How to enable new File Explorer with Tabs in Windows 11 Build 25136 and 22621.160

Microsoft today officially announced that they bring up File Explorer tabs to Insiders in the Dev channel with Windows 11 Build 25136. But they are using a gradual feature roll-out, so not everyone see it after upgrading to that build. If you don't have the new File Explorer yet, follow the instructions in this build to enable them.

So, Build 25136 starting in Tabs in File Explorer are supposed to be enabled by default. Thanks to this change, you can open multiple folders in a single Explorer window and switch between them with one click. Tabs appear in the window titlebar, similar to web browsers.

It also features a reworked left area (navigation pane) with three sections. The top one hosts Home and OneDrive, the middle one lists pinned and frequent folders, and the bottom-most is for classic icons like This PC, Network, etc.

New File Explorer with Tabs in Windows 11 Build 25136

Starting in Windows 11 Build 22621.160 (Beta channel), the same tabs in File Explorer are available for testing. Again, Microsoft is using a gradual roll-out, so the chance that you need to enable them manually retains high.

Here's how to enable tabs in File Explorer in Windows 11 Build 25136 or Build 22621.160 if you don't have them.

Enable tabs in File Explorer in Windows 11 Build 25136 and 22621.160

  1. Download the latest version of ViveTool from GitHub.
  2. Extract the downloaded ZIP archive to some convenient location, such as c:\ViveTool.
  3. Now, right-click the Start button and select Run (or press Win + R) to open the Run window.
  4. Type cmd.exe and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the Command Prompt as Administrator.
  5. In the command prompt, type
    • In Build 25136 (Dev channel): c:\vivetool\vivetool.exe addconfig 37634385 2 and hit Enter.
    • In Build 22621.160 (Beta channel), you need to run three commands:
      • c:\vivetool\vivetool addconfig 39145991 2
      • c:\vivetool\vivetool.exe addconfig 37634385 2
      • c:\vivetool\vivetool.exe addconfig 36354489 2
  6. After you see the message about successful execution of the command, restart the computer.

Now you have tabs in File Explorer along with the updated Navigation pane.

If you aren't happy with the change, e.g. you don't like the look of the Explorer app, or it gives you some issues, it is easy to undo it.

Again, run the command prompt as Administrator, and type the following command:

  • Build 25136 (Dev channel):c:\vivetool\vivetool.exe delconfig 37634385
  • Build 22621.160 (Beta channel):
    • c:\vivetool\vivetool delconfig 39145991
    • c:\vivetool\vivetool.exe delconfig 37634385
    • c:\vivetool\vivetool.exe delconfig 36354489

Once you restart Windows 11, File Explorer tabs will again become hidden.

That's it.

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8 thoughts on “How to enable new File Explorer with Tabs in Windows 11 Build 25136 and 22621.160

  1. HM100

    Managed to enable them using the above methods but unfortunately, this makes top bar of file explorer look weird under high contrast themes

    Reply
  2. Nick

    Yep can confirm does not work on 22621.160 although says configured sccessfully when running

    vivetool addconfig 39145991 2
    vivetool.exe addconfig 37634385 2

    under a command prompt running as system admin after a reboot explorer is exactly the same as it was.

    Reply
  3. NIck Polwin

    You actually need 3 commands for this to work on 22621.160

    22621.160 after adding the extra 36354489 2 and rebooting this worked.

    ViVeTool.exe addconfig 39145991 2
    (Tabs)

    ViVeTool.exe addconfig 36354489 2
    (New navigation pane)

    ViVeTool.exe addconfig 37634385 2
    (NWMTest1, required for tabs and nav pane to work )

    Reboot machine

    Reply
  4. Dr. Tek

    Same here. Tabs are available. But I also now have a toolbar with File, Edit, View, and Tools that is right above the Home icon. No idea how to turn it off.
    I disabled it, and I still have a white line where the toolbar was when the tabs were enabled.

    Reply
    1. Ernie

      Same here but I finally found how to solve it:
      File Explorer Options – View – Files and Folders – Always show menus
      UNCHECK this item and click Apply, the toolbar is gone now.

      Reply

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