s File Explorer

Every time Microsoft releases a new Windows 11 preview build, fans find many hidden software clues that often spoil Microsoft’s plans to introduce new features, design upgrades, and other improvements. Recently we learned that Microsoft is working on a significantly reworked File Explorer with content recommendations and a brand new activity panel. While everyone is waiting for Microsoft to announce the changes, folks In Windows Central A first look at the upcoming upgrade has been published.

The updated File Explorer will focus on improving visuals and providing a better and deeper integration with OneDrive and Microsoft 365. For example, the app will get a redesigned toolbar along with the address and search bars. Common actions, such as “New,” “Copy,” “Pace,” and others, will sit below the address bar, not above it as in the current File Explorer iteration.

One of Microsoft's Windows 11 File Explorer concepts
Keep in mind that this is one of Microsoft’s internal concepts, not a final, release-ready item.

As mentioned in previous reports, the home page will start showing recommended content pulled from Microsoft 365. Microsoft will use larger thumbnails to separate recommendations from the “Pinned” and “Recent” sections.

The navigation pane will remain largely the same, with most of the changes focused on visuals, rounded corners™, and more modern code. As for the details pane, it will get many new features, including integration with Microsoft 365, recent activities, comments from other people, access management, related emails, related files, and more.

According to sources at Windows Central, the recently viewed “Gallery” section will provide a better photo viewing experience. For example, Microsoft wants to give Windows 11 users the ability to preview photos by hovering the cursor over them (some people may prefer to press the spacebar key). Finally, rumors say that File Explorer in Windows 11 may allow files to be tagged with words and colors like in macOS’s Finder.

Microsoft plans to ship the upgraded File Explorer later this year as part of the Windows 11 23H2 update. Naturally, Windows Insiders should get their hands on all the goodies a few months in advance. Those in desperate need of a better File Explorer experience may want to check out the Files app, which we recently included in our “Top 11 Apps for Windows 11 Users.”


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