back to article Microsoft brings tabs to File Explorer

Microsoft has treated some of the courageous Dev Channel crew of Windows Insiders to the long-awaited tabbed File Explorer. "We are beginning to roll this feature out, so it isn't available to all Insiders in the Dev Channel just yet," the software giant said. The Register was one of the lucky ones and we have to commend …

  1. ShadowSystems

    Tab? Yuck.

    I prefer Pepsi. Hell, even 7-Up is better than Tab. Sheesh...


    *Inserts a ten meter tall, blinking, scrolling, bold, italicized, underlined, marquis SARCASM tag for the Sarcasm Deficient*

    (Sorry there's no icon, for some reason the icon selection bit has become a series of unlabled radio buttons with no AltText to describe WTF I might be triggering.)

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Tab? Yuck.

      I was in high school when Tab came out in UK. Only cause it as was amazed it was clear coke/pepsi. But it never tasted nice. More like diet than anything. I came to my senses and stopped buying it.

  2. WarwickHunt


    A tabbed file explorer?! A wonderful glimpse into what a desktop front-end will be like in the year 2000.

    I'm glad I've been using Directory Opus for the past 20 years. I can't bear to use Windows without it now.

    1. John Young 1

      Re: Machadaynu!

      I couldn't live without DOpus back in the Amiga days, it's been a nightmare on Windows for years (and yes DOpus on Windows is not quite the same haha)

    2. Richard Crossley

      Re: Machadaynu!

      Even I have cobbled together a couple examples over the years; one in Windows 3.11 using Delphi 1 and another in C# about 5 or 6 years ago.

      Sounds like Microsoft hasn't enough to do given the data mining (telemetry) functions in Windows.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Machadaynu!

      Well first of all they have to get to 1995 by fixing the start menu...

      My God, what an unmitigated tragedy W11 is.

  3. Paul Kinsler

    We'd love your feedback on which tabs features you'd like to see next,

    I reckon putting tabs in the scroll bar would be just awesome.


  4. Dwarf

    Another productivity disabler

    I wonder how cut and paste type operations would work in this ?

    Extra wasted time trying to move between tabs rather than just dragging between windows.

    Its almost like they have forgotten what windows are for

    Not windows the OS, but the boxes on the screen that we interact with.

    We aren't in the old 640x480 screens any more, HD screens or far higher resolutions are the norm, so why not make it easy for people

    Oh, I remember, its because they have wasted so much whitespace on all windows making it all chunky tile style windows, rather than the old ones that used to give us useful content in a nice logical layout across each pixel on the screen

    So, more evidence that they have lost the plot on why we have these machines in the first place. We are not some giant monkey experiment to see how things respond.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another productivity disabler

      Its almost like they have forgotten what windows are for

      Not windows the OS, but the boxes on the screen that we interact with.


      So many users have, they always seem to instantly pop every window into maximize even when the app doesn't resize and so this just gives huge black borders around the edge


      Then they can't find the window they should be using coz they buried it


      On another point entirely if they want to enhance file explorer please can they give us back the functionality of the W7 version. The preview pane was so useful, every version since just sucks.

      Now I must go and find some beer and calm down. Sorry.

    2. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Another productivity disabler

      Weirdly if Microsoft didn't break the taskbar by default by "grouping" file manager windows, the users can just use that like tabs to handle many different folders.

      But frankly it is a race to the bottom. A desktop usability study hasn't been carried out since the 90's (for Sun Microsystems and their Gnome 2 based Java Desktop System I believe).

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Another productivity disabler

      "Extra wasted time trying to move between tabs rather than just dragging between windows."

      It'll be OK if you can disable them. Tabs have been on KDE's file manager for ages & I keep not using them for the reason you say.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Another productivity disabler

        Similarly so for Mint's file explorer. Sometimes I use tabs and sometimes a new window is more convenient. Rarely more than one or two tabs anyway... Horses for courses, nothing to get wound up about.

      2. gobaskof

        Re: Another productivity disabler

        You don't need to disable them, just don't use them if you don't want to. I tend to use the spit screen (F3) option in KDE dolphin if I know I am doing a lot of dragging files around. If you have tabs, you can drag the file up to the tab bar, wait about one second for the tab to change and drag it back down, slightly slower but useful if you like tabs.

    4. NewModelArmy

      Re: Another productivity disabler

      I use Fedora, and Dolphin as the file explorer. Tabs are so much easier to use than multiple windows.

      When using Windows 8 with classic view etc., multiple windows is an issue where you have to remember which windows is which directory location. In Fedora, i have 6 tabs open with each tab designated as the directory, and if i really want, i can have multiple instances of Dolphin windows, each with their own tabs.

      Been using Fedora as my main OS for 6 years, and don't miss Windows at all.

    5. Tams

      Re: Another productivity disabler

      Microsoft have been idiots recently, but they aren't removing the ability to have multiple resizable windows of file explorer open, so I don't see what your problem is.

      Just don't use them if you don't like them.

  5. HandleAlreadyTaken

    Still awful to use

    After I don't know how many years, File Explorer is still awkward to use and annoying. In the old days there were lots of alternative file managers, like XTree, Norton Commander and others. Pretty much all of them were better than File Explorer.

    Personally, I'm using Total Commander, a tool that inherits the model of the ancient Norton Commander, and is still maintained by Christian Ghisler. IMO it remains the best file manager. I seriously think MS should buy or license it and ship it with Windows instead of File Explorer.

    1. LenG

      Re: Still awful to use

      Yup. Personally I use MultiCommander which is similar (two panes) but offers tree-sidebars in each window if required and a lot of extra stuff. Lacks the FTP support (I use filezilla) but has an interesting "flat filesystem" view which is sometimes quite useful.

      I just wish file selection dialogs could be trained to use something other than bits of File Manager.

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Still awful to use

      I seriously think MS should buy or license it and ship it with Windows instead of File Explorer.


      Then they can extinguish it.

  6. Uncle Slacky

    Just like Explorer++, then?

    Which I've been using for at least 12 years now:

  7. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Waste of (time and) space

    As well as weather, users can also get live updates from the sports and finance widgets, along with breaking news alerts.

    Now where did I put the flamethrower.

    All those are a means to the end of Microsoft profiling you

  8. Anal Leakage

    Rigorous journalism

    And it comes as no surprise that the Reg hacks fail to mention that Mac OS has had this feature for years now.

    1. Tams

      Re: Rigorous journalism

      Because it's not relevant.

  9. drankinatty

    Chuckling - Must be a Bad Implemenation, konqueror has had them for 20 years - and they work well

    The comments so far seem to hint windows explorer's tabs implementation may not being the best. KDE konqueror has had tabs for at least 20 years and they are quite useful. A tab for the local files, and however many `sftp://` tabs to remote hosts are needed. With the directory tree on the left for the local host, and a tabbed right pane, can add functionality when done right. (though I will admit konqueror has gone though extensive "growing pains" as it was ported through Qt4-6....)

  10. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Have they fixed multi-DPI yet?

    On multi-DPI setups the Search bar just expands and expands until the address bar is totally unusable.

    But then, they also broke Calculator on multi-DPI, presumably by making it WinRT. Sometimes it can't even be resized to be usable, just fills the entire vertical space of the monitor.

  11. czechitout

    I can't say I've ever thought I needed tabs in File Explorer, on the basis you can have multiple windows open at once.

    Tabs in MS Teams on the other hand...

  12. Snake Silver badge

    What Windows version?

    Just being :icon: , but it should be noted in the text.

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