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How to Use File Explorer Tabs on Windows 11

by Pankil Shah
How to Use File Explorer Tabs on Windows 11

Microsoft introduced a slew of changes and new features to its desktop operating system with Windows 11. However, it appears that the best ones are yet to come. Microsoft has begun testing the File Explorer tabs features in its Windows 11 preview builds. In this post, we’ll show you how to enable and use File Explorer tabs on Windows 11 to your advantage. So, let’s get started.

How to Enable File Explorer Tabs on Windows 11

Currently, the option to enable File Explorer tabs is only available in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25136 or higher. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you are enrolled in the Windows 11 Insider program and running the most recent build.

After that, you can enable File Explorer tabs by following the steps below.

1. Open the GitHub website to download the ViVeTool zip file on your PC. 

Download ViVeTool on Windows 11

2. Right-click on the downloaded zip file and select the Extract All option. 

Extract ViVeTool Zip File on Windows 11

3. Right-click on the extracted folder and select Copy as path.

Copy ViVeTool File Path on Windows 11

4. Right-click on the Start icon and select Terminal (Admin) from the list.

Open Terminal on Windows 11

5. In the console, run the following command:

cd <folderpath>

Replace <folderpath> in the above command with the file path copied in step 4. 

6. Run the following command to enable File Explorer tabs:

vivetool /enable /id:37634385
Enable File Explorer Tab on Windows 11

Restart your PC after this and File Explorer should have a new interface with tabs. 

How to Use Tabs in File Explorer on Windows 11

Now that you’ve enabled File Explorer tabs, here’s how you can use them to boost your productivity.

Create New File Explorer Tabs

Tabs in File Explorer work similarly to tabs in popular web browsers. You can click the + (plus icon) at the top to add a new tab. Alternatively, you can use Ctrl + T keyboard shortcut to quickly add a new tab in File Explorer.

Add New File Explorer Tab on Windows 11

You can also right-click on a folder or drive and select the Open in new tab option to open it in a new tab. 

Open Folder in New File Explorer Tab on Windows 11

Switch Between File Explorer Tabs

You can switch between File Explorer tabs with your mouse, just as you would on a browser. Similarly, you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate to the next or previous tab.

Ctrl + Tab will take you to the File Explorer tab on your right, and Ctrl + Shift + Tab will take you to the tab on your left.

With the Ctrl + <Number> keyboard shortcut, you can jump to a specific File Explorer tab. Replace <Number> with any number between 1 to 9.

Note that Windows considers the left-most tab as Tab 1. So, for instance, if I wanted to switch to the Downloads tab (see the image below), I would press Ctrl + 3 on my keyboard. 

Switch File Explorer Tabs on Windows 11

Re-Arrange File Explorer Tabs

If you’re using too many File Explorer tabs, you’ll notice a left and right arrow on either side of the File Explorer tab list. You can scroll the tab list forward or backward by clicking the arrows.

Scroll File Explorer Tabs on Windows 11

Additionally, you can re-arrange file explorer tabs to your liking by simply dragging a tab along the top of the File Explorer window.

Close File Explorer Tabs

To close tabs in File Explorer, you have several options. You can close a specific tab by clicking the X icon next to it. If it’s the current tab that you want to close, you can also use the Ctrl + W keyboard shortcut. 

Close File Explorer Tab in Windows 11

You can also close several File Explorer tabs at the same time. To do so, right-click on the tab you want to keep and choose Close other tabs.

Close Other File Explorer Tabs on Windows 11

You can select Close tabs to the right to close all tabs to the right of your current tab. 

Drag and Drop Files between File Explorer Tabs

File Explorer’s tab interface makes it simple to move files between folders open in two tabs. To do so, click and drag the file to the top of the destination tab.

Transfer File to Another File Explorer Tab on Windows 11

Once the destination tab opens, you can simply drop your file in that folder. 

Move File to Another File Explorer Tab on Windows 11

You would have noticed that keyboard shortcuts and several features mimic your average web browser and that’s a good thing. Makes it easy to get used to it.

It’s a Work In Progress

File Explorer tabs are certainly a welcome addition to Windows 11. However, it is still a work in progress, and many features appear to be missing at this time. You cannot, for example, drag a File Explorer tab and create a new window from it. Neither can you pin your important tabs or duplicate them.

Nonetheless, we can expect these features to appear at some point in the future. Until then, you can use the above-mentioned tips to enjoy File Explorer tabs on Windows 11.

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