Microsoft is slowly improving tabs in File Explorer in Windows 11

File Explorer in Windows 11 Dev Channel build 22572

Windows enthusiasts recently discovered that Microsoft is working on a tabbed interface for File Explorer, but the first implementation (not available publicly for testing) is half-baked at best. Our Closer Look at tabs in File Explorer revealed that it lacks many features and overall needs more polishing. The good news is that Microsoft appears to be working on improving tabs in File Explorer. The latest preview build of Windows 11 restored the ability to enable tabs, and it brought some much-needed improvements.

The main highlight is that users can now rearrange open tabs, something we are used to in every modern browser. Press and hold a tab, then drag it to wherever convenient. Moving a tab outside the current window launches a new instance of File Explorer, but you cannot move a tab from one window to another. That is one of the many improvements Microsoft still needs to implement.

An animation showing how to rearrange tabs in File Explorer in Windows 11

Like Microsoft Edge, File Explorer in Windows 11 lets you switch tabs using shortcut keys. Press Ctrl + Tab to move to the next tab and Ctrl + Shift + Tab to switch to the previous tab. This area also needs more work, as File Explorer does not cycle through all tabs. You cannot keep pressing Ctrl + Tab to move from the last to the first tab.

All the rough surfaces and missing features are probably one of the reasons Microsoft hides tabs in File Explorer from the public for now, but if you are curious to take a closer look, check out how to enable tabs in File Explorer in Windows 11.

It is worth noting that Windows Insiders should not get their hopes too high, as there is no guarantee that Microsoft will push tabbed Explorer to the stable channel. Windows developers have made it clear that Dev builds would contain experimental features, and some of those capabilities might not make it to the public at all. Windows Sets is one of the features Microsoft killed after brief testing in preview builds. Hopefully, things will go another way this time, and Windows users will get the feature they have been asking for many years.

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