Tabs In File Explorer

How to Enable Tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11

You can now enable tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11 in the latest Insider Preview build released to the Dev Channel. It allows you to open different folders in individual tabs inside one Explorer window.

Microsoft has already experimented with tabs back in 2018. The "Sets" feature has been available Windows 10 "Redstone 4". But it was eventually excluded from the OS without a chance to reach the stable version.

Now, tabs are back. The revived UI enhancement first spotted by Rafael Rivera in today's Windows 11 Build 22572. The official announcement didn't mention them, as it is an experiment feature hidden deep inside the preview build.

Starting in Windows 11 Build 25136, File Explorer has a newer navigation pane, that consists of three sections. In the middle, it shows frequently visited locations and pinned folders. The classic icons are at the bottom, and Home and OneDrive are in the topmost section.

New File Explorer with Tabs in Windows 11 Build 25136 4

💡You can find what Windows 11 build you have installed by opening the Run dialog (Win + R) and typing winver.

Tabs in File Explorer work exactly the way you could expect. You can open any folder in a new tab rather than in a new window. The appropriate option is in the context menu. There are also keyboard shortcuts to open and close tabs.

  • Ctrl + T - open a new tab
  • Ctrl + W  - close the current tab
  • Ctrl + Tab / Ctrl + Shift + Tab - switch between tabs forth and back.

Similar to the Edge tab row, File Explorer support scrolling when you open a lot of tabs. There are arrow buttons that automatically appear after the first and last tab.

Here is how to enable the File Explorer tabs feature in Windows 11 (Insider builds).

Enable Tabs in File Explorer

To to enable tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11, do the following.

  1. Download ViveTool from GitHub and extract it to some folder, e.g. c:\ViveTool.
  2. Press Win + X and select Windows Terminal (Administrator) to launch it elevated.
  3. Change the directory to the folder where you placed ViveTool using the cd command, e.g. cd /d "c:\ViVeTool".
  4. Now, type the following commands to enable tabs in File Explorer:
    • Windows 11 Build 25136 or above (Dev):vivetool.exe addconfig 37634385 2.
    • Windows 11 22621.160 or above (Beta), run these three commands:
      • vivetool addconfig 39145991 2
      • vivetool.exe addconfig 37634385 2
      • vivetool.exe addconfig 36354489 2
    • For an older build, use the following command instead: vivetool addconfig 34370472 2.
    • For the PowerShell mode in Terminal add .\ to the command, i.e. .\vivetool.exe addconfig <ID> 2.
  5. After you see the "Successfully set feature configuration" message, restart the computer.

Done! You now have tabs in File Explorer.

As I already mentioned above, tabs are a work-in-progress. So enabling them before the official announcement may affect the stability and reability of the OS in a bad way.

If you have issues with tabs, you can undo the change at any moment later and disable them.

Disable Tabs

To disable tabs, open Terminal as administrator, switch to the c:\ViveTool folder, and execute the following commands.

  • Windows 11 Build 25136: vivetool.exe delconfig 37634385
  • Windows 11 Build 22621.160:
    • vivetool.exe delconfig 39145991
    • vivetool.exe delconfig 37634385
    • vivetool.exe delconfig 36354489
  • Older builds of Windows 11: vivetool delconfig 34370472

Once you restart Windows 11, tabs will disappear from File Explorer.

Tabs in File Explorer is one of most anticipated features in Windows. It is glad to see that Microsoft has finally listened to users. Maybe one day will have something like dual-pane mode in File Explorer. Then some of us may stop using Total Commander and similar apps.

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8 thoughts on “How to Enable Tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11

  1. Ron S

    Well, the tabs worked very nicely in Dev build 22572, but today they released Dev build 22579 and it doesn’t seem to be working. I have seen the vivetool config entries get reset after installing a new build before and even reapplied the vivetool config entry. Even after rebooting, the tabs appear to be gone from the explorer. They might have just changed the config number used to enable tabs.

    Reply
    1. Victor

      Same here – worked in 22572 but not 22579. Finally had tabs and now their gone. That didn’t last long. Hoping for a new Vivetool config

      Reply
  2. Michael Powell

    Does not work in Build 22593.1, I got the following error;
    An error occurred while setting a live feature configuration (hr=0xc0000022)

    Reply
  3. Rob Ross

    I just tried to do this on Build 22593.ni_release.220402-1100 — vivetool gave me a positive response and I rebooted but I have no File Explorer tabs, so perhaps they did change the config number.

    Reply

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