Windows 11

Windows 11’s new ‘tabs’ feature apparently reduces File Explorer’s RAM usage

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Windows 11 is finally getting support for tabs in File Explorer with Sun Valley 2 (version 22H2), which launches in the fall. Support for browser-like tabs in File Explorer finally makes it easier for users to switch between different windows. In addition to tabs, File Explorer also gets a new cluttered free navigation sidebar.

Microsoft is pushing the new File Explorer to Windows 11 in Beta and Dev Channel. The new tabs feature, which is enabled by default, allows you to easily switch between different windows. In other words, you don’t have to open new instances of Explorer every time you want to browse more than one folder or directory at a time.

Compared to a full-fledged new window, a new tab in the file explorer uses minimal memory. We observed this behavior in our tests and users have reported similar results as well. For example, if you start a new tab, it will only add a few megabytes to the existing file explorer process.

File Explorer Tabs in Windows 11

In fact, File Explorer’s memory usage has increased by just 1MB. This is especially useful if you are in the habit of opening multiple instances/windows of Explorer. By opening tabs, you can reduce resource usage while remaining productive.

Although the update is being rolled out in a phased manner, there is still a chance that Microsoft will further improve the performance of File Explorer. Everyone will get this feature right away in Windows 11 22H2 when it launches to the general public in the fall.

Microsoft is apparently testing this new file explorer with a few users in Windows 11 22H2 or newer. According to the company, File Explorer with tabs and navigation sidebar will start rolling this out to a wider user base in the coming weeks.

While the tabs support promises better performance, File Explorer’s new navigation pane reduces the clutter.

File Explorer sidebar

As you can see in the screenshot above, File Explorer’s new redesigned layout for the sidebar makes it easy for users to navigate to folders that matter to you. It provides quick access to pinned and frequently used folders and OneDrive cloud profiles already added to Windows.

Microsoft wants to reduce the clutter in File Explorer and make room for features like OneDrive. As a result, well-known Windows folders are no longer listed under This PC and the focus is now only on hardware drives.

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