Windows 11 File Explorer in 2023: more Microsoft 365, touch and previews
Microsoft released the first significant File Explorer with the first Moments update for Windows 11. It introduced support for tabs, which allows users to open multiple locations in a single File Explorer instance.
A report by Windows Central suggests that Microsoft is working on additional changes to the default file manager of its Windows 11 operating system. The site claims that it obtained several internal File Explorer mockups that show an updated version of the app.
One mockup posted by the site shows a redesigned Home screen of File Explorer. It features thumbnail previews of recommended files in Home, swapped toolbars that place the navigation and search features in the main toolbar and controls like copy and paste in the main pane, and light adjustments to highlights and buttons.
Integration of OneDrive and Microsoft 365 content appears to be one focus of development. Apart from the option to display cloud hosted files under the recommended section in File Explorer's home, it is the details pane that is providing additional integration.
Windows Central notes that Microsoft 365 users may access email threads and comments about files in File Explorer's details pane and when sharing files. It is a collaborative feature that pulls the information from the cloud to display it in File Explorer directly.
The leaked Gallery feature is also integrated in the File Explorer update. It is a special location in File Explorer that improves the handling of images. One of Gallery's main features appears to be a preview option. Hovering the mouse over an image in Gallery displays a larger version of it on the screen.
Touch accessibility is another area that Microsoft wants to improve, according to the report. Tagging support may also be integrated at one point, but everything is still in development.
The new File Explorer could be released before the end of 2023, according to Windows Central. It could launch as part of a Moments update, of which Microsoft plans several in 2023.
Development is ongoing, and some features may change or be removed entirely before the final release. It is certain, however, that Microsoft will continue to push its cloud services into the Windows 11 operating system. It may be convenient for users who use these actively, but for Microsoft, it is also a source of revenue.
Windows 11 may already warn users if their cloud storage quota is low, and deeper integration of cloud content pushes the company's cloud offerings even more.
Public previews of the updated File Explorer experience will likely become available later in 2023.
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