A more contemporary File Explorer app is in development.
What you should know
- Microsoft is working to modernize additional File Explorer app features.
- There have been sightings of references to a modernized Home page and side pane experience.
- Microsoft appears to be working on a major design update for File Explorer on Windows 11, which will introduce a modernized Home and folder interface to match the already modernized header that was introduced with Windows 11 last year.
In the latest Windows 11 preview builds, early code and references to a modern Home page and side pane experience have been discovered. Currently, File Explorer on Windows 11 is a mishmash of old and new interfaces, with the top portion of the app sporting a modern design and the “main” portion of the app sporting an aging design.
These new modern elements will hopefully complete the File Explorer’s modern XAML and WinUI-based design. FireCubeStudios on Twitter has created rough mockups of the UI based on references and code discovered in the most recent preview builds.
Microsoft is in the process of redesigning the File Explorer homepage UI. It contains the following “Recommended” Items. The lack of functionality of Vive id is evidently because everything is still in a very early stage of development. Note: Image and text are placeholders, except “Danya edited this.” FluentDesign #Windows11 pic.twitter.com/ENvkg8H8Km 9 January 2023
WIP File Explorer homepage UI reconstruction by Microsoft. It includes the upcoming "Recommended" Items.
— FireCube (@FireCubeStudios) January 9, 2023
The screenshots confirm that this work will bring the remainder of the File Explorer interface in line with other modern interfaces in Windows 11, which will go a long way toward making Windows 11 feel more consistent and is a major objective for the Windows 11 wave of releases.
The code references also indicate the addition of new features and areas to File Explorer, such as the “Activities,” “Conversations,” “Shared Status,” and “Insights” panes, which will likely integrate with Microsoft 365 and provide updates to shared Word documents.
This new modern design for File Explorer will also be touch-friendly, with larger hitboxes and a simplified user interface for areas such as the sidebar and header, according to my sources.
It is currently unknown when these updated File Explorer designs will become available for Insiders to test. If early references are already present in Windows 11 Dev builds, this new content should hopefully be released before the end of the year.