Thursday, December 08, 2022

How to Enable Tabbed File Explorer in Windows 11 Preview

How to Enable Tabbed File Explorer in Windows 11 Preview

This week’s Windows 11 Insider Preview is build 22572, and when it was released yesterday, it wasn’t long until someone noticed a hidden, yet highly requested feature. File Explorer can now support tabs.

Of course, it’s not turned on by default, which means it’s not ready to go yet. However, you can turn it on automatically, just like the many hidden features that Windows has under the hood.

There is something really important that we should focus on before we start. You shouldn’t do this for several reasons. For one thing, enabling features that shouldn’t be enabled always jeopardizes the stability of your system. It is important that you know what you are getting into in that regard. Of course, if you’re running the dev channel, you shouldn’t be using your main machine anyway.


For another thing, there’s a good chance Microsoft will bring this to light in next week’s Windows 11 Insider Preview build. Of course, there’s also a chance that it never sees daylight. And finally, from Microsoft’s point of view, it doesn’t want you to do this because it messes with telemetry.

OK, still with us? let’s get started.

Prerequisites for Tabbed File Explorer:

  • a windows 11 pc running 22572

How to Get the Latest Windows 11 Preview

To get started, you’ll need to join the Windows Insider Program. Note that this is another thing you are sacrificing system stability to do. You shouldn’t be doing this on your main machine.

  1. In Windows 11, go to Settings -> Windows Update -> Windows Insider Program.
  2. Click the START button, and follow the instructions to enroll in the Dev Channel.
  3. Reboot when prompted.
  4. Go to Settings -> Windows Update -> Check for Updates.
  5. After the build is installed, reboot when prompted.

Enable Tabbed File Explorer

It’s actually very easy to enable hidden features like Tabbed File Explorer. This is far less time-consuming than installing the Windows 11 builds required for this.

  1. Download the latest release of ViveTool from GitHub here.
  2. Extract the zip file, preferably somewhere with an easy-to-type file path.
  3. Open Command Prompt in Administrator mode. You can do this by holding shift while right-clicking on it.
    Screenshot Of Windows Search For Command Prompt
  4. Navigate to the folder where ViveTool is located. For example, you can use the command cd\vivetool-v0.2.1 if it’s stored in the same location as mine.
  5. Enter the command ‘vivatool addconfig 34370472 2’. 34370472 is the feature number, while the number 2 indicates that you want to enable it. You can run the same command with the number 1 to deactivate it.
    Screenshot Of Vivetool Enabling The Windows Feature
  6. Reboot your PC.

After that, you should be able to open File Explorer and find a tabbed interface, much like you would in a web browser. Hopefully, Microsoft will make it public soon, and of course, hopefully it will bring tabs to other apps like the Office suite.

Note that the app seems a bit buggy. It’s not possible to move tabs around, and when I attempted to do so, things started to freeze. This would obviously fall under the range of reasons Microsoft hasn’t announced yet.

Did you light up Tabbed File Explorer? What was your experience with it?

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