New Windows Insider Preview Build Adds File Explorer Tabs and Dynamic Widgets on your Taskbar

Microsoft has just started pushing out yet another Insider Preview Build for Windows 11, this time exclusive to the Dev Channel. Build 25136 introduces a couple of highly-anticipated, new features that aim to enhance the user experience across the board. This update comes just two days after the recent Release Preview channel build, and precisely one week after the last Dev Channel build. 

Let’s start off with the highlight of this build, and a feature that fans have long, long asked for; File Explorer tabs.

File Explorer Tabs

Yes, Microsoft is finally, officially adding File Explorer tabs to Windows, starting with Build 23156. After ages, the title bar of File Explorer now has tabs, just like a browser. You can open as many as you like, switch between them at your heart’s desire and drag any one out of the windows to create its own separate window, again, just like any regular browser tab.

File Explorer with tabs and navigation updates | Microsoft

Further File Explorer changes

Not only that, but alongside this update, File Explorer now has a revamped left navigation pane, which according to Microsoft, makes it much easier to navigate through folders. There are three distinct sections, essentially, with the top one being “Home“, previously known as “Quick access“. The same section also includes your OneDrive cloud folder which now has support for profiles, and you can add multiple profiles, each named after the user account it’s linked to.

Known Windows folders, such as Pictures, Videos, Documents, and Downloads, are no longer displayed under “This PC“. Instead, they now have their own second section in the navigation pane, unobstructed from your computer’s drives. Speaking of which, the third and final section includes all of your drives, along with file sharing and WSL (Linux). 

Last, but not least, the File Explorer address bar has been updated to show the exact path of the file when navigating to Windows folders like Documents, Pictures, etc. These folders are synced with your OneDrive, so now the updated address bar helps you know exactly when a file is on the cloud and when it’s on your PC locally. 

Dynamic Widgets

Most of you coming from (or using) Windows 10 will remember the day Microsoft pushed an update adding a weather widget on the left-most side of our Taskbars, against our will. Most of us thought it was a virus or some sort of bug, but soon it came to everyone’s knowledge that it was actually a feature Microsoft added over the air. This weather widget was dynamic, meaning it updated it real time and was clickable to reveal more info.

Now, Microsoft is adding even more of them. Apart from the weather widget, the company is introducing sports, finance, and news widgets as well, all with support for dynamic content. The news widget will actually bring live breaking news alerts, too. All of these will appear on either side of your Taskbar, should you choose to enable them. You can see an example of the finance widget being displayed at the far right in the desktop screenshot below:

Finance content from Widgets shown on the taskbar | Microsoft

The usual

These are the main additions in the latest Insider Preview build of Windows 11. Of course, there are a myriad of bug fixes for things like Settings, Task Manager, Start menu, and so on which you can check out here on the Microsoft Blog. Notably, Microsoft is also testing a new feature that allows Insiders to report animated GIFs they feel are inappropriate from the emoji menu. 

As always, since this is an Insider release in the Dev Channel, these features are just beginning to roll out and won’t be available right away to all Insiders. Microsoft says it will take the recorded feedback into serious consideration before releasing these features on a bigger scale . You can (and are encouraged to) submit feedback regarding these features in the Feedback Hub under the Widgets category.

Huzaifa Haroon
Born and raised around computers, Huzaifa is an avid gamer and a Windows enthusiast. When he's not solving the mysteries of technology, you can find him writing about operating systems, striving to inform the curious.

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