Windows 11 File Explorer in 2023: more Microsoft 365, touch and previews

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 25, 2023
Windows 11 News

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.

windows file explorer tabs
Current File Explorer interface

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.

Closing words

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.

Now You: what would you like to see in File Explorer?

Windows 11 File Explorer in 2023: more Microsoft 365, touch and previews
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Windows 11 File Explorer in 2023: more Microsoft 365, touch and previews
Microsoft is working on a File Explorer app update for Windows 11 that adds more Microsoft 365 content and improves touch.
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  1. Rorygates said on January 26, 2023 at 12:50 am

    Windows keeps deteriorating. I’m tired of having to fight to acquire a good operating system. Microsoft does not listen. I think this is the year I get rid of everything Microsoft.

  2. basingstoke said on January 25, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    Just checking in to confirm that it’s all still going downhill since Windows 7… and yep, can confirm it is.

    Give it a bit of time and Windows will be difficult to distinguish from Mac

  3. Rentbugware said on January 25, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Microsoft continues to clutter the UI and mine our data whenever they could. In addition to all the various MSN and Bing black patterns strewn across the entire OS, they still haven’t provided a way to disable them.

    What happens when Microsoft mediocrity is accepted and encouraged. Everyone should be slamming Microsoft for allowing these useless features to seep into Windows. Antitrust laws should be enforced to prevent Microsoft from pressuring customers to use inferior 365 online services.

    In this wave of layoffs, let’s hope the team in charge of these features and decisions in Windows 11 have already been terminated.

  4. chesscanoe said on January 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    As long as I have Everything from , I rarely need more function.

    1. Paull(us) said on January 25, 2023 at 2:47 pm

      I am very curious about what will be new in version 1.5.

      1. Anon said on January 25, 2023 at 4:20 pm

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