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How to Restore Classic File Explorer with Ribbon in Windows 11

You can restore the Classic File Explorer with Ribbon in Windows 11 if you are not happy with the modern one. As of this writing, it is a matter of one Registry tweak.

Windows 11 comes with a ton of visual updates. Microsoft has made really drastic changes to the user interface of the OS.  Windows 11 comes with a new taskbar which shows apps and the start menu aligned to the screen center. The Start menu is all new as well.

The OS comes with new versions of built-in apps. You will find new colorful icons here and there, new styles of buttons and other controls. The Settings app lost its home page, and now shows its categories directly.

Finally, File Explorer lost is Ribbon UI. Instead of the Ribbon, the app includes a new toolbar with frequently used file actions. It takes less space on the screen and more touch friendly.

If you are not happy with the new look of File Explorer, you’ve come to the right place.

This post will show you how to restore the classic File Explorer look with the Ribbon in Windows 11.

Restore Classic File Explorer with Ribbon in Windows 11

  1. Open the Registry editor. For that, press the Win + R keys and type the regedit command in the Run box.
  2. Navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Blocked.
  3. Click on Edit > New > String value in the menu of the Registry editor.
  4. Name the newly created value {e2bf9676-5f8f-435c-97eb-11607a5bedf7} and leave its value data empty.
  5. Now, open the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Blocked, and create here the same {e2bf9676-5f8f-435c-97eb-11607a5bedf7} string value.
  6. Sign out from your user account, and sign in back. Now you have the classic File Explorer with Ribbon.

It is worth mentioning that this method has a disadvantage. If you are reading Winaero daily, you may remember that this very tweak removes the Share command from File Explorer. I don't know how things are related, but disabling the share command disables the new Explorer style and restores the ribbon. But the price you pay is the missing Share command.

If you are not happy with the missing Share command in Explorer, e.g. if you use it, we can finally offer you an alternative solution that preserves the command but disables the Ribbon.

An alternative Registry tweak

  1. Press Win + R and type regedit into the Rub box.
  2. In the Registry editor app, copy and paste the following path into its address bar: HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID.
  3. Right-click the CLSID key (folder) and select New > Key.
  4. Name the new key you created as {d93ed569-3b3e-4bff-8355-3c44f6a52bb5}.
  5. Now, right-click the newly made {d93ed569-3b3e-4bff-8355-3c44f6a52bb5} key and again select New > Key.
  6. Rename the new key to InprocServer32.
  7. Open the "(Default)" value, i.e. double-click it.
  8. Don't enter anything into the value data dialog, but simply click OK to set it to the empty text value. It will change from (value not set) to blank.
  9. Restart File Explorer to apply changes.

For folks who do not go well with the Registry, Winaero Tweaker comes with the appropriate option.

Enable Ribbon in Windows 11 File Explorer with Winaero Tweaker

  1. Download Winaero Tweaker from here and install the app.
  2. In the left pane, select Windows 11 \ Restore ribbon.
  3. Select (check) the option on the right.
  4. Sign out from your user account when prompted.

Voila, you have restored the Ribbon. Enjoy.

I have no idea for how long this tweak will work. It may stop working right in the next Insider Preview build, so catch the moment. I need to say big thanks to my friend @kb0000001 for his (accidental?) finding.

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18 thoughts on “How to Restore Classic File Explorer with Ribbon in Windows 11

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Try to restore the classic search as well and see if it helps. There is an option for that in the latest Winaero Tweaker,

      Reply
  1. CRZ

    No longer working for me in Build 22494. The checkbox restores the ribbon alright, but it also hides some of my drives content. The alternative option does not work at all.
    Thank you for all your hard work, Amazing program!

    Reply
    1. HM100

      This works fine under Build 22598. I checked it today. Does this work perfectly under Build 22593. It does not under 22581.

      Reply
  2. kirk

    i was able to get open shell working fine. now i cannot get rid of the search bar in side of the task bar. there is no option to remove it anymore. i could not locate it inside of the task bar items list of thing s to turn on and off.

    Reply
  3. chembel

    This may work for some, but my machine, which was updated from Windows 10 and I have a couple of new machines with Windows 11 which do not have the Blocked Key that you list in this command “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Blocked”
    I realize I could create the new key, but I am leery of doing that as I don’t know what effect it will have. I think I will wait for Microsoft to fix this. Or someone comes up with a script that I can run to fix the Registry Editor.

    Thank you for all of the hard work that you do!!!

    Reply
  4. Dan Valentine

    Enable Ribbon missing now under Windows 11 in Winaero. Version 22H2 (OS Build 22621.521) Something has changed since last update.

    Reply
  5. Nathan Cusick

    Similar to above comment, Enable Ribbon option now missing on W11 22H2, and neither of the proposed registry tweaks do the trick either.

    Reply
  6. Simon

    After installing OS Build: 2261.521, the File Explorer ribbons are gone again… none of the old tweaks seem to work any more. Also in version of 1.40.0.0 of WT, I noticed the tweak to enable ribbons in File Explorer is gone. Does this mean ribbons are gone for good?

    I know the functionality is still there, because if you enter a path in Control Panel, you get your old explorer Back.

    Reply
  7. RibbonFailure

    For 22H2:

    StartAllBack | https://www.startallback.com/

    I don’t know how trustworthy it is, given that it’s an external program but since there are no other options I’ll try it. I managed to keep my taskbar, Windows 11 start menu and everything else the samebut still having Windows 10 style File Explorer. I think some the control panel parts are changed to Windows 7 style which I don’t mind. CPU, SSD and RAM use is not impactful.

    Reply
  8. DitchZero4AHero

    I hate the new Win Exp/File exp. After the Windows 11 update, I noticed the difference in F.E. I had success switching back to the old version using these tips, and Winaero. Adding the new key and strings will not affect your device just cut/copy and paste. I will admit I avoid Command Prompts unless I am testing on a burner. Websites have no validity that there advice is secure and accurate, like with many online apps, software etc. It is strange that Microsoft or someone changed to format for File Explorer to Windows Explorer. Guess we will not have that great layout of the old File Explorer anymore. A while ago, one day I signed in just to find, Windows Explorer had switched! I guess it could be the series of updates set to auto install, I turned that off. There are plenty of alternatives for free, or with a free trial. Yet none are what I prefer. It is stupid, the consistent alterations. The average life span of a pc varies, and there is no corner in the market to profit from using a bombardment of trendy pc trash.

    Reply

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