How to enable new header UI for File Explorer on Windows 11

Here are the steps to try an early preview of the new header design and Home page for File Explorer on Windows 11.

File Explorer new header UI
File Explorer new header UI

On build 23475, Windows 11 ships with an updated version of File Explorer with various visual changes, and in this guide, you will learn how.

In this preview, File Explorer is introducing a new “Home” experience that uses the new Windows UI Library (WinUI). On computers configured with an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account, the redesigned page will show file recommendations in a carousel view with support for thumbnails (coming soon). Also, the “Quick Access” folders (for Microsoft accounts), “Favorites,” and “Recent” sections are also getting visual treatments using WinUI.

In addition, and perhaps more noticeable, the file manager also introduces a new header design overhaul that is similar to the visuals you will find on the web browser, with navigation controls next to the address bar (and the search box on the right side). Also, the command bar will now appear under the address bar, blending with the rest of the background instead of the header. In addition, the buttons are also getting updated.

Also, as part of the address bar improvements, the experience has been updated and no longer shows the green progress bar. Instead, the tab’s icon will spin, indicating that the location is loading. In addition, the address bar will now show the sync status for OneDrive files, and as you hover over the icon, a new flyout will open to display the correct storage quota. Finally, the address bar and search box now include rounded corners.

The File Explorer visuals should appear automatically after installing Windows 11 build 23475, but if you do not see the changes, you can enable the new File Explorer interface manually (via @PhantomOcean3) using a third-party tool called “ViveTool” created by Rafael Rivera and Lucas on GitHub, to enable the option on your computer.

This guide will teach you the steps to turn on this new feature on Windows 11.

Enable new header UI for File Explorer on Windows 11

To enable the new header interface for File Explorer, use these steps:

  1. Open GitHub website.

  2. Download the file to enable the new File Explorer header design.

  3. Double-click the zip folder to open it with File Explorer.

  4. Click the Extract all button.

    Extract ViveTool files

  5. Click the Extract button.

  6. Copy the path to the folder.

  7. Open Start.

  8. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  9. Type the following command to navigate to the ViveTool folder and press Enter:

    cd c:\folder\path\ViveTool-v0.x.x

    In the command, remember to change the path to the folder with your path.

  10. Type the following command to enable the new File Explorer header design on Windows 11 and press Enter:

    vivetool /enable /id:40950262,41076133 
  11. Restart the computer.

Once you complete the steps, File Explorer will load the new header design with the new command bar at the bottom of the address bar and navigation controls on Windows 11.

File Explorer new header design
File Explorer new header design

If you change your mind, you can revert the changes with the same instructions, but in step 10, make sure to run the vivetool /disable /id:40950262 and vivetool /disable /id:41076133 command and then restart the device.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].