Windows 11: Microsoft improves File Explorer sidebar significantly

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 10, 2022
Windows 11 News
|
17

Windows 11 version 22H2 includes a new Explorer sidebar design and layout, that gives users more control over the links that are displayed in the File Explorer sidebar.

windows 11 file explorer sidebar

Microsoft released a new Windows 11 Insider build this week with several File Explorer improvements. Ashwin highlighted the tabbed File Explorer interface already, which many users have been waiting for.

Another File Explorer area that has been improved in the build is the file manager's sidebar. The sidebar lists links to various locations, including all connected and mapped partitions, optical drives, quick access links, OneDrive, network shares, and user folders.

ADVERTISEMENT

The first thing that you may notice is that Microsoft added separators to better distinguish sidebar groups from one another. There is also a new Start section at the very top with a link to Microsoft's OneDrive file hosting and syncing service underneath it. OneDrive is displayed by default, even for local accounts and users who are not signed into the OneDrive app.

Uninstallation of the OneDrive app on the system removes the OneDrive entry in the File Explorer sidebar.  The user folders are listed below Start in Quick Access, and when you expand This PC, you will notice that user folders are no longer listed in this group. This PC lists all mapped local drives, with optical drives displayed separately from hard drives.

Group titles, such as Quick Access, are no longer displayed. It is unclear if these will be added in later releases or are gone for good.

hide folders file explorer

All user folders can be removed from the sidebar with a right-click on the item and the selection of "unpin from quick access".

The ability to display libraries is still present. Right-click on a blank location of the sidebar and select "show libraries" to add them. There you find options to hide This PC and Network, and to expand all folders in the sidebar or only the current folder.

Windows 11 adds a new Desktop root entry to the sidebar when you select "show all folders" in the right-click preferences. All sidebar folders and links can be collapsed and displayed with a click on the arrow icon of the desktop root entry.

Our colleagues over at the German tech site Deskmodder found out that the change will be included in Windows 11 version 22H2, which Microsoft plans to release later this year. There is still a slim chance that the change won't be included, but it seems unlikely at this point.

Closing Words

Microsoft modified the File Explorer sidebar significantly in the latest Windows 11 Insider build. The company removed the user folders from This PC and added group separators. Some users may miss group titles, as these are not displayed for all groups anymore.

Now You: do you use the File Explorer sidebar? What is your take on the changes?

Summary
Windows 11: Microsoft improves File Explorer sidebar significantly
Article Name
Windows 11: Microsoft improves File Explorer sidebar significantly
Description
Windows 11 version 22H2 includes a new Explorer sidebar design and layout, that gives users more control over the links that are displayed in the File Explorer sidebar.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «

Comments

  1. Lof Aoutlawed said on June 10, 2022 at 7:41 pm
    Reply

    CD-Drive not in “This PC”… so… where is it?!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 11, 2022 at 6:14 am
      Reply

      It is listed below the This PC group.

  2. John G. said on June 10, 2022 at 9:42 pm
    Reply

    Nice improvements, I hope they will arrive soon. Thanks for the article! :]

  3. Anonymous said on June 10, 2022 at 10:52 pm
    Reply

    Thats ugly. Hopefully it can be turned off.

  4. Tachy said on June 11, 2022 at 7:38 am
    Reply

    As I look at your screenshot on one monitor and an open windows 10 file explorer window on the other one though comes to mind.

    What waste of space, in the screenshot that is.

    My screen has 3 times as many locations displayed in only 2/3rds of the space of the folder pane on the left.

    Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows 8, and now Windows 11. Why do they continue this cycle?

    1. David said on June 11, 2022 at 5:10 pm
      Reply

      Windows 2000 was an excellent operating system, maybe you mean Windows Me.

    2. Bob said on June 12, 2022 at 10:04 pm
      Reply

      Nothing wrong with Win 8.1 either.

      There is no cycle of good vs bad OSes.

    3. Ian said on June 17, 2022 at 4:52 pm
      Reply

      I never had a problem with Windows Vista. It was a revolutionary release.

      There is no cycle of good and bad versions of Windows.

  5. Anonymous said on June 11, 2022 at 10:18 am
    Reply

    good god that’s revolting. please tell me this can be reverted in some way

    1. Bill Gates said on June 12, 2022 at 2:14 am
      Reply

      You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  6. Croatoan said on June 11, 2022 at 10:29 am
    Reply

    I use QTtabBar for many years. It’s miles better than Microsoft attempt at tab bar.

  7. Teiji said on June 11, 2022 at 4:47 pm
    Reply

    I like this improvement, along with the file explorer tab, and taskbar improvements in your other articles. Look like Windows 11 version 22H2 is when I’ll be upgrading my Windows 10 to 11.

  8. hg said on June 11, 2022 at 6:56 pm
    Reply

    I have 22H2 installed but don’t have these changes, so presumably beta only!? I too use QTtabBar.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 12, 2022 at 6:25 am
      Reply

      Deskmodder suggests that you can use Vivetool to enable it, did not test.

      1. hg said on June 12, 2022 at 8:35 am
        Reply

        I’ve had a try but no idea what to try to change.

        My build 22621 is not listed so I looked 22161.

  9. matthiew said on June 13, 2022 at 4:39 am
    Reply

    More clutter. Why do they keep duplicating content in the sidebar!? How many locations do you need to access Desktop/Documents/Downloads/etc?

  10. [email protected] said on June 13, 2022 at 4:45 am
    Reply

    Even if the sidebar is improved, that doesn’t really weigh up to the breakage Microsoft has caused to the rest of the program.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.