File Explorer tabs in Windows 11 sound great, but where are they?

File Explorer tabs in Windows 11
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Microsoft held an event at the start of April, announcing a bunch of new features coming to Windows 11, including the ability to have tabs in File Explorer, but users are still waiting to give this new feature a try.

The company heralded the feature as one of the biggest updates to File Explorer in years, alongside a new 'home' view so you could see your recently used files and integration with OneDrive.

But while I've been able to use the feature with a third-party tool, it's still not appearing in both the Insider updates or as official releases of Windows 11. What's going on?

A feature lying in wait

I have a gaming PC with more hard drives and pinned folders than the usual user, mainly due to the number of games that I have installed on it. When I'm trying to copy files and folders between these hard drives, I usually need to have multiple File Explorer windows open at once.

It's also annoying, as my 32-inch monitor is instead showing multiple windows of folders, and there's moments where I need to open even more File Explorer windows.

This is why the tabbed feature has been so useful to me, thanks to the unofficial tool. Everything is managed in one window, just like a web browser, and I can use the unused space in my display for a YouTube video instead. But it's yet to officially arrive for everyone, and my other device running Windows 11 is still shacked to a File Explorer without tabs.

Microsoft's event made a big deal of the feature, and many users, myself included, are wondering where it is.

We've reached out to the company for clarification, but announcing a new feature with no release date is strange, even for Microsoft.

If you've not signed up to be a Windows Insider to help test early versions of Windows 11, you may have to wait until later this year for the upcoming 'Sun Valley 2' update instead. But even seeing the feature arrive in that update is full of uncertainty, as we're already seeing features announced and released every month that was expected to arrive in 'Sun Valley 2', such as the dark mode theme in Notepad.

We may be in the middle of a transition from the company in how updates are being announced and released, but with no official word as to when tabs in File Explorer are coming, many of us are in the dark.

While an unofficial tool has enabled it for me, it's something that other users won't want to try, so to have confirmation of when it'll be arriving at the very least, would be nice to see from Microsoft for the time being.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.