Hands on with Windows 11 File Explorer’s command bar, context menu

Windows 11 File Explorer hands on

Microsoft has now started rolling out
Windows 11 Build 22000.51 to testers in the Windows Insider
program with centered Start menu, taskbar, and a new experience
for Action Center/taskbar flyouts. In addition to these big
improvements, Windows 11 also comes with a modern interface for
File Explorer.

The overall File Explorer interface has remained the same since
Windows 7. A ribbon was added with Windows 8, but it has mostly
looked the same. This is going to change with Windows 11.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is not doing away with the classic
or the current File Explorer app. The same Explorer will be
shipping as part of the Windows update this fall, but it
appears to have been updated with a modern Fluent Design-like
UI on top of the existing app, and it looks different than

File Explorer recent files

As you can see in the images above and below, there’s a new
simplified menu called “command bar” and it looks to be based
on WinUI. It has a clean interface and it’s visible at the top
of the explorer window.

Microsoft has removed the Ribbon UI interface that was first
introduced in 2012. The new command bar comes with these
actions: create a new folder/file or shortcut, cut, copy,
paste, rename, share, delete, apply filters, and switch

You can also click on the new eclipse menu that houses more
features like options that let you customize the advanced
features of Explorer.

Microsoft is also working on a new modern right-click or
context menu for File Explorer and desktop.

File Explorer context menu

The context menu is currently limited in terms of
functionality, but users can click on the “show more options”
button to access the legacy context menu, which has been
updated with rounded corners and shadow effect too.

File Explorer legacy context menu

Microsoft is working on documentation for app developers to
integrate their apps in the new context menu. It’s possible
that the old context menu will be retired in future when all
devs start using the new context menu.

Regardless, the new context menu is much cleaner and less
cluttered than what we’ve currently, and it is also optimized
for touchscreen devices.

The overall interface of File Explorer hasn’t changed
dramatically. It looks familiar, but the interface is now
cleaner and acrylic transparency is now visible in certain

Windows update with new File Explorer will begin rolling out to
mainstream users in the fall of this year. If you can’t
wait for Windows 11’s general availability, you can
download and install Windows 11 preview builds today by
joining the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider program.

What are your thoughts on the new File Explorer UI? Let us know
in the comments.

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