- Complete list of new features coming to File Explorer.
- File Explorer confirmed to get tabs and redesigned navigation pane.
- The default file manager will also receive tweaks like folder preview, new shortcuts, and context menu changes.
Windows 11 22H2 is expected to release on September 20, 2022, and among all the features and improvements, the feature update will also bring an updated version of File Explorer with a lot of visual changes and new features.
Originally, the new version of the file manager was planned to release alongside the feature update, but it appears that it won’t be the case. Instead, Microsoft plans to roll out the visual changes for File Explorer through a “Moment” update shortly after the Windows 11 2022 Update becomes available.
The new version of File Explorer will include new and highly requested features alongside visual changes, including support for tabs and redesigned navigation pane. You will find a new Home page, OneDrive integration, shortcuts, changes for the context menu, and more.
File Explorer’s top features on version 22H2
Here is a roundup of the best features and changes for File Explorer:
1. New File Explorer new Home
Starting on Windows 11 22H2, File Explorer introduces a new default “Home” page. However, this isn’t something entirely new. Microsoft has only renamed the “Quick access” page to “Home” and added a new icon. Also, the “Quick access” name will now be the name of the first section in “Home” that holds your pinned folders, and the “Pinned files” section is now called “Favorites.”
The “Recent” section holds your recent files locally stored on the device or in the cloud. Also, the recent and favorite files sections are now searchable using the box in File Explorer, even if they are not local files.
The “Add to Favorites” support through the context menu will now be available for files and folders, and these contents will appear in the new “Favorites” section above “Recent” in Home.
When using a Microsoft, work, or education account, “Favorites” and “Recent” files from Office.com will also appear on the “Home” page.
Finally, the “Home” page will be able to show content from OneDrive, Downloads, and virtually from all the index locations. If files are unavailable locally on the computer, they will show thumbnails, and you can share them through OneDrive.
Changes that pin or unpin files hosted in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams will sync and be reflected in Office.com and Office apps. Also, file activity updates from collaborators, such as edits and comments, are shown in the “Tiles” view and can also be shown in the “Details” view.
On the “Folder Options” page, in the General tab, the “Open File Explorer to” option lets you decide to open the file manager on the OneDrive folder, This PC, or Home page. Also, a new “Show files from Office.com” option allows you to show or hide recent and favorites on the Home page.
2. New Files Explorer tabs
Microsoft has officially confirmed that tabs for File Explorer will be coming to Windows 11.
Tabs for File Explorer work like the experience in the web browser. Instead of having multiple instances of the app, you can now use one instance of the app to navigate multiple folders and drive locations.
When you open the file manager, you will find a plus (+) button to create a new tab in the title bar. Or you can right-click a folder and select the option to open in a new tab.
When comparing the old and new designs, we can see some improvements. For instance, you can now right-click a tab to access a context menu with the options to close the current, close all others, or close tabs on the right.
You can also re-arrange the tabs as needed using the mouse.
File Explorer even includes some keyboard shortcuts to work with tabs. You can use the “Ctrl + T” keyboard shortcut to create a new tab, the “Ctrl + W” keyboard shortcut to close a tab, and you can use the middle button of the mouse to close a tab.
Microsoft is not trying to do this for the first time. In the past, the company started testing a feature called “Sets” that was supposed to bring tabs for all apps, but the project was then canceled on Windows 10.
3. Redesigned navigation pane
File Explorer also comes with a redesigned navigation pane. The new visual changes provide easy access to pinned and frequently used folders and OneDrive cloud profiles, which now reflect the user’s name associated with the account.
Also, when navigating to folders syncing to OneDrive, the address bar displays the correct path to make it easier to understand when the folders are on the cloud versus when they are local to you.
The known folders (Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, etc.) are no longer displayed under “This PC” to keep that view focused on the drives.
Microsoft is currently testing the new tab and navigation pane improvements, which means that not everyone will see them. However, you can use these instructions to enable both features.
4. Context menu refinements
In the legacy context menu (Show More Options), the items now include more padding, and the highlight is light or dark, depending on the system color instead of blue. You will also see this in the File menu of the Task Manager experience.
In addition, the context menu will add a few new top-level options, including “Install” when right-clicking on font files and “.inf” files. “Install certificate” when right-clicking on .cer files. “Map network drive” and “Disconnect network drive” when right-clicking on “This PC.” And “Disconnect” when right-clicking on network drives.
From the “This PC” page, when you click the See more (three-dotted) menu, you will find the option to add a media server connection.
Also, when right-clicking the “This PC” item in the navigation pane, you will find options like “Add a network location,” “Map a network drive,” and “Disconnect network drive,” and the existing “Expand” option has a new icon.
The file manager includes new icons for the “Rename,” “Properties,” and “Optimize” options to be more consistent and easier to understand.
Finally, this version of Windows also brings the new right-click menu to Recycle Bin.
5. OneDrive integration
File Explorer also comes with a new OneDrive integration to help you have control over storage consumption and ensure your files are syncing. When browsing your OneDrive folders, you can now see your sync status and quota usage without leaving File Explorer.
6. Folder previews
Furthermore, the app can now show previews of items within folders.
7. File Explorer sharing improvements
Microsoft is working on improving the file-sharing experience. For example, when clicking the Share button for a file, File Explorer will suggest contacts to share the content, nearby people, or apps.
Also, when sharing a local file in File Explorer to Outlook, it will now be possible to compose an email message within the share window without going into Outlook directly.
Furthermore, when using Nearby sharing, the Share interface now uses the UDP protocol (for private networks) and Bluetooth to discover even more devices, including desktop computers.
If you share a local file from File Explorer and other apps that use the Share interface, you can choose OneDrive as a target to directly upload the file to OneDrive and share it further, along with access control options.
8. New File Explorer keyboard shortcuts
Also, you can use the “Shift + Right-click” shortcut to open the classic context menu instead of the modern alternative that offers fewer options.
When selecting a file or folder, it’s possible to use the “Ctrl + Shift + C” keyboard shortcut to copy the item path to the clipboard.
If you are working with tabs, you can use the “Ctrl + T” keyboard shortcut to create a new tab, the “Ctrl + W” keyboard shortcut to close a tab, and the mouse’s middle button to close a tab.