Microsoft is finally adding tabs to the Windows 11 File Explorer. These tabs allow you to navigate files and folders within one instance of File Explorer—it’s a serious time-saver, and it should keep your desktop from getting cluttered. Unfortunately, the feature is currently exclusive to Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25136.
We first heard about this feature in March when it was leaked by EarTrumpet developer Rafael Rivera. Of course, tabbed file interfaces are nothing new. Apple added tabs to its Finder back in 2013, and several third-party apps (many of which are non-working) claim to add tabs to Windows’ File Explorer.
Microsoft also experimented with a tabbed File Explorer in 2017, when it tested the feature in a Windows 10 Insider build. But for whatever reason, the feature was removed and never appeared in a stable Windows release.
Notably, Microsoft also asks users to share “which tabs features you’d like to see next.” It seems that tabbed software features are now a focus of Windows 11, which makes sense, as cleanliness and minimalism are the operating system’s modus operandi.
Windows Insiders can unlock this feature by updating to build number 25136 or later. Everyone else should just wait for the feature to hit a Windows 11 stable release (or join the Insider program). Note that the update also improves File Explorer’s sidebar, adding OneDrive user profiles and easier access to pinned or recently used locations.