File Explorer in Windows 11 is changing again
File Explorer received a few updates in the initial release of Windows 11, ending years of neglect, and several changes have been released since then.
Microsoft has now announced that even more changes are coming to File Explorer, some of them really interesting.
What’s new in File Explorer
File Explorer hasn’t changed much in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, but Windows 11 has replaced the Ribbon toolbar with a new row of buttons.
There were also some revamped menus, like the context menu, and later in 2022, more tabs were added to File Explorer.
Microsoft also worked on a lower-level change, updating File Explorer’s legacy code base to use the modern SDK for Windows apps. The updated version was available to Windows Insider testers in March, but there were no visual changes at the time.
Starting with Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23475, File Explorer gets a new start page with recent files.
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 is also an indicator for the current OneDrive sync status.
It’s exciting to see significant improvements implemented in File Explorer, and now that it uses the same framework as Microsoft’s other modern apps, it should look less like a Windows 7 relic.
Hopefully, Microsoft won’t get too aggressive with OneDrive integration, though. There is also a new photo gallery view in development.
The new File Explorer will start rolling out in Windows 11 Canary, but it could be weeks or months before it reaches everyone. It remains to be seen how effective it will actually be.