Formerly known as Windows Explorer, the current File Explorer in Windows 11 is more like a hybrid of old and new features, not very consistent on the interface side, and with performance that leaves something to be desired in some situations.
File Explorer is one of the absolutely essential Windows features, with any change in its appearance or functionality affecting millions of PC users. After several years of avoiding upgrading this component, Microsoft has included a major File Explorer update with the latest Windows 11 release, with the Windows file manager now offering tabbed support just like any modern web browser. However, despite appearances, the improvements that have targeted interface and functionality issues have been rather superficial, with Microsoft not intervening much in the guts of File Explorer, which was left with quite a lot of “legacy” code from the old Windows Explorer in Windows 7.
According to clue information extracted from the latest Windows 11 Preview distributed on the Insiders channel, references to a revamped Home page and improvements reserved for the side panel appeared in the File Explorer code. The new Explorer would also change the legacy Windows Explorer core, with a completely modernized design using XAML and WinUI technologies. In other words, common tasks such as uploading and sorting file collections should work with much improved performance.
WIP File Explorer homepage UI reconstruction by Microsoft. It includes the upcoming “Recommended” Items.
– FireCube (@FireCubeStudios) January 9, 2023
On the surface, the File Explorer interface will be even more closely aligned with the Windows 11 design, completing the series of upgrades that began with the retirement of the old Control Panel inherited from the Windows NT generation. At the same time, optimisations for Touch screens are added at the interface design stage rather than as adaptations to an existing design, ensuring a much better experience for both categories of users.
Apparently, the new File Explorer will also have several new sections, such as Activities, Conversations, Shared Status, and Insights. Most likely, their role is to provide integration with the Microsoft 365 suite and other services in the Microsoft portfolio.
All the upgrades prepared on the visual side are to be merged into the next major overhaul of Windows 11, expected later this year.