File Explorer file preview and OneDrive integration
Experimental

Windows 11 File Explorer to get folders preview, Quick access files, OneDrive integration

File Explorer may get more useful in future releases of Windows 11.

  • Microsoft introduces new features for File Explorer.
  • Features include folder preview and the ability to pin files to Quick Access.
  • OneDrive integration to better monitor storage and sync process and Outlook integration in Share.

File Explorer is getting more useful with four new features for Windows 11. Starting with the test preview build 22557, Windows 11 ships a new version of File Explorer that improves content browsing, Quick Access, and further integrates OneDrive and Outlook into the experience.

The first feature that Microsoft has been testing is folder preview in File Explorer. The ability to see a preview of the content inside a folder isn’t new, it has been available in older versions of Windows, but it was a feature removed from Windows 11. However, starting with build 22557, the feature is returning, and it will make it easier for users to glance at the contents inside a folder quickly without opening the folder.

Explorer with folder preview
Explorer with folder preview

The app is also improving Quick access. Until now, you have been able only to pin folders, but now, you will also be able to pin files by right-clicking the file and selecting the “Pin to Quick access” option. However, the file won’t pin in the left navigation pane. Instead, it’ll appear under the new “Pinned files” section on the Quick access page.

Quick access file pins
Quick access file pins

In addition, when using a Microsoft account, Pinned and Recent files from Office.com will also appear in the “Quick access” section. Furthermore, changes hosted in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams will sync and be reflected in Office.com and Office apps. File activity updates from collaborators such as edits and comments are shown in Tiles view and can also be shown in the “Details” view.

The updated version of File Explorer also includes a new OneDrive integration to understand the storage consumption and ensure your files are syncing. When in the OneDrive folder in File Explorer, you can now see the cloud storage service’s sync status and quota usage. The integration also includes an option to upgrade the storage, view your files online, and open the sync client settings.

OneDrive sync integration
OneDrive sync integration

Finally, when sharing a local file from File Explorer using Outlook, it would now be possible to compose the email message with the attachment directly from the Share interface without opening the desktop version of Outlook.

Share inline Outlook in Explorer
Share inline Outlook in Explorer (Source: Microsoft)

However, this feature requires the Outlook Desktop Integration plugin from the Microsoft Store to enable the feature.

Although these new enhancements are expected to arrive in the next feature update, Microsoft has already announced that many features can roll out at any time through the many update mechanisms that the company has in place. Also, since the features available in the Dev Channel of the testing program are not tied to any specific release of Windows 11, they can always be scratched and never see the light of day.