Better Explorer, Brings Tabs To Windows Explorer

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 22, 2010
Updated • May 6, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

It came as a surprise to many that Microsoft did not improve Windows Explorer as much as other elements in the Windows 7 operating system. Windows Explorer basically had the same look and feel like in Windows Vista, with some marginal changes. With tabbed browsing becoming such a huge thing one would have thought that Microsoft would add tabs to the Windows default file browser as well.

Better Explorer is not the first program that brings tabs to Windows Explorer. We reviewed for instance back in 2007. Better Explorer, unlike QT Tabbar however, does not add tabs to Windows Explorer. The program instead offers its own interface, which resembles Windows Explorer plus tabs.

The lower half of the screen looks exactly like Windows Explorer. The header looks slightly different, first because of the background color and the tabs that are displayed. The solid background color is only displayed to users with Aero disabled, Aero users will experience full Aero support.

windows explorer tabs
windows explorer tabs

New tabs are opened by selecting a folder first, and clicking on the + icon afterwards. This opens the folder in a new tab in the same interface. The - icon removes a tab from the tabbar.

The project is in alpha stage currently, and the developer has already announced plans to improve the functionality of the Windows Explorer replacement.

As of now, limitations are reducing the functionality of the program. Folders in Windows are for instance still opening in Windows Explorer if they are opened outside of Better Explorer. The same is true if Windows are opened in a new window in Better Explorer.

This alone reduces the functionality of the program. This coincides with the fact that Better Explorer offers no option to replace Windows Explorer, so that folders are by default opened in the program instead.

The developer concentrates on bringing Windows 7 functionality to the program. The project roadmap lists libraries and jumplists for instance. Better Explorer, despite that, seems to be compatible with previous Windows operating systems as well.

Users who want to try Better Explorer find downloads and additional information at the developer website.


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  1. vavud said on August 23, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Sorry, I meant to say I am using WIndows 7 Pro

  2. vavud said on August 23, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I installed it and then uninstalled it because CTRL W no longer worked I use this Windows function a lot.
    Also show desktop stopped working and then started again after I uninstalled it.

  3. nlvivar said on August 22, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I am not using MS Windows 7 yet, but am preparing to make the switch.

    Has anyone used BExplorer and Explorer++? Can anyone comment on the pluses and minuses when comparing the two of them? I use Explorer++ on MS Windows XP x64 right now, and I am pretty happy with it.

    On a side note, my favorite file explorer right now is Gnome Nautilus on my Ubuntu machines at home.


  4. shadess said on August 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    …and seems someone “revived” the QT TabBar project at . Not from the original people but I’ll take what I can get :)

    1. Martin said on August 22, 2010 at 11:11 pm

      I will keep an eye on that, thanks shadess

  5. shadess said on August 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Absolutely loved QT TabBar back on XP, sadly it doesn’t work on win7. This doesn’t sound nearly as good but I’m going to give it a try. It NEEDS to replace windows explorer.

    1. bf said on August 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Do not even try QT TabBar on Windows7. You will get tired to click on popup error messages.

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