- Microsoft continues previewing more visual changes for File Explorer.
- The latest update brings a new “Home,” redesigned header, tab tearout, and new image importing option.
- This is in addition to previously announced changes, including new “Gallery,” “Details,” and new code base.
Microsoft rolls out various visual changes for File Explorer on Windows 11. During its Build 2023 developer conference, the company teased upcoming design changes for File Explorer, and some of them are already available for testing for Insiders with devices enrolled in the Dev Channel.
The most significant changes thus far include a new “Home” page design, improvements for the “Gallery” view, and a new header design.
As part of the new “Home” experience, the page has the same familiar design as before, but it’s been updated to use the Windows UI Library (WinUI) framework. Also, the “Quick Access” folders (for Microsoft accounts), “Favorites,” and “Recent” sections are getting visual treatments using the same framework.
On computers configured with an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account, the updated page now shows file recommendations in a carousel view with support for thumbnails (coming soon).
File Explorer is also getting a new design for the header similar to the visuals you will find on the web browser. For example, the navigation controls are now next to the address bar (and the search box on the right side), and the commands were transferred under the address bar blending with the rest of the background instead of the header. In addition, the buttons are also getting updated.
In the address bar, the experience no longer shows the green progress bar. Instead, the tab’s icon will have a spinning animation, 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.
Clicking the chevron button in the path will reveal an updated flyout design using the design principles of Windows 11. Finally, the address bar and search box now include rounded corners.
In the “Gallery” view, the development team is integrating a new “Add Phone Photos” option in the command bar to connect your phone and access your images. When you click the button, it’ll open a link with a barcode you can scan with your phone to get started.
Furthermore, as part of the tabbing system, it’s now possible to drag a tab out of a window to create another instance of File Explorer.
These are not the only changes that File Explorer is expected to receive in future updates of Windows 11. The company has also modernized the application using the XAML programming code and the new Windows UI Library 3 from the Windows App SDK (WASDK).
It’s building a new “Gallery” view that introduces a new way to view images using an experience similar to the Photos app, previewing images with larger thumbnails, hiding the file name, and using chronological sorting. On the new page, you can use the “Manage Locations” option from the “Collection” menu to add or remove folders with images. The default settings only show the contents of the “Pictures” folder.
And there’s a new “Details” pane offers more information and actions for a particular file, folder, or drive you select. For example, when choosing a drive, the details pane on the right side will surface sharing options, activity details, file information, related files, and related conversations.
These changes are available on Windows 11 build 23475 and higher releases. If you don’t see the new design changes, you can enable them with these instructions.