Microsoft has decided to roll back its decision to remove several legacy features from the File Explorer in Windows 11. The tech giant had initially planned to eliminate these features as part of its ongoing efforts to modernize the interface and improve performance. However, the move sparked widespread criticism from users who found these features crucial to their productivity.
Legacy Features are Staying in File Explorer
The features that were slated for removal in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23481 included the ‘Hide Folder Merge conflict', ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails', ‘Display file icon on thumbnails', ‘Display file type information on Folder tips', ‘Hide protected OS files', ‘Show drive letters', ‘Show popup description for Folder and Desktop items', ‘Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color', and ‘Use sharing wizard'. These settings, although considered “legacy”, were seen as essential by many users. For instance, the option to ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails' was beneficial for users of large image files, allowing quicker navigation by reducing load times.
The proposed changes were met with criticism from the Windows 11 community, with many users pointing out the potential confusion and inefficiency of forcing users to access these settings through registry keys. Critics argued that the changes demonstrated a lack of understanding about how people use the operating system.
In response to the feedback, Microsoft officials confirmed that they are withdrawing these changes in Windows 11 Dev Channel Insider Preview Build 23486, which won't be implemented in the next update. In a statement, Microsoft said, “We're taking the File Explorer changes to the drawing back,” and the company will explore other ways to streamline the File Explorer interface without sacrificing functionality. One possibility might be to make some features optional or conceal them under an ‘Advanced options' menu, allowing users to customize their File Explorer experience according to their needs.
What´s New in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23486
Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23486 introduces several new features and improvements in the Dev Channel.
Passwordless Improvements: Microsoft is enhancing the passkey experience for Windows users. Users can now create and sign in using passkeys with the Windows Hello native experience on any app or website that supports passkeys. Once a passkey is created, users can use Windows Hello (face, fingerprint, PIN) to sign in. Users can also manage the passkeys saved to their Windows device, including viewing and deleting passkeys from Windows settings.
File Explorer: Microsoft has rolled back the changes made in Build 23481 that removed a handful of old settings from the Folder Options in File Explorer, following feedback from the Windows Insiders.
Dev Home: Starting with this build, Dev Home is now an inbox app and will be found via Start > All apps > Windows Tools in a future flight.
Dynamic Lighting: New Effects are now available for Dynamic Lighting via Settings > Personalization > Dynamic Lighting. These include Wave, Wheel, and Gradient.
Emoji: Unicode Emoji 15, which began rolling out with Build 23475, is now available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel.
Settings: Improvements have been made to the user experience when changing time zones, including cases of low confidence in location data. If location settings are disabled, a warning is now shown to the user, urging them to enable location settings to ensure accurate time zone adjustments.
In addition to these new features, Build 23486 includes several fixes for issues related to Dynamic Lighting, Input, Network, and Task Manager. Microsoft is working on resolving some known issues with Dev Drive, Search on the Taskbar, File Explorer, Notifications, Dynamic Lighting, and Windows Ink.