Microsoft is getting rid of the following File Explorer features on Windows 11

Windows 11 File Explorer Hero
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft shipped Windows 11 Build 23481 to Insiders in the Dev Channel yesterday.
  • The company announced that it will remove several legacy options in File Explorer in its release notes for the build.
  • Hiding folder merge conflicts, always showing icons instead of thumbnails, and quite a few other options are going away.

Microsoft released Windows 11 Build 23481 to the Dev Channel yesterday. Arguably the biggest news from that build is that Microsoft is removing the integrated Teams Chat menu on Windows 11, but that isn't the only feature being removed. The company will also take several legacy File Explorer options out of its operating system.

"We are removing a handful of old settings under Folder Options in File Explorer as part of an effort to clean up the number of settings for File Explorer," said Microsoft. "Many of these are legacy settings that have been around for ages and are not being regularly used by people on Windows 11."

Microsoft listed all of the options that will be removed from Windows 11 in its blog post about Build 23481:

  • Hide Folder Merge conflict.
  • Always show icons, never thumbnails.
  • Display file icon on thumbnails.
  • Display file type information on Folder tips.
  • Hide protected OS files.
  • Show drive letters.
  • Show popup description for Folder and Desktop items.
  • Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color.
  • Use sharing wizard.

While Microsoft said that most of the options being removed are used rarely, some are upset about the changes. It also noted that the options will continue to be available through registry keys.

"Are you kidding me? Those legacy options are super important! Why remove options based on telemetry where majority of users are not power users? I thought windows 11 was for productivity? Seriously hope devs revert this change," said Reddit user ValientKnight666.

Summerer shared similar sentiments on Reddit, stating, "Folder Options changes in File Explorer are a really bad idea for several of the settings listed. That change should never go into production."

Microsoft's phrasing describing the change seems definitive, but the company could always change its plans. The Insider Program is an avenue to receive feedback from users after all.

A major redesign for the File Explorer is also in the works. Microsoft showed off the revamped File Explorer on Windows 11 during Build 2023.

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