Windows 11 won’t get tabs in File Explorer until version 23H2

One of the most exciting upcoming changes in Windows 11 are tabs in File Explorer. With them, the app allows working with multiple directories without opening a bunch Explorer windows. Being discovered in Build 22572 as a hidden feature, File Explorer tabs were speculated to appear in the upcoming 'Sun Valley 2' update, which is Windows 11 version 22H2.

Tabs In File Explorer

However, that's wrong. 22H2 is already a feature complete project. Currently, Microsoft is polishing what has been added, without doing major changes to the OS. The upcoming Sun Valley 2 update (Nickel/22H2) includes everything that Microsoft was planning for the initial release of Windows 11 (Sun Valley/Cobalt/21H2). Sadly, for a number of reasons some important features were cut.

The  Sun Valley 3/23H2 update is a different story. So, Microsoft is preparing tabs in File Explorer for this release. That's why they  disappeared in build 22579+.

But in the latest preview builds of Windows Server, you still will be able to enable tabs. That's because those builds are already based on the 23H2 codebase from the Copper branch. So it is still possible to turn on the tabs using the ViveTool.

A more consistent dark theme will also be part of the 23H2 update. As is still a work in progress, it is unlikely to see it in Windows 11 22H2. However, Microsoft may push it down to 22H2 with a cumulative update.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Windows 11 won’t get tabs in File Explorer until version 23H2”

  1. How the heck they just turned down the tabbed window (in case, File Explorer), one of the much awaited feature traced back since the development of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (v1709, which not make it on the public release).

    1. 1709 did not have File Explorer tabs. It had “Sets” that combined all windows into a single tabbed Window using Legacy Edge, essentially making a secondary taskbar. Legacy edge was killed and we do not need a secondary taskbar, so sets died.

      This time they are actually making File Explorer tabs, so on a technical level, there is nothing to continue from. It;s being made from scratch.

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