File Explorer is an app whose name is somewhat descriptive, but at the same time it only gives you an idea of what it can be used for.
Stalwarts from Windows may remember the days when the app was officially called Windows Explorer, but since Windows 10 it’s become File Explorer – even though everyone refers to it as just Explorer.
Windows 11 has been further improved in the application, recently introduced tabs, which saves you from having many windows open at once.
At its simplest, the app gives you a way to navigate the contents of your hard drive, and access and manage files and folders on the go. But there’s more to it than that, and there’s plenty of room for customization. In this guide, we’ll reveal everything you need to know.
1. Run File Explorer
There are different ways to launch File Explorer, starting with clicking the shortcut in the taskbar – it’s the yellow folder icon. However, you can also find a shortcut in the Start menu, or you have the option to use a file windows + H keyboard shortcut.
There are several components of the application window that should be noted – the main toolbar is located at the top, and below it are the navigation buttons, the address bar and the ribbon box. In many ways, File Explorer is similar to a web browser. To the left is the Navigation Pane, and the large main section to the right shows the contents of the currently selected folder or location.
There are many ways to get around File Explorer when you want to navigate your files and folders. If you click the This PC icon in the navigation pane, the right pane will display different system folders in addition to the drives you’ve connected to your computer.
If you hover your cursor over This PC, a small arrow will appear, and if you click this, the This PC content will expand in the navigation pane. Alternatively, you can just double-click This PC for the same effect.
3. Expand folders
The left and right panes are used in slightly different ways, but both enable you to browse through your files.
Once you click This PC to view its contents, you can do the same for the C: drive, or you can double-click it or hover over and click the arrow to expand it in the navigation pane.
With drive C: selected, you’ll see the contents in the left pane—there will be folders like Windows, Users, and Program Files—and you can scroll down to see the subfolders.
4. Customizing opinions
While browsing, you can use the back and forward arrows in the navigation bar just as you would in a web browser to skip back and forth, while the Up button allows you to navigate to the parent folder of the current folder.
There are many ways to customize how files and folders are displayed, starting with using an extension Type button. You can specify the criteria that should be used to sort files and folders—such as name, size, creation date, etc.—and decide whether to use ascending or descending sort.
You can also use a file a group of submenu to further customize things.
5. Change display options
More options are available through Opinion A menu where you can choose icons of different sizes, and decide if you want to see information like file size next to individual items.
View menu also allows you to switch built display on and off. You may want to experiment to see what works best for you. The Displays The submenu allows you to show or hide various optional components such as Easy to use Preview pane or both useful detail pane.
It is also worth noting the two little buttons on the far right of the file explorer status bar that enable you to quickly switch between the details And big icon opinions.
6. Use different actions in Explorer
Among the most common things you want to do with files and folders is simply open them – something you can do with a quick double click.
But there are plenty of other actions you can do, just like dragging and dropping a file into a folder to move it, or making use of the options available in the toolbar and right-click menu.
In the toolbar, a file . appears new The button gives you a way to quickly create a number of different document types, while the other buttons, in order, Cut, copy, paste, rename, share And delete.
If you right-click on a file or folder, you’ll see a context menu with the same toolbar options in a row above the other options.
What you see in the rest of the context menu depends on whether you right-clicked a file or a folder. In the case of files, you will see a file Opens The option that lets you open the document in the default associated application.
You can also use a file open with submenu to choose an alternative app. options like propertiesAnd Compress a zip file And copy as path They appear in both context menus.
8. Right-click on a folder
There are a few options for right-clicking on a folder. The Open in a new window The option is very useful if you want to have two instances of File Explorer side by side for easy comparison or copying.
Install for quick access It gives you a way to bookmark frequently used folders so that they can be easily accessed from a file Quick access Part of the right navigation pane. Another bookmarking option is Click to start which adds the specified folder to a file Started Menu as a shortcut.
In the case of both files and folders you right-click, you will see Show more options At the bottom, which will display the old context menu from previous versions of Windows.
9. Use the search bar in Explorer
While Windows 11 has a system-wide search function that you can access from a file Started From the menu, File Explorer offers its own search option. You can type a search term into the box at the top right of the application window and press Enter to start the search.
By default, File Explorer will search the current folder as well as subfolders, but you can limit this by clicking File Search Options In the toolbar and choose File current folder.
In this list, you will find many ways to limit the search to files of a certain size or type. The results will be displayed in the main right pane when they are found.
10. Use the advanced options in Explorer
In File Explorer, there are several options that you can access and configure by clicking File … button in the toolbar, then select Options.
In the first option on public tab, you can choose whether File Explorer should start with This PC or Quick Access selected by default. Below, you can choose to open files and folders with a single click instead of a double click, while in the Privacy section you can choose to have the Quick Access section automatically populate with recently used files and folders.
Additional options are available at Opinion And research tabs, and you may find that you have to spend some time deciding which setting best suits your way of working. However, the number of options means that there is a huge amount of customization possible.
11. Use tabs in File Explorer
The latest update, announced at a production event in April 2022, added tabs to File Explorer, similar to those in a web browser.
you can use CTRL + T. To open a new tab, or you can right-click and select Open in New Tab.
This can be very useful if you need to keep a folder open, while you’re going to your cloud storage folder to find something to drop into that folder. Although it’s a feature that should have been around years ago in Windows, we’re glad it’s here now.
Get the most out of File Explorer
File Explorer in Windows 11 has seen a significant redesign in its appearance, but Microsoft isn’t done yet. As mentioned, we’ve recently seen the inclusion of tabs in the April 2022 feature update.
It’s another example of Microsoft’s commitment to improving aspects that were long abandoned in Windows 11, and with the above tips, you’ll be wondering how you managed your files in its previous design.