Windows 11 file explorer with tabs refresh incoming: Here's how to get it

Files 2 Layout
Files 2 Layout (Image credit: Yair Aichenbaum)

What you need to know

  • Signups are open to test out a file explorer with tabs called Files v2.
  • The app will soon receive a refreshed look with icons and a design to match Windows 11.
  • You can already download Files without being a tester, but it will have a look more in line with Windows 10.

Windows 11 features a redesigned file explorer, but it doesn't have tabs as many people had hoped. A third-party file explorer called Files features tabs and is about to get a big update. You can sign up to test Files v2 now.

When I wrote about how to get a tabbed file explorer on Windows 11, many asked how to get a version with the refreshed look. Right now, Files looks like the first image shown below, but its developers hope to roll out its new look in the next couple of weeks.

The new look is similar to the one I showed off earlier this month, but it has some updated icons and new options in the toolbar.

I've tested Files through several iterations. It can replace the default Windows File Explorer many tasks but has some gaps that power users will notice. Those gaps continue to close as development moves forward. It works well with touch or a mouse and keyboard and supports many features you'd expect.

You can sign up to take part in the testing through this form (opens in new tab).

The new look will come to people running Windows 11 and Windows 10, though the mica effect won't appear on Windows 10.

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 (opens in new tab).

  • No navigation pane tree view. Pass.
  • That does seem a significant deficiency. Given that File Explorer doesn't display a tree by default, I wonder how many people do use the tree. I certainly do and get that uncomfortable feeling when using someone else's machine without it, so that's an issue for me with this app too. Hopefully it's a feature on the ToDo list.
  • Downloaded and using the app. Wish Microsoft would buy this app.
  • | No navigation pane tree view. Pass. 100%. This is a MUST have, and is basically useless without it. 😣 I was so put off by the stark interface and icons that I hadn't even gotten that far yet to even notice. 😬 A few other things that are a MUST/MISSING: • List View - This is also a MUST have. • Additional Themes - I'm sure the developer REALLY likes the STARK B&W UI, but most user will NOT. 😳 • Regular Updates - There hasn't been an update in over TWO YEARS. I actually figured this app was LONG DEAD. 💀 It's too bad too, because this little app looks like it has a LOT of potential. 😔
    But until someone creates something USEFUL, I will continue using CLOVER. 🍀
  • Files v2 comes with an extension that has 20+ themes and new themes are being added all the time. Files has only been around for about two years but it's gotten regular updates every month or so.