Microsoft details Windows 8 Explorer redesign, adds ribbon UI [Video]

Building Windows 8

On Monday, Microsoft has revealed the new redesigned Windows Explorer user interface that uses the ribbon approach, like Office style UI (user interface), that will offer many benefits to the end-user.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as many demonstration videos from Microsoft and leaks, it has been around the Internet for the past few months showing parts of the redesigned Explorer. But now it is official, the software maker is planning to incorporate ribbon style across the Windows Explorer UI to make easier and faster for the user to complete the necessary tasks. There are over 200 commands in Windows Explorer, but only 10 of those commands represent  81.8% of total use — if you want to know, they are: Paste, Properties, Copy, Delete, Rename, Refresh, Cut, NewMenu, CommandBar, and New. 

Basically, Microsoft goals is to optimize Explorer for management tasks by uncovering hidden commands that many users may not even know exist. Create a streamlined command experience, bringing the most used commands to the front of the UI, that way users don’t have to spend extra time finding them, by grouping commands in predictable places according to the context, and display relevant information right when the user need it. And third, heritage to previous versions of Windows by maintaining Explorer capabilities and bringing back relevant and requested features from the good old Windows XP — WOW!

“We evaluated several different UI command affordances including expanded versions of the Vista/Windows 7 command bar, Windows 95/Windows XP style toolbars and menus, several entirely new UI approaches, and the Office style ribbon. Of these, the ribbon approach offered benefits in line with our goals.” Microsoft program manager Alex Simons say in the article in the new blog Building Windows 8.

The new Windows 8 Explorer ribbon interface includes the Home tab that organizes the most important file management tasks, such as Cut, Paste, Delete, Rename, Copy and Properties, among others; which are the most used command in Windows Explorer.

Windows 8 - Explorer: Home tab

Now, let’s see the Share tab. This tab was designed to quickly help users to share files and folders, making it easy to send an email, zip, burn to disc, print, fax, etc. And of course with Windows 8 users will be able to easily share files with other over the local network.

Windows 8 - Explorer: Share tab

The View tab in Windows 8 provides access to many options to customize views inside Explorer. Users will be able to enable or disable the Navigation pane, Preview pane, and Details pane; change layouts, plus easy access to three hidden features: show file name extensions, hide selected items, and show hidden items.

Windows 8 - Explorer: View tab 

Simons also explained that Microsoft is working hard to make the new ribbon interface powerful that anyone can use. “we also wanted to make sure we were giving our more sophisticated users a good experience as well.” Simons also added “One of the top requests from more advanced users is for more keyboard shortcuts.” . Microsoft is making sure that all 200+ commands in the new ribbon have keyboard shortcuts. For advanced users customization to quick access toolbar will be available to provide faster access to commands they like and use the most.

Windows 8 - Explorer: Keyboard shortcuts

And finally for these new improvements, Microsoft brought back the “Up” button. “This is far and away the most requested improvement to Explorer, and a great opportunity to bring back some of Windows Explorer’s heritage features.” Simons explains.

Windows 8 - Explorer: Up button is back

Here is a quick video demo where Simons walks you through the main features of the new Windows Explorer.

Let us know what are your thoughts on the new improvements from Windows 8 in the comments.

If Microsoft were to ask you, which is the one feature from previous versions of Windows you would like to bring back? Which would it be? Be the first and tell us.

Source Building Windows 8 blog

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 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 About.me.