How to enable tabs for File Explorer on Windows 11

Here are the steps to try an early preview of File Explorer with tabs on Windows 11.

Enable tabs in File Explorer
Enable tabs in File Explorer
  • To enable tabs on File Explorer, open Settings > Windows Updates and click the Check for Updates button to install update KB5019509 or higher release.
  • If the update didn’t enable tabs, open the Command Prompt (admin) and run the “vivetool /enable /id:39145991” and “37634385” and “36354489” commands with the ViveTool.

UPDATED 1/9/2023: On Windows 11 22H2, you can now enable tabs in File Explorer on version 22H2. The feature works just like in Microsoft Edge. You can open multiple tabs for each section of File Explorer, folder, or drive. Also, you have the option to create new or close open tabs, and the feature works in dark mode.

In addition, File Explorer has been updated with a redesigned layout for the left navigation pane. The design organization provides easy access to pinned and frequently used folders and OneDrive cloud profiles, which now reflect the user’s name associated with the account. Also, the known folders (Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, etc.) are no longer displayed under “This PC” to keep that view focused on the drives.

If you want to get hands-on with tabs and the new navigation pane, you need to install the latest system update for Windows 11 or use a third-party tool called “ViVeTool,” created by Rafael Rivera and Lucas on GitHub, to enable the new experience on your computer.

This guide will teach you the steps to turn on the tabs feature on Windows 11 22H2. You can use these instructions to learn more about how to use tabs on File Explorer.

Enable tabs for File Explorer on Windows 11 22H2

To enable tabs for File Explorer on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Windows Update.

  3. Click the “Check for updates” button to download the feature drop that enables File Explorer tabs.

    Windows 11 check and install updates

  4. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, the latest update will be installed, enabling tabs for File Explorer. If tabs are still unavailable, use the steps below to force the feature.

Enable tabs for File Explorer from ViveTool on Windows 11 22H2

To force enable tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11 22H2, use these steps:

  1. Open GitHub website.

  2. Download the file to enable the tabs feature.

  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-v0.3.1

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

  10. Type the following command to enable File Explorer tabs on Windows 11 22H2 and press Enter:

    vivetool /enable /id:37634385
    vivetool /enable /id:39145991
  11. Type the following command to enable File Explorer’s new navigation pane and press Enter:

    vivetool /enable /id:36354489
  12. Restart the computer.

After you complete the steps, File Explorer should now have tabs and the new navigation pane design on Windows 11 22H2.

If you change your mind, you can revert the changes with the same instructions, but on step 10, make sure to use these commands: vivetool /disable /id:37634385, vivetool /disable /id:39145991 and vivetool /disable /id:36354489 and then restart the device.

Update October 20, 2022: Since the company released the update KB5019509, you do not need to enable tabs manually anymore. You only need to install Windows 11 build 22621.675 (KB5019509) from Settings > Windows Update and click the Check for Updates button.

Update November 1, 2022: This guide has been updated to reflect that the feature is now available to everyone, and you only need to install the latest system update to get it. However, if tabs are still missing, you can use the command tool to force the feature on your computer.

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].