The tab function in File Explorer app was expected to be released for all with Windows 11 22H2 release. However, this was not available at that time and Microsoft officially informed that the feature was released with KB5019509 on 18 Oct 2022. In this article, we will explore how the File Explorer tabs look like and how to use them effectively.
Update Windows 11
Many users complained in Microsoft support forms that the tabs feature was not available even after updating to release KB5019509. If you are not seeing the tabs in File Explorer app, press “Win + I” keys to open Settings app. Go to “Windows Updates” option from the left sidebar and click on “Check for updates” button on the right pane. When the updates are available, click “Download & install” button to install the latest version. Make sure to restart your computer, if it is not restarted during the update, before you try to check File Explorer.
The new tab function in File Explorer will look like below. The app will open with “Home” tab by default and you will see a + icon next to the first tab on the title bar similar to Microsoft Edge browser tabs.
Creating New Tabs in File Explorer
There are multiple ways to open a new tab in File Explorer.
- The easy way is to click on the + icon on the title bar to open a new tab. This will open another “Home” tab.
- Press “Control + T” shortcut keys to open “Home” tab in a new tab.
- Finally, you can right-click on any folder and select “Open in a new tab” option.
At this point, we do not see drag and drop a folder in title bar works for creating a new tab with that folder. However, you can expect this type of feature in further Windows release.
Closing Tabs in File Explorer
You can close single or all tabs using one of the following options:
- Click on the X button on the tab to close a single tab.
- Press “Control + W” shortcut to close current tab.
- If your mouse has wheel or center button, simply click the wheel on a tab to close it.
- Finally close the File Explorer or press “Alt + F4” to close all tabs at once.
- You can also right-click on any tab and choose one of the options for closing a tab. The options in the context menu include closing current tab, close all other tabs other than current one and close all tabs right to the current one.
Use of Tabs in File Explorer
At this point of time, the usage is limited as it is a new feature.
- You can open multiple tabs in a single File Explorer window. For example, you can three tabs with Downloads, Desktop and Documents folders and navigate between them quickly. You can use “Control + 1” to “Control + 9” shortcut keys to access the tabs in File Explorer.
- The major use of File Explorer tabs is to drag and drop files from one tab to another. Normally, you should cut the file with “Control + X” from one window and paste it on another File Explore r windows with “Control + V” shortcuts. Alternatively, you can open multiple windows for dragging and dropping files across the windows. With the new tab feature, you can simply drag a file from tab 1 and move to the tab 2 in the title bar. This will open the tab 2 where you can drop the file in any folder.
Note that the Home tab in File Explorer is also new where you can pin folder/files for quick access. It is also possible to add items to favorites and keep your favorites on the home page.
Not Seeing Tabs in File Explorer
If you are not seeing the tabs in File Explorer after updating Windows, do not worry. Microsoft has a patch for File Explorer which you can download from official update site. Simply download, open the file and then restart your computer. After that check the File Explorer, it should have tabs in title bar. There are also various alternate options available in GitHub for creating tabs in File Explorer. Here are two packages you can try in Windows 10/11.
- FileExplorer – this tool offers tabbed browsing in File Explorer, batch rename option, custom context menu and many other features.
- Files – this GitHub package offers a file manager for Windows with tabs, columns and panes.
File Explorer tabs is one of the much-awaited features by Windows users for years. Finally, Microsoft released the minimalist version after delaying for long time. Though the initial version has options for creating, closing and file movement, you can expect much more features in updates to File Explorer tabs in future Windows releases.