One of the few changes that Microsoft made to the desktop part of the Windows 8 operating system was a redesigned Windows Explorer interface.
Microsoft renamed the default file browser to File Explorer, but that was not the only change that shipped with Windows 8.
The new interface uses a ribbon design by default in the header similar to the design that Microsoft's Office suite uses.
It is possible to hide the ribbon so that only tab names are displayed which reduces the header area. It does mean however that you cannot access some of the features until you display those options again in the ribbon.
Some ribbon tabs are added dynamically depending on the selected file types in the file explorer. If you select an image for example, you get access to the manage ribbon which allows you to set it as the background image, rotate it, or view it in a slideshow. Video files on the other hand display play options instead.
One of the features that the new file explorer lacks is a proper status bar, at least when you compare it to the one that Windows 7's Windows Explorer offers. The new explorer display only the number of items that you have selected, their size, and the total number of items in the folder.
The old explorer displayed additional information here, including date creation and modification information.
Out with the new, in with the old
If you do not like the new Windows Explorer layout, then there is something that you can do about that.
A program like OldNewExplorer for example can change the interface of Windows 8's File Explorer so that it resembles the interface of Windows 7's Windows Explorer.
This means first and foremost away with the ribbon. But, there are other features that it supports that you may like.
Installation is quite simple. Just run the program after you have unpacked it on your system. All you have to do is click on the install button so that the program can make the modifications on the system.
You can revert those changes at anytime with a click on the uninstall button. Both operations display an UAC prompt that you need to allow.
I'd recommend you create a system restore point before you run the program, but that is entirely up to you. To do so, type create a restore point while you are on the Start Screen part of the operating system and select the option from the search results.
Here you need to click on the create button to create a new restore point which you can later restore should something go wrong.
Another option that should restore the changes is to run the command sfc /scannow on the command line.
- Use classical drive grouping.
- Use libraries; hide folders.
- Use command bar instead of Ribbon.
- Hide caption text in File Explorer.
- Hide caption icon in File Explorer.
- Hide Up (go to parent folder) button.
- Enable glass on navigation bar.
- Show details pane on the bottom.
- Pick an appearance and status bar style.
- Show status bar.
You can make modifications here, and changes take effect immediately. You do not need to restart your PC for that, but do need to close all open File Explorer windows.
If you want Windows Explorer instead of File Explorer on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, then you should give OldNewExplorer a try, as it delivers exactly that. The program is portable and highly customizable.