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Windows 11 File Explorer tabs is the upgrade we've been waiting for

an image of a Windows 11 laptop
(Image credit: Microsoft)

You might want to check outside for flying pigs, because something almost equally improbable is finally happening. Microsoft looks to be adding tabs to File Explorer in the latest Windows 11 update. It’s been a very long time coming, in fact this feature was being requested all the way back in the Windows XP days. 

The latest Windows 11 preview build (opens in new tab) is currently being put through its paces by Windows Insiders, and the much-longed-for File Explorer tab upgrade has been spotted. Insider Rafael Rivera (opens in new tab) who quickly took to Twitter to showcase the new feature, and the Windows community seems particularly happy with this upgrade.

Update: Microsoft confirmed that Windows 11 is getting a huge upgrade to make your life easier by adding tabs, favorites, and a homepage to File Explorer at an April 5 event. 

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File Explorer tabs has been a heavily-requested feature for years. Currently moving files between locations requires either using the left-hand navigation bar, which can be fussy, or opening two separate File Explorer windows, which feels cumbersome. The addition of tabs would instantly negate these issues, so it’s no wonder it’s such a desired upgrade. 

The feature works pretty much exactly as you would expect. It’s no different from using tabs in a browser. A tab interface is added to the top of the File Explorer window and navigating through tabs can be done with just a single click. It’s such a simple improvement that it’s a real wonder why it’s taken Microsoft this long to finally implement it. 

It should be noted that this feature hasn’t been officially announced yet, and is currently only available via the latest Windows 11 preview build. Microsoft has experimented with File Explorer tabs before in operating system builds that weren't ultimately rolled out to the entire Windows user base. There is a possibility that this feature doesn’t make the final cut when the next major Windows 11 update is rolled out worldwide.  

Of course, considering tabs in File Explorer is such a highly-requested feature, it seems only natural that the feature will make its way to all Windows 11 users at some point in the future. 

As to when that will be, we don’t currently know, although online speculation has pegged the next major Windows 11 update for the second half of 2022. Hopefully, when the next Windows update does land File Explorer tabs have made the cut. 

Rory Mellon

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.