Microsoft has been working on a major redesign of File Explorer for Windows 11, and it has finally teased the new look during its Build 2023 developers conference. The new File Explorer is expected to offer a more modern and touch-friendly interface that matches the rest of the Windows 11 design language.
File Explorer is one of the most essential and frequently used apps on Windows, and it has not changed much in terms of appearance and functionality since Windows 8. However, with Windows 11, Microsoft is giving File Explorer a fresh coat of paint and some new features. To highlight the changes, Microsoft's Windows chief, Panos Panay, posted on Twitter to show a video of the new Windows Copilot.
One of the most noticeable changes is the removal of the ribbon-style menu that was introduced in Windows 8. Instead, File Explorer now features a simplified command bar that has icons for common actions such as Cut, Copy, Paste, Rename, Share, and Delete. The command bar also includes a “New” menu that allows users to create new folders, shortcuts, or documents.
The command bar is located under the address bar, which has also been redesigned with rounded corners and a new search bar. The address bar and the search bar can be resized independently, and users can also pin their favorite folders to the address bar for quick access.
Today, we announce new AI experiences and tools for #Windows11 to empower developers. Pumped to introduce you to Windows Copilot and Dev Home. #MSBuild https://t.co/MkqiKKtuFg pic.twitter.com/pf1H3o1tyW
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) May 23, 2023
Another change is the introduction of three new drop-down menus that provide more options for sorting, grouping, viewing, and managing files and folders. The Sort menu lets users sort content by name, date modified, type, and more. The View menu lets users choose different sizes and layouts for displaying items, such as extra-large, large, small, list, details, and more. The See more menu lets users access other features such as Properties, Options, Help, and Feedback.
File Explorer also introduces new icons that are more colorful and consistent with the Windows 11 design language. The icons are available across the app, but they are especially noticeable in the navigation pane on the left side, which shows different locations such as Quick access, OneDrive, This PC, Network, and Recycle Bin.
When will File Explorer on Windows 11 be available?
Microsoft has not announced a specific release date for the new File Explorer on Windows 11, but it is likely that it will get general availability of Windows 11 later this year. The new File Explorer is currently being tested by Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel, and it may receive further updates and improvements before it reaches the public.
The new File Explorer is designed to work well with both mouse and touch controls, and it should offer a more streamlined and intuitive experience for managing files and folders on Windows 11. However, some users may prefer the old File Explorer or miss some features that are no longer available in the new version. Fortunately, Microsoft has confirmed that users will be able to switch back to the legacy File Explorer if they want to.
It is worth noting that Microsoft did not discuss the Gallery View that it is currently developing for the File Explorer. The Windows 11 File Explorer Gallery feature was first spotted in February, and it will also allow users to upload images directly from their phone.
Native RAR, 7-ZIP, TAR, GZ File Compression Support
Also at Build 2023, Microsoft announced that Windows 11 is getting native RAR, 7-ZIP, TAR, GZ File compression support. Windows will now support better file compression thanks to the use of the libarchive open-source project, which will make archive operations faster and more efficient on Windows.
The libarchive project is a library that can handle different types of archives and compressions. It can automatically detect the format of an archive, such as tar.gz, and it can process large files without any limits. The library works on many systems that are similar to POSIX, such as FreeBSD, Linux, and Solaris, as well as Windows, with Cygwin, MinGW, and Visual Studio. By using libarchive in Windows, there will be no need to install the library separately.
Libarchive is very flexible and allows adding new archive formats and compression methods easily. The programs that use libarchive can choose which formats they want to support, so not every program will support every format. However, the bsdtar and bsdcpio programs that come with libarchive do support all the formats that libarchive can handle.