It’s been about four years since Microsoft tested and then abandoned an attempt to add tabbed browsing to the File Explorer in Windows 10, and now there’s a new Windows 11 preview build released today give it another chance† EarTrumpet developer Rafael Rivera discovered hints of the test in March before Microsoft confirmed that the feature, as well as the new File Explorer home screen you can see above, is coming to Windows 11.
A post on the Windows Insider blog explains that Build 25136 tests a file explorer browser with tabs, so you can jump back and forth through folders without opening a new window. But even if you’re a Windows Insider and your PC is set up to Developer channel builds (for folks willing to get the most active updates, even if there’s a chance they’re unstable), you might not see the test right away. As Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc emphasized in a tweet, the features are being rolled out. Apparently they are waiting for feedback before enabling it for more testers.
It also includes an experimental left navigation panel that lists the Home button first, followed by your OneDrive cloud synced folders, then folders you’ve pinned for quick access, with This PC and network drives below. In the test, Microsoft says, “Well-known Windows folders that are available by default in the navigation pane are no longer displayed under This PC to keep that view focused on your PC’s disks.”
The other big feature it is rolling out in this build is bringing more dynamic content to widgets in the Windows 11 taskbar. Microsoft only recently restored the Weather widget to the taskbar in Windows 11 with live updates, but now it’s automatically testing refreshed content for sports and financial widgets, as well as breaking news alerts.
earlier in the day, the team called testing an updated Notepad app with native support for ARM64 devices and support for assistive technology such as screen readers, text scaling, and access keys. A Media Player update is available for all Insiders to test, has added support for CD playback (some people will appreciate that more than others), and a new filter option that allows users to sort their collections by Date added, or, like me call it, The Good Way.