A closer look at the upcoming File Explorer update in Windows 11

Just recently we learned that a new major File Explorer overhaul is in the works for Windows 11. The app will get a new design, several new features like a new start page and improved integration with OneDrive and Microsoft 365.


The Windows Central portal has received internal layouts that show how File Explorer will change in the near future. For example, the window title will get a modern address bar, an updated search field, and an updated toolbar with a new home button. The Copy/Cut/Paste buttons, and everything else that Windows 11 File Explorer's toolbar currently hosts, will appear in a dedicated area above the file view, right below the address bar.

File Explorer Update 1

The latter is also redesigned. It is now bigger, has Mica/Fluent Design effects and looks integrated with the title bar. The path breadcrumbs are now much bigger and touch friendly. Well, the whole new File Explorer design update is expected to make the app more usable on touchscreen devices.

The redesigned home page will have better integration with Microsoft 365 services, with a Featured section at the top with larger preview thumbnails.

The navigation bar on the left side will also get a modern Fluent Design look. The details panel will show much more information about files and folders, thanks to integration with Microsoft 365. It will show related emails and comments on files if they are shared on the cloud.

File Explorer Update 2


Microsoft is also working on adding a convenient photo viewer built in File Explorer. The new Gallery folder will allow viewing enlarged thumbnails when you hover over the image file with the mouse pointer.

In addition, Microsoft is trying to implement "tags" in File Explorer. By assigning tags to files users can organize and categorize them with keywords and colors, similar to the Finder app on macOS.

If Microsoft goes ahead with its plans, it will be the biggest update to File Explorer since Windows 8, released more than 10 years ago. The company wants the new "Explorer" to remain familiar to users, but at the same time get a modern design that matches the style of the operating system.

Many of the changes to File Explorer will arrive before the end of 2023. It is possible that they land in the stable Windows 11 versions this Summer along with the Moment update. Alternatively, the new File Explorer can become part of Windows 11 version 23H2 slated for release this fall.

Via Windows Central

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

One thought on “A closer look at the upcoming File Explorer update in Windows 11”

  1. If you let the toolbar extend itself into the navigation pane’s area (a.k.a. it will have the same width as the window itself), you’ll more or less get…

    (wait for it)

    …Windows 7’s explorer!
    (Not that I mind, of course. One of the first things I do with a clean Win10 install is to make File Explorer look like 7’s :V)

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