Microsoft gears up for a major overhaul of Windows 11 File Explorer

What to look forward to: Microsoft has been making changes to the File Explorer interface in Windows 11 since early last year, but it looks like more significant changes are on the horizon. The company plans to refactor some of the app’s current features, integrating it more closely with other tools.

Windows Center received internal mockups this week showcasing Microsoft’s planned changes to Windows 11 File Explorer. Later this year, the company will update the app significantly with features that connect to OneDrive and Microsoft 365.

The layouts show a redesigned header with a simplified icon row and a home button. The update moves features such as copy and paste to a separate banner in the file bar below the header.

The home button seems to take you to a page filled with recommended, pinned, and recently used items. The recommended files in the layout look like recently modified files in a cloud workgroup, probably using Microsoft OneDrive, and a recently uploaded file.

Another mockup shows what happens when the user opens the file information in the details panel, demonstrating additional cloud and email integration. Users can see lists showing what other team members have done with the file, related files, and related email conversations.

The new Gallery pane improves the way users view and organize images in File Explorer. When you hover your mouse over the images, enlarged previews are displayed.

In addition, sources told Windows Central that Microsoft may add the ability to tag files to make it easier to sort them. The company may also expand the hitboxes for items in File Explorer to make it more usable on touchscreens. All of the additions will join the web browser-style tabs that Microsoft introduced for Windows 11 File Explorer last March. This feature will also appear in Notepad.

Microsoft is currently planning to release an updated File Explorer before the end of the year. This could be the centerpiece of the Moment Update or the Windows 11 23H2 Update.

Users who don’t want to wait for additional file management features or are still using Windows 10 can try alternatives to Microsoft’s official File Explorer. The best include Files, RX Explorer, One Commander, TagSpaces, and XYplorer.

Image Credit: Windows Center

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