Windows 8 gets a nice Explorer feature

Sometimes, small features can make a huge difference in the overall workflow of an OS.

According to tech-exclusive, the newest feature to be uncovered in leaked builds of Windows 8 is a very nifty drag and drop function in Windows Explorer. If you’re familiar with the Vista and 7 implementations of the Explorer address bar, you’ll recognize the separated format of the address. Each step in the path is its own clickable link, making for easy navigation upwards in a directory tree. Windows 8 is implementing a feature that allows you to drag a file or folder onto any one of those links, moving the object into that folder. Currently, you have to cut and paste the object, hope that the destination folder is viewable in the sidebar, or open another Explorer window to get the job done (and we’re well aware that there may be other arcane and obscure shortcuts to accomplish this).

Image credit: tech-exclusive

It may seem inconsequential, but it’s small touches like this, small improvements to tasks that many of us do multiple times a day, that help make an OS easier to use overall.

As Windows 8 features continue to be uncovered, we’ll hopefully see more of this kind of streamlining. Windows Explorer is an integral part of the Windows experience, and we’d hate to see it ignored relative to other improvements.

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Sounds like a cool feature but one of those that i'll use once and forget to use again.
I've had Windows 7 for nearly a year now and i'm only just starting to use the favourites bar on the right and 70% of the time i forget and still go the long way round.

Give me the ability to middle click any links/buttons in explorer to open a new window at the specified target (similar to Firefox UI) and I'll be in heaven!

There are too many focal points in the explorer: top left for navigation; bottom left for info; bottom right for changing view; left pane for folder tree; etc.
It makes your eyes wonder all over the window... not a great idea.

I think if these comments show anything that Windows users have so many wishes when it comes to Explorer. As one of the most defining things about Windows I truly hope MS concentrates more on this with Win 8 over little gadgets that tend to be better when coming from freeware developers. We have so many files now that have been built up over the years. Tagging needs to be extended to any file type and to folders - its something 3rd party software struggles with as its so integral to the OS.

Show total size of folder in the status bar, like the "Classic Shell" program does (like XP used to...) and don't ever remove it again...

If "Classic Shell" did not exist, I'd still be ****ed at the Explorer. If a status bar is coming back 'by default' - make it useful, or turn it back off. I don't use the start menu part of "Classic Shell" - just installed it for the status bar fix, and I guess the "up" arrow for folder navigation is nice once in awhile.

At the very least, put the option back in to show total used space in folder on the status bar. Seeing how big a folder is at a glance, while you're there, with nothing selected, is so obviously useful that I'm amazed more people don't miss this...

Point and click until you drag and drop all day long... just put the file size back down there in that status bar...

kansanian said,
Show total size of folder in the status bar, like the "Classic Shell" program does (like XP used to...) and don't ever remove it again...

If "Classic Shell" did not exist, I'd still be ****ed at the Explorer. If a status bar is coming back 'by default' - make it useful, or turn it back off. I don't use the start menu part of "Classic Shell" - just installed it for the status bar fix, and I guess the "up" arrow for folder navigation is nice once in awhile.

At the very least, put the option back in to show total used space in folder on the status bar. Seeing how big a folder is at a glance, while you're there, with nothing selected, is so obviously useful that I'm amazed more people don't miss this...

Point and click until you drag and drop all day long... just put the file size back down there in that status bar...

I don't disagree, but with today's computers you are not dealing with a few GB like you were when the status bar could display the folder size rather quickly.

I have folders that literally have over 500,000 items in them, and it would take a small chunk of time to compute this and lookup the file sizes. Yes I know I could turn this on and off, etc... However a basic user will have several thousands of files in folders now, consuming several GB of space, and for them, this would be annoying, steal CPU cycles from other process, and make them think the computer is slow as hell by trying to look up information that they don't want.

One thing of UI design, don't give users information unless they request it, it is fundamental to what they are doing, or can be offered instantly without consuming computing resources.

This feature fails this UI design test on every point.

If you want to know the folder information, right click on it, and hit properties. This is you requesting the information, and it is far more accurate and detailed that even the old school status bar 'folder size' information that was often incorrect on larger folders as the thread timed-out, just like it would on MOST folders today that are freaking huge in comparison to back then.

Seriously guys, you decide on not buying Windows 8 now. This build is pre-m3. More features will be added between now and the RTM which is nearly 2 years away. If this was all they were adding it would be a service pack. I actually love it so far, Ribbon UI and the Setting Sync sounds nice.

Looking forward to this feature.

It would also be nice to have IE shortcuts work in Windows Explorer properly. For instance, Alt+Enter in Windows Explorer's address bar doesn't really do anything, whereas in IE it duplicates the tab. CTRL+Enter in the Windows Explorer address bar opens the folder in IE, which is just weird.

The bread crumb bar is becoming more and more like NEXTSTEP's. I like it. One final tweak would make it perfect... that is, if you click on a link moving up the bar, it does not wipe out the previous, intervening folders. In other words you have:

a > b > c > d

You click on b and the bar STILL (until you click on another folder in side b) reads:
a > b > c > d
not
a > b
This makes it super easy to jump back and forth visually (I know, you can use the large back button to do that). It makes it nice if you are zipping back and forth between folders or copying data back and forth along the path.

[edit]
Obviously the current dir in the bread crumb would have to be highlighted somehow.

Tuishimi said,
The bread crumb bar is becoming more and more like NEXTSTEP's. I like it. One final tweak would make it perfect... that is, if you click on a link moving up the bar, it does not wipe out the previous, intervening folders. In other words you have:

a > b > c > d

You click on b and the bar STILL (until you click on another folder in side b) reads:
a > b > c > d
not
a > b
This makes it super easy to jump back and forth visually (I know, you can use the large back button to do that). It makes it nice if you are zipping back and forth between folders or copying data back and forth along the path.

[edit]
Obviously the current dir in the bread crumb would have to be highlighted somehow.

The only way that would work visually I think if the folders below the current one are shown faded out, which would signify that the information is "old" and left over from the last folder view.

But I don't think Microsoft would opt for that because they'd argue it would be confusing for novice users.

I'd like to see split view feature like in the old Norton Commander and current FTP clients like FileZilla. Oh, and add a command prompt.

bj55555 said,
I'd like to see split view feature like in the old Norton Commander and current FTP clients like FileZilla. Oh, and add a command prompt.

Side-by-side dual folder view - try http://dirsyncgb.wordpress.com
If you like it, tell your friends: if there's something you don't like, tell the author.

Stelex said,
Congratulations Microsoft! Welcome to spring-loaded folders, Mac OS X (10.1) - year was 2001 or so ...

Welcome to every other UI element involving folders that Microsoft did, except they were too lazy, uninterested, or busy, to get the fit-and-finish done in Vista.

Stelex said,
Congratulations Microsoft! Welcome to spring-loaded folders, Mac OS X (10.1) - year was 2001 or so ...

WinXP had what you call 'Spring Folders', not sure how you missed this.

Try it today on Win7 or WinXP, drag any document to a closed folder on the left hand folder pane (Explorer Tree/Folder List), it will 'spring/pop and magically open' for you.

Microsoft didn't implement it on folders in the right hand pane, as their usability tests showed that it required too long of a delay to be effective. Without the delay on 'springing open', the folders would pop open too fast and users would bounce though folders without realizing it.

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