Windows 10 File Explorer and its features

Windows 10 File Explorer and its features

Windows 10 is different and so are its components and settings. Windows 10 brought many changes and improvements when compared to Microsoft's previous operating systems. One of the best changes is the improved File Explorer that comes with a slightly different design and some new features and options. The File Explorer in Windows 10 comes with a new look and a few new options and tabs. It has a new icon, but the jump list is the same as seen in Windows 8.1 and previous versions. However, the jump list now shows the pinned programs along with the frequently viewed files and folders.

The file explorer in Windows has quite a few hidden settings that are not a part of your workflow. That’s most likely because you haven’t discovered them, yet. We’re here to help you change that.

Now let’s move on to things that you didn’t know Windows Explorer could do. Take a look at some of its features, settings, and changes made in Windows 10 File Explorer.

File explorer

File Explorer is the file management application used by Windows operating systems to browse folders and files. It provides a graphical interface for the user to navigate and access the files stored on the computer.

The main way to access the File Explorer is by clicking the folder icon in the Taskbar. After clicking the icon, the File Explorer window will open.

Components of File Explorer

A New Set Of Icons

This is more of a visual change, not one of the features, but it's also pretty easy to spot it. In Windows 10, File Explorer uses new icons, created to match all the other visual transformations of this operating system's interface.


In Windows 10, the File Explorer features a new ribbon toolbar, similar to the one featured in the recent versions of Microsoft Office. This ribbon contains buttons and commands for the most common tasks. The Ribbon features four tabs, each with different commands.

Home tab

The new Home tab is added on the top left corner of your new file explorer in Windows 10. Unlike the Windows 8.1 file explorer, the shortcut (Win+E) takes you to the Home tab instead of ‘This PC’. However, you can go to ‘This PC’ from the left pane of your file explorer. Among the tasks you can perform from the Home tab are −

  • Copying and pasting files and folders from one place to another.

  • Moving files and folders to another location.

  • Copying files and folders to another location.

  • Deleting a file or folder permanently or sending it to the Recycle Bin.

  • Renaming a file or folder.

  • Creating a new folder or other new items.

  • Verifying or modifying the Properties of a document or folder.

  • Opening a file or folder.

  • Different options to select one or various files and folders.

Share tab

We never had a Share tab in file explorer in previous versions of Windows. Here you can share any of your files or folder with others. Just select any file you want to share and click on the Share icon on the top left corner of your File Explorer. You can also zip the files or burn them into the disc from using this new feature. The Share ribbon gives you different options to share your files and folders. For example −

  • E-mailing or messaging a file.

  • Compressing (“Zip”) a folder to take less space.

  • Printing or faxing documents.

  • Sharing with other users or networks.

View tab

This View tab in your Windows 10 File Explorer allows you to access the files and folder in a way you want, may it be a tiled view, view with details, small icons, medium icons and much more. You can add a preview pane or details pane in the right of your file explorer. You can change the Folder and Search options from here. Click on Options and adjust the settings according to your preferences. Select if you want to open each folder in the same windows or a new one and more. The View ribbon allows you to change the way Windows displays your files and folders. Some of the changes you can make here are −

  • Adding additional panes to show a preview or details of your files.

  • Changing the layout of the files and folders from icons to list, and others.

  • Sorting and arranging the contents of your folder.

  • Hiding selected folders or files.

Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane gives you access to your libraries of documents and pictures, as well as your storage devices. It also features frequently used folders and network devices.

Frequent folders

The Frequent folders section on the right features the folders you’ve worked with recently to allow for quick access to them.

Recent files

The Recent files section in the lower part of the window features files and documents that you’ve opened recently.

Move Files via the Address Bar

If you have ever found yourself cut-pasting or copy-pasting files from a child folder to a parent folder, here’s a neat trick you can use. In Explorer, select the file(s) you want to move and drag it to the parent location in the address bar to move the file. If you want to copy the file instead, hold down Ctrl when you’re dragging and dropping the file.

Quick Access

You can access your frequently visited files with the newly added Quick Access feature. It includes the commonly used folders and automatically suggests the lists of files you frequently use, so as to let you access them quickly.


The new and changed file explorer lets you save your files directly to OneDrive online cloud storage and to sync everything from your OneDrive to your PC. Microsoft has changed the way OneDrive used to work in Windows 8.1 where users were not allowed to sync the files from OneDrive with the local file system. In the latest version of Windows Microsoft has rolled back OneDrive to how it was before Windows 8.1.

Search Box

To find a specific file or folder in a selected folder location, use the Search Box. To do this, start typing the name of the file or folder into the Search Box. Doing this then searches within the currently selected folder location for the text you enter. Searching begins immediately as you start typing into the Search Box.

Status bar (or Taskbar)

At the bottom of the File Explorer window, the status bar provides contextual information about the selected file or folder including memory size(if it’s a file), number of files contained(if it’s a folder) etc.

Customization for more ease of access

There are certainly a few folders that you access frequently. Windows 10 File Explorer provides the facility to pin the frequently accessed folders to Quick Access pane. You can click on Pin to Quick access in the ribbon toolbar represented by a board pin button (under the Home tab) or you could also right-click on the folder that you open frequently and click Pin to Quick Access to get it pinned.

The window titles

And finally, the smallest and the probably the most subtle change we've seen: the window titles are no longer centered like they used to be in Windows 8.1. Instead, they are now aligned to the left, as you can see in the next screenshot.


These are the changes we've seen in the new version of File Explorer from Windows 10. Some are significant feature overhauls, while some are minor and subtle design transformations. If you notice any other changes than let us know about it in the comments below. Thank you!

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