Skip to main content

Microsoft teases design overhaul of major Windows 11 app

Microsoft teased a design overhaul that is coming to the Windows 11 File Explorer app in a future update at its Build developer conference this week.

The new File Explorer design is based on WinUI 3 and will modernize the app’s folders, sidebar, address bar, and search bar to be more in tune with the overall Windows 11 style. This will bring to File Explorer a look and feel with more rounded and blurred designs, as well as mouse and touch optimizations, Windows Central noted.

Today, we announce new AI experiences and tools for #Windows11 to empower developers. Pumped to introduce you to Windows Copilot and Dev Home. #MSBuild https://t.co/MkqiKKtuFg pic.twitter.com/pf1H3o1tyW

— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) May 23, 2023

Microsoft initially made small updates to File Explorer in Windows 11 and continually so in 2022, adding such features as tabs. Still, the legacy design of the app remained from years ago. The updated app is featured in a reel alongside functionalities for Microsoft’s Copilot app, in which you can see the notable differences in the File Explorer design, such as the action buttons being located below the address bar.

The brand is also said to be working on a Gallery feature that will get the same update to the WinUI 3 modern design as File Explorer.

Windows Insiders are currently testing other app updates, such as pane view, but not the updated File Explorer design. This is a feature that connects to Microsoft 365 and “shows recent activity on shared files, and even provides contextual information like where the file came from,” such as email or chat, according to Windows Central.

Since the File Explorer design update was inadvertently shown, users might have to wait a little longer for Insider testing and a general rollout.

Still, this update is sure to excite Windows enthusiasts who have long desired a new look for the File Explorer app. Many expected to have to wait until Windows 12 to see a real change. One such Microsoft fan earlier this month showcased his own concept of the upcoming Windows 12 system with a redesigned File Explorer featuring unique functions to match the updated look.

Editors' Recommendations

Fionna Agomuoh
Fionna Agomuoh is a technology journalist with over a decade of experience writing about various consumer electronics topics…
4 high-end features Windows laptops still have over MacBooks
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 9 top down view showing tablet and pen.

Apple's MacBook lineup has exploded over the last several years, with its Silicon chipsets offering class-leading performance and efficiency. The MacBook Pro, in particular, is faster than many Windows laptops, longer-lasting than most, and has an excellent mini-LED display. There are many good reasons to choose a MacBook over a Windows laptop in today's market.

But all isn't lost for the Windows platform. Even aside from the upcoming Snapdragon X Elite laptops that look to be competitive, there are still some more basic features that you can only get on a Windows laptop at the moment. Here are the four that I keep coming back to.
Windows Hello

Read more
If you use a VPN, don’t skip this important Windows 11 update
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 rear view showing lid and logo.

It's not you; Windows is causing the issues this time. If the VPN on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 computer is having a hard time connecting, it is likely because of Microsoft's April security updates for Windows 11 (KB5036893 for) and Windows 10 (KB5036892), which have been reported to be the cause of the problems.

But there's good news. According to Microsoft, a patch is now available to fix the VPN problems users are experiencing.

Read more
A massive Windows 11 AI feature may launch next week despite privacy concerns
Privacy settings in Windows 11.

Windows 11 continues to build a large toolset of AI features, but the one rumored to soon launch may be the biggest change yet -- especially when it comes to your PC's privacy. Windows Latest reports that in Build 26212, the Windows 11 AI integration is named Recall and can be found on the Privacy & Security page in settings (via Albacore on X).

The concern is due to its privacy toggle. According to the latest build, you can record everything on your screen to help you better find something you were working on or searching for. The positive side is that it can help you find the report you edited when you can't remember where you saved it by accessing the timeline interface. It will also help users with their browsing history. For example, if you searched for how to use WhatsApp Web, but can't remember which browser you used or what site the information was on, AI Explorer (or Recall, as it may be named) can find the information for you.

Read more