Microsoft is bringing back this excellent File Explorer feature I bet you didn't know existed or had been removed

File Explorer from Windows 11
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

What you need to know

  • It appears that Microsoft will bring back the ability to drag and drop an item from File Explorer into the address bar.
  • The functionality is available starting with a recent Beta Channel Insider Build of Windows 11, though you have to enable the feature through ViVetool.
  • Microsoft removed the ability to drag and drop content into the address bar of File Explorer when it shipped an updated File Explorer in Windows 11 version 23H2.

Microsoft is bringing back a File Explorer feature that many have missed but there's a chance you haven't used before. In the latest Beta Channel Insider Build of Windows 11, you can drag and drop an item from File Explorer into the address bar. The functionality requires some tinkering using ViVetool, but things look promising for the feature making a return.

The change was spotted by PhantomOcean3 on X (formerly Twitter), who also shared a video of the feature in action.

You may be surprised to hear that the feature needs to make a return, since dragging and dropping items into the File Explorer address bar was available for a long time in Windows 11. But Microsoft removed the feature when it shipped a new File Explorer with Windows 11 version 23H2.

The list of what's new with File Explorer on Windows 11 version 23H2 is impressive, including a new header, new details pane, a redesigned Home page, and improvements to sharing. The new File Explorer does, however, lack the ability to drag and drop items into its address bar. It seems that may not be the case with future versions of Windows.

Windows 11 24H2 will first ship on ARM PCs before rolling out to everyone later this year. Perhaps we'll see that update bring back dragging and dropping in File Explorer to the address bar. If not, we could see the feature in a future version of Windows.

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Restoring removed features

Windows 11 Taskbar closeup

Windows 11 not having the option to move the Taskbar is just one example of Windows losing features. (Image credit: Future)

This isn't the first time that Microsoft took away functionality and then brought it back. The company infamously took away the ability to drag and drop content into the Taskbar when it shipped Windows 11. That feature has since been added back into the operating system, but us users aren't always so lucky. For example, you still can't move the Taskbar on Windows 11 to the side or top of your screen.

I suppose saying Microsoft "removes" these features isn't entirely accurate. In many cases, Microsoft builds a new experience from the ground up, and it doesn't always add in all the functionality the predecessor had. In effect, end users lose a feature, but it's not like someone at Microsoft is laughing maniacally over taking features away. Microsoft prioritizes certain features based on telemetry data, user feedback, and its overarching vision for Windows. Sometimes the company has to work on the most important features right away and add things in later.

We've seen similar situations with the Taskbar, Start menu, and other parts of Windows 11. Of course, there are times when Microsoft removes features, such as the Windows Subsystem for Android, but those are usually taken out for different reasons.

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

  • simonmann
    Really dont know your audiance do you? It was one of the first things everyone complained about when it was removed.
    Reply
  • Sean Endicott
    simonmann said:
    Really dont know your audiance do you? It was one of the first things everyone complained about when it was removed.
    The first line of the article is "Microsoft is bringing back a File Explorer feature that many have missed but there's a chance you haven't used before."

    I know a lot of people miss the feature. There are also a lot of people who read the article who have never used it before.
    Reply
  • GraniteStateColin
    Sean Endicott said:
    The first line of the article is "Microsoft is bringing back a File Explorer feature that many have missed but there's a chance you haven't used before."

    I know a lot of people miss the feature. There are also a lot of people who read the article who have never used it before.
    Sean, I think your article was targeted well and don't share the view put forward by simonmann. I had used that feature from time to time previously, but had not yet noticed it was missing with the updated Explorer (I would have eventually). I appreciated the info and am glad to hear it's coming back. Thank you!

    My personal biggest gripe on a feature that's missing with Windows 11 (admittedly off topic, but it's one of my very few strong negatives with 11, which I mostly prefer to prior Windows versions): no Jump Lists for items pinned to Start. Yeah, we can use them on the Taskbar, but with about 80 frequently used apps, organized in Start folders, from the total of about 200, there are a lot more pinned to Start than I could fit on the Taskbar.

    That is a constant source of extreme frustration for me, even a couple years into Windows 11 lifecycle. Ironically, there are Jump Lists for items in Start that are not pinned. That's absurd, because obviously, you pin the ones you want to access quickly, which therefore would be the ones most in need of Jump Lists (for fast access to files associated with those apps). My clumsy work-around has been to also pin some of those documents to Start, but that doesn't give me the most recent list for every frequently used app, just the few I need all the time. I hope MS brings back Jump Lists to pinned Start items in an upcoming update.
    Reply
  • Roscojim
    I've never used or never heard of the feature. Am I in the minority?
    Reply
  • Arun Topez
    Thank goodness! I use this ALL the time in previous Windows versions, and was baffled how they removed that functionality, especially when it's now more visually spaced out to easier drag and drop it. Glad to see they added it back instead of waiting for them to re-invent the wheel again.
    Reply
  • HelloNNNewman
    Interesting. I have moved files like this on my home PC often (Windows 10) and I guess I hadn't tried it on my Win 11 work PC, so I wasn't even aware they removed this function. Hell, I discovered it long ago just by doing it myself because that process simply made sense - and it worked. I'm flabbergasted that this basic function was removed. LOL I'm hoping it was just overlooked by the dev team and now are adding it back because they didn't realize it was missing. (yeah yeah.. I know.. I can at least TRY and give them the benefit of the doubt.) :)
    Reply
  • Sean Endicott
    Roscojim said:
    I've never used or never heard of the feature. Am I in the minority?
    I think that's the norm. A lot of people assume others are power users or enthusiast. While there are people who used this feature and are happy to see it return, I bet if you polled a group of everyday PC users they wouldn't know about it.
    Reply