Microsoft teases a modern File Explorer for Windows 11

Microsoft finally showed off Windows 11 today, sharing a lot of information about the upcoming OS, such as the new UI enhancements, centered taskbar icons, new Microsoft Store and support for Android apps. However, one aspect that did not make it to the presentation, at least directly, was the File Explorer. The company is modernizing most of the user-facing UI elements, so it is safe to assume that File Explorer is also one of them.

While that component of Windows 11 did not get a mention during the main event, a Windows Insider Program YouTube channel video titled “Watch how Windows 11 is being designed” provided a glimpse of what looks like a modern File Explorer. The short clip shows off an updated app with a simplified ribbon-like header, albeit without the dedicated tabs. The header contains a bunch of new icons for common actions such as cut, copy, share, delete, properties, and more, with the far end of the area containing an “options” menu that likely houses more granular settings that have been moved out of the ribbon.

A woman pointing to a screen that contains some files on Windows 11 File Explorer
A woman pointing to a screen that contains some files on Windows 11 File Explorer

It is not clear in the video whether the app is a mockup since the app window seems to be housed inside another window with a title bar. It is anybody’s guess if this hints at the possibility of multiple instances of the same app running in a window (or tabs in File Explorer). For now, it should be filed under speculation. Other enhancements include better spacing between folders and options to improve the experience on touch screens, acrylic blur, and more.

Currently, not much is known about when it will be shown off. It is possible that the app is still early in development, so it will be interesting to see if it makes it to the Windows 11 Insider Preview that will be made available to Insiders next week.

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