Windows 11 is ditching these File Explorer options — what you need to know

Microsoft Windows 11 running on an Apple MacBook laptop.
(Image credit: rawf8/Shutterstock)

A new Windows 11 update is removing a number of folder options from the OS’ File Explorer in a bid to freshen it up. 

The new Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23481 will be the first update to axe a number of features we imagine a only handful of power users may end up missing.

Microsoft released the following statement (thanks Tom’s Hardware) to clarify why it’s making these folder changes:

“We are removing a handful of old settings under Folder Options in File Explorer as part of an effort to clean up the number of settings for File Explorer. Many of these are legacy settings that have been around for ages and are not being regularly used by people on Windows 11.”

Windows 11 File Explorer changes 

There appear to be ten settings that are about to be dropped with the latest OS update. Casual Windows 11 users are unlikely to break out the hankies at the removal of the following… 

  •  Hide Folder Merge conflict. 
  •  Always show icons, never thumbnails.
  •  Display file icon on thumbnails. 
  •  Display file type information on Folder tips. 
  •  Hide protected OS files. 
  •  Show drive letters. 
  •  Show pop-up description for Folder and Desktop items. 
  •  Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color. 
  •  Use sharing wizard. 

It’s worth noting that this technically isn’t the end for the settings above. You’ll still be able to access them via registry keys—though again, if you’re a casual Windows 11 user, you may find this a slightly fiddly step too far.

Don't worry, you’ll still be able to access the departing folder settings via registry keys."

Microsoft is also encouraging feedback for its latest File Explorer update. Those who have access to the Preview Build can navigate to the Feedback Hub (press WIN + F), then submit feedback by selecting Files, Folders and Online Storage, then clicking File Explorer.

As a regular Windows 11 user, the only departing setting I’ll be sad to see go is having drive letters on my PC. At last count, I’ve got a frankly silly nine separate drives… no wait, it’s actually ten. Look, I’m just a fan of buying SSDs on an alarmingly regular basis, okay?

I’m sad enough to have all my drive letters memorized, which is handy when you’re regularly creating new Steam libraries in order to install the best PC games.

While hardcore Windows 11 fans might be against the File Explorer changes Microsoft is deploying, we doubt most users will notice. 

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal. 

  • computerdave911
    admin said:
    Windows 11 is cleaning up File Explorer by dropping folder options the company claims people rarely use.

    Windows 11 is ditching these File Explorer options — what you need to know : Read more
    They reversed these changed in dev channel yesterday after a lot of negative feedback from insiders.