How to get a file explorer with tabs on Windows 11

Files Tabs 4
Files Tabs 4 (Image credit: Windows Central)

While Windows 11 has a refreshed File Explorer, many were disappointed to see that the app lacks tab support. People have clamored for tabs in File Explorer for years, but at least for now, Microsoft hasn't obliged. While the first-party File Explorer on Windows 11 doesn't support tabs, an app called "Files" does.

It's important to note that this is not an app from Microsoft. It's a third-party app from Yair Aichenbaum. It first launched to the public in June 2020, but I've been a preview tester since before its release. The app isn't a full replacement for the default File Explorer, a fact that Aichenbaum admits, but it is good enough for certain use cases, in my opinion.

I previewed Files around a year ago. Since then, it's received several updates and a refreshed look. It looks quite natural on Windows 11, thanks to its updated icons and layout. I'd guess that if I showed most people the image below that they wouldn't be able to tell which file explorer was from Microsoft.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

You can also use Files on Windows 10, but I wanted to show it off running next to the native File Explorer on Windows 11 with the first Windows 11 preview build. Note that the exact version of Files shown off in these images is only available for beta testers.

Files is touch-friendly and scales well whether you use it on a tablet or the desktop. It doesn't have some of the features of Microsoft's File Explorer, but it can do some things that make it unique. I also think it looks better on the best Windows tablets when compared to the native File Explorer.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The biggest advantage of Files over the first-party File Explorer is that it supports tabs. You can navigate to different files and folders without having to open a second window. The app also supports dragging and dropping files between tabs and the ability to open folders and tabs by hovering over them, as shown above.

With Microsoft reemphasizing the importance of touch on Windows 11, more people may use devices like the Surface Pro 7 or Surface Pro X as a tablet. If that's the case, having a touch-friendly file explorer with some unique features could come in handy.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at