Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

This post will learn about Windows 11 new file explorer experience design details. There are several new design changes in the Windows 11 new file explorer. The end-user experience of Windows 11 compared with Windows 10 file explorer.

The new experience of file explorer didn’t come with multiple Tabs (more details below) options similar to tabs in the Microsoft Edge browser. The new File explorer has many cosmetics changes that I will cover in this post. Let’s also discuss the design UI changes with file explorer.

The functionality of file explorer is not changed at all. The concept of the file explorer in Windows 11 is similar to that of Windows 10 and Windows 7. You have many other new features of Windows 11 options.

Patch My PC

Let’s also learn how to Hide Recently Opened Files folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11. Learn to hide recently opened files in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer in Windows 11.

What is Jump List Feature in Windows 11?

Jump List is a feature available across the taskbar, Start menu, and File Explorer, allowing users to quickly jump to recently opened files, documents, and frequent folders. Even Google Chrome and some other application also support Windows 11 Jump list feature as shown in the below screenshot.

Windows 11 Jump List is most useful for many users as the list of the files that you have used or opened recently can be accessed quickly. These items appear under Recommended in jump lists on the Start menu and Recent, Frequent under File Explorer.

Jump Lists can be useful, and they can be a privacy concern for some users as the list can quickly reveal recent activities to anyone who right-clicks on web apps or File Explorer.

Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details 1

Windows 11 includes a new start menu with an updated start button displaying your recent files and folders and recommending apps. The new taskbar options allow users do a lot of activities easier. 

You can customize the start bar near the power button. Choose Windows 11 Folders to Appear on Start next to the Power Button. More Details – Windows 11 Folders To Appear Next To The Power Button.

Use of Windows 11 New File Explorer

Let’s check what the uses of Windows file explorer are. You can see the default functionalities of the explorer is available with Windows 11. File explorer’s use cases are given below, and these basic functionalities are not changed when you compare them with Windows 10.

  • Interact with stored files in Windows.
  • Organize your personal files.
  • Create Folders to organize files.
  • Interact with files stored in cloud-like Onedrive.
  • A search bar option is available.
  • Path bar is available for navigation through different files and folders.

NOTE! – I didn’t feel any improvements in search in Windows 11 new file explorer. I have seen comments from the community that there are better file search applications.

Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

Windows 11 File Explorer Home Page

Windows 11 file explorer helps to get the files that you need quickly and easily. we can easily select file explorer from the taskbar or start menu or press the Windows logo key+E on your keyboard. File explorer is a graphical user interface for accessing the files.

Let’s check Windows 11 File Explorer Home Page option available with the latest insider version. The Quick Access folder is replaced automatically with the home folder on Windows 11 File Explorer.

Windows 11 File Explorer Home Page
Windows 11 File Explorer Home Page

New Toolbar – Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

You can check the new toolbar options with Windows 11 file explorer. You don’t see ribbon options in the new file explorer. You don’t have options like File, Share, and View ribbon options in Windows 11 explorer.

The new toolbar comes with very simplified icons. These icons are there for the following operations.

  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Rename
  • Share
  • Delete
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

Use Large Thumbnails – Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

You can have an option to change the view of file explorer using the icons on the right-side bottom corner. Display items by using large thumbnails. The shortcut to change to thumbnails view is Ctrl + Shift + 2.

The other view option of Windows 11 file explorer is used to display information about each item in the Window. The shortcut key to get the details view is Ctrl+Shift+6.

Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

Sort and Group Operations

You can see the new option to sort, and group operations are available near to delete button. The following options are available in the new explorer.

  • Name
  • Type
  • Total Size
  • More
  • Ascending
  • Descending
  • Group by
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

Layout and View Options

The new layout and view options are available in the Windows 11 new file explorer option. You can change the view of file explorer with Extra large icons, Large icons, Medium icons, Small icons, List, Details, Tiles, Content, Compact view, and Show options.

  • Navigation pane
  • Details pane
  • Preview pane
  • Item checkboxes
  • Filename extensions
  • Hidden Items
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details 2
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

Additional Options with New File Explorer

The last option in the file explorer toolbar is three dots options (ellipses). The following are the additional operations available with Windows 11 new file explorer.

  • Cleanup
  • Optimize
  • Format
  • Add a network location
  • Map network drive
  • Disconnect network drive
  • Select all
  • Select none
  • Invert selection
  • Properties
  • Options
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details 3
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details

NOTE! – Windows 11 File Explorer multiple tab option source code is already part of the insider version. However, this is not enabled in the UI itself.

Windows 11 File Explorer + New Option

Windows 11 file explorer gives options to create a new folder, shortcut, Microsoft Access Database, Bitmap image, etc from the + New button on the right-side. The following are the options available once you install office apps on Windows 11.

  • New Folder
  • Shortcut
  • Microsoft Access Database
  • Bitmap Image
  • Microsoft Word Document
  • Microsoft Access Database
  • Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation
  • Microsoft Publisher Document
  • Text Document
  • Microsoft Excel Worksheet
  • Compressed (Zipped) Folder
Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details 4

Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer

Let’s follow the below steps to disable Recent Items and Frequent Places for current users.

  • On Windows 11 device, Select the Start button, and then select Settings.
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer

Press the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to directly open Windows Settings.

  • In Settings, Select Personalization, and click on Start on the right side.
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11 Personalization Start – Windows 11
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11 Personalization Start – Windows 11

Toggle the switch to turn On or Off. Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer. By default, this option is set to turn On.

Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11

Once you complete the steps, Recent Items, Frequent Places in Jump Lists for the Start menu, taskbar, and File Explorer will no longer appear.

Results – End User’s Experience

Once you completed the above steps, Toggle for Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer set to Off. Click on the start button. Under Recommended, click More.

Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11

Here you can see all recent files and folders in the Start menu have been removed.

Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11

Similarly, When you right-click on File Explorer, It won’t show you frequent or recent items.

Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11

If the option is set to turn On, you will access recent files and documents from Start Menu.

Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11
Hide Recently Opened Files Folders from Start File Explorer in Windows 11

In this post, we discussed hiding recently opened file folders from start file explorer in windows11.In short, select the start button from the taskbar. From the start, choose the settings option. Select personalization from the settings option and click the start option on the right side.

To turn On or Off. Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer. After that, click on the start button. Under Recommended, click More. Now we can see all recent files and folders in the Start menu have been removed. Similarly, When you right-click on File Explorer, It won’t show you frequent or recent items.

Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access on Windows 11

Let’s learn how to Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access on Windows 11 devices. By default, File Explorer opens to Quick Access, which shows frequently used folders and recently used files.

Windows 11, known for a refreshed look and feel with the familiarity of Windows, offers a visually seamless experience; however, when you will compare this option with Windows 10, It’s providing a similar end-user experience.

Quick access refers to a location that shows all the recently opened files and folders and pinned folders; This PC window displays types of local, network, and removable drives. It also has direct access to your documents, downloads, and all.

There are several new design changes in the Windows 11 new file explorer. The end-user experience of Windows 11 compared with Windows 10 file explorer; here, you can explore more Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details.

Set File Explorer to open This PC Via File Explorer

Let’s follow the steps below to open This PC in File Explorer. Open file explorer and click the three dots drop-down menu, and select options to extend the pc in file explorer

  • Open File Explorer or Press the Windows key + E Keyboard shortcut to open File Explorer.
  • Click on the See more (three-dotted) drop-down menu and select Options.
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11

Under Folder Options, Click the General tab. In the Open File Explorer to drop-down menu, select the This PC option. Click on the Apply, then click the OK button.

Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11

Once you finish up, The next time you open File Explorer, you’ll see This PC opens.

Set File Explorer to Open This PC Using Registry

Let’s follow the steps below to Set File Explorer to open to This PC via Registry. To add or import a registry value on Windows 11 PC, follow these steps.

Important – We recommend you create a backup before editing the registry.

  • Open Notepad, Copy and paste the registry value below into the text editor.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]
"LaunchTo"=dword:00000001

Note – Since adding the registry value manually may lead to an issue, it will take the time taken to process for the system admin. You can also copy the below command and create a batch file to automate the settings.

In the File menu, select Save As and click Browse to your preferred folder or location. In the File name box, provide the appropriate name “FileName.reg” with the .reg extension and Choose Save as type “All” from the drop-down list. Click Save.

The registry file will appear on your saved location. To start the execution, Double click or Right-click and select the Open option or press Enter on the protected .reg file content to merge into the local registry.

  • A warning box with the following messages prompted, Click Yes to continue.
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11

Once Information in the path of the Registry (.reg) file has been successfully entered into the registry below prompt will appear. Click OK

Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11

This is especially useful for applying the same setting for multiple users to be distributed across the network.

Results – End User Experience

Once you complete the above steps, open File Explorer either directly from the File Explorer icon located at the taskbar or by pressing Windows Key + E Keyboard shortcut.

Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11

Once these configuration(s) is in place, whenever you launch Windows 11 File Explorer, it opens This PC instead of Quick Access. You will be redirected to This PC section. Here’s how shown below.

Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11
Set File Explorer to open This PC instead of Quick Access in Windows 11

Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files

Enable or Disable to view Windows 11 hidden files, hidden folders, and hidden drives. Windows 11 hide many Windows-protected system files and folders by default, preventing users from deleting or modifying files, Hidden files, folders, and movements do not show by default in Windows.

Show Hidden Files in Layout and View Options

Let’s see how to disable or enable to view hidden files from Windows 11 file explore. Here’s how to display hidden files and folders.

  • In Windows 11 device, Open File Explorer
  • Click the Layout and view the options menu. Select the Show submenu and check the Hidden items option.

There is no more ribbon with tabs, and you will find Layout and view options in the new Explorer.

Easy Steps to View Windows 11 Hidden Files Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 1
Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 1

Once you check the hidden items box, You will be presented with hidden files and folders on your device.

Show Hidden Files in File Explorer Options

  • In Windows 11 device, Open File Explorer
  • Click on the See more (three-dotted) menu and select the Options.
Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 2
Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 2

In the View tab, Under the Advanced settings section, in the Hidden files and folders group. Select Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and click on Apply, then OK.

Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 3
Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 3

When you show hidden files and folders, Windows will continue to hide protected operating system files. 

  • To show protected active system files, In the View tab.
  • Select Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and uncheck the Hide protected operating system files box.
  • Click on ApplyOK.
  • A Confirmation prompt might appear; Click OK to confirm the changes.

Important – It’s not recommended to show protected operating system files to users. Once you complete the above steps, hidden files, folders, and drivers will be visible.

Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 4
Enable or Disable to View Windows 11 Hidden Files 4

Turn On or Off Use Check Boxes to Select Items in Layout and View Options

Let’s follow the steps below to turn on or off the Checkboxes option in files, folders –

  • In Windows 11 device, Open File Explorer

Press the Windows + E keyboard shortcut to open File Explorer.

  • Click the Layout and view options menu and Select the Show submenu and Check (Default) or Uncheck the Item Checkboxes option.
Windows 11 – Folder Options > View Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11
Turn On or Off File Explorer CheckBoxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11 1

Turn On or Off Use Check Boxes to Select Items in File Explorer Options

Checkboxes in Windows 11 File Explorer are used for selecting multiple items, and the user can choose depending on their requirements. The following steps should be followed to turn On or Turn Off the use of CheckBoxes.

The checkboxes in Windows 11 file explorer help to Select Items from Windows 11 devices and take a group action.

  • In Windows 11 device, Open File Explorer
  • Click on the See more (three-dotted) menu and select the Options.
Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11
Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11 2

You can open this setting from Navigate to Windows 11 –> Start -> File Explorer -> Options.

  • In the View tab, Under the Advanced settings section. Check (Default) or Uncheck.
  • Use checkboxes to select items, and click on Apply, then OK.
Windows 11 – Folder Options > View Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11
File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11 3

End Users Experience

This is the default setting when the option Use checkboxes to select items turned On; You will be experienced that in Windows File Explorer, there is a checkbox to the left of the file or folder names.

Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11
Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11 1

When you Use checkboxes to select items turned Off, you will get no option to select the file or folders in File Explorer.

Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11
Turn On or Off File Explorer Check Boxes to Select Files Folders in Windows 11 2

Resources

Author

Anoop is Microsoft MVP! He is a Device Management Admin with more than 20 years of experience (calculation done in 2021) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker, and Local User Group HTMD Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012, Current Branch, and Intune. He writes about ConfigMgr, Windows 11, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, Windows 365, AVD, etc.

1 thought on “Windows 11 New File Explorer Experience New Features Design Details”

  1. “and these basic functionalities are not changed when you compare with Windows 10”
    What about the folder miniatures that no longer show part of the content of that folder, or the folder.jpg?
    That for Windows is as basic as it gets and now it is gone.
    Progress in reverse

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.