Microsoft is currently rolling out new File Explorer features via Insider Preview Build 23403 on Windows 11 with a big focus on streamlining work.
One of the more interesting features of this package is File Recommendations (opens in new tab). As the name suggests, the File Explorer will begin suggesting which files you should open on the home tab. It appears Microsoft created this tool for business-centric users, at least initially. The tool will only recommend cloud files associated with a particular account, “either owned by the user, or shared with the user.” You also have to be signed in to your Azure Active Directory account otherwise it doesn't work. Additionally, the company is limiting the number of people who will get to try out File Recommendations at this time. Microsoft states it wants to keep a close eye on feedback “before pushing it out to everyone.”
Less restricted are the new Access Keys for File Explorer. They’re simple, single keystroke shortcuts for “quickly [executing] a command.” For example, hitting the “O” key opens a file whereas pressing the “B” key sets it as a desktop background. To use this feature, you’ll have to first click on a file in File Explorer and then press the Menu key on your keyboard to make Access Keys pop up. If you don’t have a Menu key, hitting Shift and F10 at once does the same thing.
Moving past File Explorer, the rest of the features affect other native Windows 11 apps, namely the language side of things. For starters, Live Captions will be available in more languages including Japanese, and French, as well as other English dialects like Australian English. Speaking of which, the Voice Access app will now support those different dialects. Upon activating the app, “you will be prompted to download a speech model” for a specific dialect. Microsoft also redesigned Voice Access to make it more streamlined and easier to use. Each command will now have a description explaining what it does next to an example of how it can be used.
For the rest of the build, it’s all a collection of small tweaks; nothing really major. Changes include a VPN icon now appearing in the System Tray if you have one active, a new copy button for “quickly copying [2FA] codes in notification[s]”, and some bug fixes. If this piques your interest, you can try out Preview Build 23403 by joining the Dev Channel of the Windows 11 Insider Program (opens in new tab).
It's worth mentioning that Microsoft has been working on overhauling File Explorer for some time now. It's unknown exactly what it'll have, but we’ve got a few hints like File Explorer being redesigned to make it more user-friendly. However, it’ll probably still be a while until we see the final product. If you don’t feel like waiting til then, be sure to check out our list of the best file managers for Windows.