Microsoft Is Preparing to Overhaul Windows Explorer 11


What to expect: Microsoft has been making changes to the File Explorer interface in Windows 11 since the beginning of last year, but it looks like more significant changes are coming on the horizon. The company plans to reorganize some of the current functions of the application, integrating it more closely with other tools.

This week, Windows Central received internal layouts showing Microsoft’s planned changes to Windows Explorer 11. Later this year, the company will significantly update the app, adding features that connect to OneDrive and Microsoft 365.

The layouts show a redesigned header with a simplified row of icons and a Home button. The update moves functions such as copy and paste to a separate banner in the file panel under the header.

The Home button seems to lead to a page filled with recommended, pinned, and recently used items. The recommended files in the layout look like recently modified files in a cloud workgroup, probably using Microsoft OneDrive, and a recently uploaded file.

Another layout shows what happens when a user opens information about a file in the details panel, demonstrating additional integration with the cloud and email. Users can see lists showing what other members of the workgroup have done with the file, related files, and related email dialogs.

The new gallery area improves the way users view and organize images in Explorer. When the mouse cursor hovers over the images, enlarged previews are displayed.

In addition, sources told Windows Central that Microsoft may add the ability to tag files, making it easier to sort them. The company may also expand the hitboxes for items in Explorer to make it more convenient to use on touch screens. All add-ons will join the web browser-style tabs that Microsoft introduced for Windows Explorer 11 last March. This feature will also appear in Notepad.

Microsoft is currently planning to release an updated File Explorer before the end of the year. This could be the centerpiece of a Moment update or a Windows 11 23H2 update.

Users who don’t want to wait for additional file management features or are still using Windows 10 can try alternatives to the official Microsoft Explorer. The best ones include Files, RX Explorer, One Commander, TagSpaces and XYplorer.


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