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Windows 11 File Explorer Tabs: Windows 95 Was The First To Have Them.


The ability to create tabs in File Explorer is one of the most popular features of Windows 11. The functionality was first observed in Windows 11 Dev Channel build 22572 in March of this year, and it ultimately reached general availability (G.A.) in October, when it was ready for the Windows 11 2022 upgrade (version 22H2).

Tabs in the File Explorer were first tried during the development of Windows 95, according to @wowstartsnow on Twitter (1995). They were tested again throughout the development cycle of Windows 10 after 25 years:



While tabs in File Explorer were introduced in Windows 11 22H2, Microsoft has been working on this functionality for quite some time. That's because Microsoft began testing and creating such a feature while Windows 95 (codenamed Chicago) was still in its early stages. That was over 30 years ago.



Nobody knows why tabbed File Explorer in Windows 95 never made it to the final public release. Perhaps the corporation believed the functionality was too time-consuming. Or possibly it encountered an unfixable problem. Perhaps it was just not ready in the state desired by Microsoft.

Interestingly, Microsoft released a similar feature in Windows 10 called "Sets" that allows app grouping. Sets, sadly, was killed by Microsoft and never made it out of Insider testing.




File Explorer tabs in Windows 11 2022 Upgrade Tabs have returned as part of the Moments 1 update in Windows 11 2022 Update.

"Files Explorer enhancements, including the addition of tabs to File Explorer to help you manage your File Explorer sessions like you do in Microsoft Edge." The new File Explorer homepage gives you quick access to your favourite and recent files, so you can pin important files for quick and easy access - even including information at a glance of colleagues' actions on your shared files via the power of OneDrive and personalized suggestions based on your Microsoft 365 account," Microsoft said when announcing tabs.

The previous attempt to add tabs to File Explorer occurred in the days of Windows 10 when Microsoft utilized Microsoft Edge to power a feature called Sets, which was meant to spread tabs throughout the whole operating system.

The functionality was later removed when Microsoft opted to abandon Microsoft Edge in favour of the Chromium engine for its browser (though this decision was not made public at the time).
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