How to Navigate and Optimize the New File Explorer Features in Windows 11

With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft introduced a redesigned File Explorer with a modern interface and new features, aiming to enhance user experience and productivity. This article delves into navigating and making the most of these new elements.

Understanding Key Terms

  • File Explorer: The default file management application in Windows, which allows users to browse their directories, and files, and perform various tasks related to them.
  • Contextual Menu: A menu that appears upon right-clicking, providing options related to the item selected. In Windows 11, this has been simplified and modernized.
  • Quick Access: A feature in File Explorer that provides immediate access to frequently or recently accessed files and folders.
  • Compact View: A new viewing option in Windows 11's File Explorer that reduces the spacing between items for a more compact display.

Benefits of New File Explorer Features

Enhancements in the File Explorer aim to provide:

  • A cleaner, more intuitive user interface.
  • Improved contextual menus for faster operations.
  • Enhanced Quick Access to streamline workflow.
  • A more customizable view, catering to various user preferences.

Navigating and Optimizing File Explorer: Step-by-step Guide

  1. Open File Explorer from the Taskbar or Start Menu.
  2. Notice the revamped look with headers for a more organized view of files and folders.
  3. Right-click on any file or folder to see the modernized contextual menu. Common tasks are displayed prominently, and less common tasks can be found by selecting the Show More Options.
  4. To quickly access favorite or recent items, use the Quick Access feature located on the left pane.
  5. To enable the Compact View for tighter spacing, navigate to the View tab and select Compact View.

  6. For those preferring traditional menus, the classic ribbon can still be accessed by right-clicking on the empty space at the top and selecting Show tabs.


The revamped File Explorer in Windows 11 brings both aesthetic and functional improvements. Embracing these changes can lead to an enhanced, more efficient file management experience, catering to both novice and power users.


The steps and features highlighted are based on the initial release and updates of Windows 11 up to the time of this article (2023). Future updates may introduce changes, so it's advisable to refer to official Microsoft resources or updated guides when in doubt.