Microsoft could finally be bringing tabs to the File Explorer in Windows 11
It’s probably one of the most requested features in Windows, but Microsoft just might be bringing tabs to the File Explorer in Windows 11. The feature isn’t even publicly available in the Dev channel of the Windows Insider Program yet, but developer Rafael Rivera discovered it under the hood.
File Explorer tabs are back! (Windows 11 22572, feature 34370472) pic.twitter.com/U3t10Affdq
— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) March 9, 2022
If this happens, it’s a big deal. If you look in the Feedback Hub app and search for File Explorer suggestions, the top result when sorted by upvotes is tabs, with 3,285 votes. The second one has to do with the layout, with 51 votes. It’s a big difference.
It’s a no-brainer how much tabs have improved the experience in browsers, and they stand to make any other app that much more productive. Microsoft even had a feature at one point called Sets, which was going to allow you to put apps in groups of tabs. Sets was killed off before it ever shipped outside of the Insider Program, unfortunately. Presumably, it was just duplicating too much of the functionality that already exists in the taskbar.
If you like tabbed applications, there are third-party utilities that you can use. Stardock makes one called Groupy.
It’s also worth noting that this might never see the light of day. Even if it goes public in the Dev channel, it might never ship. Microsoft was clear about this, that the Dev channel isn’t tied to a specific release, and it’s for testing new features that may or may not ship. And this feature isn’t even readily available.
It is possible to enable though. As noted in Rivera’s tweet, there is a feature flag that can be turned on. Of course, Microsoft does not recommend that you enable features that it didn’t enable for you.