How to Enable Tabs on Windows 11 File Explorer?

Microsoft is testing a hidden feature that enables a new tabs-like interface for Windows 11 File Explorer application, which has been highly requested over the years. File Explorer application is one of the widely used in-built Windows features which allows its users to view the computer device’s file system, and access several folders you can also manage all types of files in this application easily. While Microsoft temporarily tested the feature on the Windows 10 Insider Build in the year 2017, it was removed from the development builds immediately.

This feature was primarily spotted by Rafael Rivera on Windows 11 build 22572. This Windows 11 feature works just like the Microsoft Edge web browser. You can open several tabs in the File Explorer application or one tab for each section of the specific folder. For instance, you may have a File Explorer window, but the tabs will be opened for all the folders present on the file system of your computer device like tabs for the Desktop folder, Pictures folder, User folder, Documents folder, etc.

In today’s post, let’s look into the details about enabling Tabs on the Windows 11 File Explorer. Here’s an overview:

Where does it work?

To open a specific folder in a new tab, simply you can right-click on the folder and then click on the ‘Open in New Tab’ option on the right-click menu. Generally, the new tab-like interface works quite well. The user interface is fast and easy to use, and as you open several tabs, you’ll see overflow arrows on the left and right sides, allowing you to scroll through all the opened tabs on the File Explorer window. Tabs in File Explorer work the same as you might expect.

You can open any specific folder in a new tab despite a new window on the computer screen. There are also some keyboard shortcuts keys for opening and closing tabs in this feature which are –

  • Ctrl + T – To open a new tab on the File Explorer window
  • Ctrl + W – To close the recently opened tab
  • Ctrl + Tab / Ctrl + Shift + Tab – To switch back and forth between the tabs on the File Explorer window.

However, Microsoft is still working on the ability to reorder or rearrange the tabs in the File Explorer application by dragging and dropping them.

While there is still some work to be done, it can be noted that this feature is a hidden development feature and thus ought not to be used by Windows users at this moment. Also, as Microsoft always states, not all the Windows 11 Developer Build features will make it into the public releases as well (in a stable form). However, when it comes to this tabs-like interface in the File Explorer application, there is enough demand by the Windows users that it would be pretty surprising for Microsoft not to include this special feature in the future. Since this is a pre-release feature (or experimental feature) that Microsoft hasn’t legally or officially announced, it is uncertain whether this feature will be the new default experience for Windows 11 or it will be a feature that you’ve to enable manually on the computer system. Before enabling tabs for file explorer make sure to install Windows 11 in the right way.

How to Enable Tabs for File Explorer in Windows 11?

  • The option to enable tabs in File Explorer is available in the Developer Channel on the latest Windows 11 build 22572. So, ensure that you’ve registered or enrolled in the Windows 11 Insider Program’s Dev Channel and update to the latest Operating System (OS) build. 
  • After this, you’ll need to install the ViveTool from the GitHub website, which will allow you to use tabs in the File Explorer application. Simply click on this link and download the Zip file from the GitHub website.
  • Now, right-click on the downloaded Zip file and choose the “Extract All” option from the right-click menu. Then, right-click on the recently extracted folder and choose the “Copy Path as” option from the right-click menu.
  • After this, open Command Prompt on your computer system with Administrator privileges. You can perform this task by searching “cmd” in the Windows Search and choosing the “Run as Administrator” option on the search results. It is essential to open Command Prompt with administrator privileges otherwise you’ll get a bug or error while running the Command to enable the tabs in Windows 11 File Explorer. 
  • In the Command Prompt window, type cd and paste the path of the extracted folder which you’ve copied. To paste the path on the Command Prompt window, simply right-click on the CMD window. 
  • After entering the copied path on the CMD window, execute the following command which is given here – vivetool addconfig 34370472 2. This command will enable the new tabbed User-Interface in the File Explorer application on Windows 11. After this step, restart your computer system.
  • And finally, here it is – tabs in File Explorer application which is working smoothly in Windows 11 Operating System. Kindly note that the ability to reorganize or rearrange the tabs in File Explorer is currently not supported. This specific feature is half-finished right now, but we expect Microsoft to rectify or improve it before releasing this feature to all its users in its stable version.

Last Words:

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to share this post with your Windows 11 buddies. In case you need any help, drop down a comment below.

That’s all for now. I will be back soon with another interesting update. Keep visiting HiTricks. Don’t forget to join our Telegram Channel for getting the latest tech updates.

Anuj Kumar
Anuj Kumar

Anuj is a passionate blogger from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Currently pursuing in Programming and Data Science from IIT Madras. Apart from being an avid learner and a tech enthusiast, he loves playing PC Games and likes to keep himself updated with the latest trends in the tech industry.

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