Improvements in Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is a foundation of the user experience of the Windows desktop and has undergone several design changes over the years, but has not seen a substantial change in quite some time. Windows 8 is about reimagining Windows, so we took on the challenge to improve the most widely used desktop tool (except maybe for Solitaire) in Windows. Alex Simons on the program management team authored this post with a detailed look at the evolution of Explorer and the major improvements to its interface and functionality for Windows 8. Judging by the passion on file operations and user interface design, we know this is an important subject so we expect a pretty engaged dialog on the topic.  We put this in one lengthy post, will watch the comments and dialog, and down the road we'll continue the discussion.
-- Steven

It’s exciting to have this opportunity to share the improvements we’re making to the file management capabilities of Windows Explorer. Explorer is one of the most venerable parts of Windows with a heritage you can trace back to the “MS-DOS Executive” in Windows 1.0!

Figure 1 - MS-DOS Executive in Windows 1.0 
MS-DOS Executive in Windows 1.0

Over the years, Explorer and its forerunners have gone through several major iterations:

Figure 2 - File Manager in Windows 3.1
File Manager in Windows 3.1

Figure 3 - File Explorer in Windows XP
Explorer in Windows XP

Figure 4 - File Explorer in Windows 7
Explorer in Windows 7

It’s a bit daunting but also pretty exciting to have the opportunity to revisit and rethink this cornerstone of our product. Many of you who are reading this (and most of us on the development team) are among the most extreme “power users” of the file management tools in Explorer and likely start from a different perspective than the broad base of customers. As we approach the work to improve file management in Windows, we do so knowing many of you have long ago "given up" on Explorer and are using some of the wide variety of add-ons or alternatives.

As we mentioned in our post on improvements in the copy function, telemetry data indicates these add-ons and alternatives are mostly used by us power-users and we represent a small but influential group of people. The most popular add-ons and replacements (programs like TeraCopy, FastCopy, xplorer2 & QTTabBar) are installed (note that does not mean used) on about 0.45% of PC’s. Our goal is to improve the usage experience for a majority of customers while recognizing that, with such a long history and variety of depth usage, we cannot possibly provide all of the power everyone might want. We expect that there will be a vibrant third-party toolset for some time to come. Windows 8 is an opportunity to substantially improve the experience for everyone.

How Explorer is used today

Over the years, Explorer has grown to support a number of different scenarios, many unrelated to file management – launching programs, viewing photos, playing videos, and playing music, to name just a few. We wanted to know which of these capabilities customers were really using. Using telemetry data, we were able to answer the question of how the broadest set of customers use Explorer in aggregate. As a reminder, the telemetry data is opt-in, anonymous, and private, but it does represent hundreds of millions of sessions from all customer types.

Figure 5 - The top 10 commands are 81.8% of Explorer command use

This data is pretty interesting. First it shows that even though there are over 200 commands in Explorer, customers use a small number of them with any real frequency: the top 10 commands represent 81.8% of total usage. Additionally it shows us that people overwhelmingly use Explorer for core file management tasks - the top 7 commands (72.2% of usage) are all for managing/manipulating files.

This data represents the total usage of Explorer and includes cases where a person has a third-party add-on installed that uses one of our built-in commands (i.e. “play,” “open,” “edit,” “email,” etc.) A good example would be that a customer might have a third-party music app installed, which is the default player for all their music formats. The command usage of this third-party add-in from within Explorer is included in the data above. There are a class of add-ons that add their own custom commands (i.e. “rotate”) and we don’t get telemetry data for those, though we do know how often they are installed and get invoked (<2% of user sessions). This data is pretty solid and given the hundreds of millions of data points, it gives us a very clear picture of average usage across the population as a whole, and also of the spectrum of usage patterns (depth and breadth, frequency, etc.).

We also wanted to know how people most frequently invoke commands in Explorer.

Figure 6 - Command entrypoint usage

The telemetry data here shows that 54.5% of commands are invoked using a right-click context menu, and another 32.2% are invoked using keyboard shortcuts (“Hotkey” above) while only 10.9% come from the Command bar, the most visible UI element in Explorer in Windows 7 and Vista. With greater than 85% of command usage being invoked using a method other than the primary UI, there was clearly an opportunity to improve the Explorer user experience to make it more effective—more visible and uniformly accessible.  While context menus are convenient, the features in them can be overlooked if you don't condition yourself to "search" via a context menu for the feature (a well-known challenge with the mechanism).

We also did an analysis of which of the commands that customers used were available in the Command bar:

Figure 7 - Percentages that each command is used on the Command bar

Only 2 of the top 10 commands customers invoke in Explorer are available in the Command bar, the main UI element for invoking commands. This further reinforced our thinking that there was a big opportunity here to improve Explorer by making common commands more readily available. A clear user interface design principle is that frequently used commands should be easy to get to—clearly we had not yet accomplished that with existing designs.

Next, we turned to customers and community feedback. Customers have a lot of suggestions for how they’d like to see Explorer evolve. Many of these suggestions are for things that after-market add-ons like TeraCopy, QTTabBar, DMEXBar, & StExBar, or Explorer replacements like xplorer2, XYplorer or FreeCommander already offer.

The biggest category of feedback was requests to bring back features from Windows XP that were removed in Windows Vista, especially things like bringing back the "Up" button from Windows XP, adding cut, copy, & paste back into the top-level UI, and for providing a more customizable command surface. Also frequently requested is the need for more keyboard shortcuts. As you’ll read below, we’ve addressed many of these top requests in the redesigned Explorer.  Each of these "removed" commands has a long history rooted in the changes to the Windows architecture and/or design philosophy.

Goals of the new Windows Explorer

We set out to accomplish three main goals with this new version of Explorer.

  1. Optimize Explorer for file management tasks. Return Explorer to its roots as an efficient file manager and expose some hidden gems, those file management commands already in Explorer that many customers might not even know exist.
  2. Create a streamlined command experience. Put the most used commands in the most prominent parts of the UI so they are easy to find, in places that make sense and are reliable. Organize the commands in predictable places and logical groupings according to context, and present relevant information right where you need it.
  3. Respect Explorer’s heritage. Maintain the power and richness of Explorer and bring back the most relevant and requested features from the Windows XP era when the current architecture and security model of Windows permits.

We evaluated several different UI command affordances including expanded versions of the Vista/Windows 7 command bar, Windows 95/Windows XP style toolbars and menus, several entirely new UI approaches, and the Office style ribbon. Of these, the ribbon approach offered benefits in line with our goals:

  • Provides the ability to put the most important commands in very prominent, front and center locations.
  • Makes it easy to find commands predictably and reliably. Every important file management command could be given a home in the ribbon, and customers would always know where to look for them.
  • Exposes a large set of commands (~200) in one easy and consistent experience and organizes commands into scenario-focused groups without the use of nested menus, popups, dialogs, and right-click menus.
  • Aids command identification with support for grouping, a variety of button sizes and icons, and aids deeper investigation with live previews and expanded tooltips.
  • Takes a similar approach to Office, Microsoft Paint, and Windows Live Essentials, which means that many of our customers will be familiar with the model and not have a lot to learn.
  • Provides a consistent, reliable UI that doesn’t degrade over time like traditional toolbar and menu-based user interfaces do. See Jensen’s earlier blog on this topic from the development of the ribbon.

These strengths fit well with our three goals – the ribbon would allow us to create an optimized file manager where commands would have reliable, logical locations in a streamlined experience. The flexibility of the ribbon with many icon options, tabs, flexible layout and groupings also ensured that we could respect Explorer’s heritage. We could present a rich set of commands without removing access to previously top-level commands, something we knew was really important to our customers. As it so happens, while not primarily a touch interface, the ribbon also provides a much more reliable and usable touch-only interface than pull-down menus and context menus (we'll have lots more to say on the topic of touch, of course—as a reminder, check out this Windows 8 video--we definitely know there is a lot of interest but also want to make clear that we know how important keyboard and mouse scenarios are to power-user scenarios of file management).

Figure 8 - File Explorer in
Explorer in "Windows 8"

We knew that using a ribbon for Explorer would likely be met with skepticism by a set of power-users (like me), but there are clear benefits in ways that the ribbon:

  • Exposes hidden features that they already use but which require third party add-ons to use in the Explorer UI today.
  • Provides keyboard shortcuts for every command in the ribbon, something many people have been asking for.
  • Provides UI customization with the quick access toolbar, taking us back to a customization level that is basically equivalent to Windows XP.

We also knew that, similar to when we added the ribbon into Office, there would be concerns about reduced screen real estate. We worked hard to mitigate this issue, and I’ll tell you what we did here a little later in this blog post.

Finally, there are quite a few third-party add-ons that some of our more advanced customers use with Explorer today. These add-ons will continue to work in the right-click context menus in Windows 8, which is by far the most common access point for experienced customers running these add-ins (where discovery and occasional usage are not the primary design points).  However, add-ins will not be able to plug into the ribbon UI. This was a difficult engineering choice for us and we expect that many of you will read this and suggest we add the capability--of course if we could get it right this time around we would have done that. A big part of this blog is sharing these choices--tradeoffs--between new features and adding everything we can dream up and finishing.  We also think the customization we provide and the improvements are worthwhile this time around.

In a related note, one of the most common requests we get in any redesign is to continue to provide the old user interface along with the new. Sometimes this is suggested as a "transitional" benefit, and other times as a "compatibility mode." We've learned over many product cycles that the work to provide this significantly impacts the evolution of the product. The most immediate challenge is that any new commands added to the ribbon then need to be added in the old UI, even if there is no logical place for them. And of course as the new UI evolves, backward compatibility proves doubly challenging. Each time we change we double the number of "old" experiences we carry forward. Our hope is that those who maintain software understand that these are tradeoffs we make in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, and are not meant to be forceful or painful in any way. We are fully aware of the responsibility that comes from changing an interface used by so many people.

A ribbon gave us a lot of layout options and we explored a number of different approaches to tabs and grouping. We decided to go with three main tabs: Home, Share, and View, plus a File menu and a variety of contextual tabs.

The new ribbon

The Home tab is focused on the core file management tasks, and we’ve put all the major file management commands there in prominent locations: Copy, Paste, Delete, Rename, Cut, and Properties. We’ve also given new prominence to two popular heritage features, Move to and Copy to, along with exposing a hidden gem, Copy path, which is really useful when you need to paste a file path into a file dialog, or when you want to email someone a link to a file on a server.

Figure 9 - Home tab
The new Home tab

The Home tab is the heart of our new, much more streamlined Explorer experience. The commands that make up 84% of what customers do in Explorer are now all available on this one tab:

Figure 10 - Home tab showing % usage of each button
Overlay showing Command usage % by button on the new Home tab

The Share tab is for sharing files by typical methods like zipping them up and emailing them to a friend, or burning them to optical media. Or you can quickly share files with other people in your home group or your network domain. It also provides one-click access to the ACLs for the currently highlighted file.

  Figure 11 - Share tab
The new Share tab

The View tab provides access to options for view customization. We’ve enabled one-click access for turning on/off the Navigation pane, Preview pane, and Details pane, a live preview gallery for the different icon display sizes, quick access to sorting and grouping by column, the ability to quickly add columns, plus easy access to three hidden features: show file name extensions, show hidden items, and hide selected items.

Figure 12 - View tab  
The View tab

The customization options for the Navigation pane are also much easier to access – in the drop-down menu, you get one-click access to them, including a new option to show or hide favorites.

Figure 13 - Navigation pane options
Navigation pane options 

The file menu and other tools

The file menu lets you quickly open new Explorer windows, access your shortcuts, and change folder and search options. It also includes a hidden feature that we love, Open command prompt, and a really useful new command, Open command prompt as administrator, both of which launch a command prompt with the path set to the currently selected folder.

Figure 14 - File menu
File menu

We’ve provided a variety of contextual tabs that activate in the context of specific files and folders, and for tasks like searching, managing libraries, viewing pictures, and playing music. One of the best examples is the new Search Tools contextual tab which launches when you click in the search box.

Figure 15 - Search tab
Search tab

The Search tab surfaces a bunch of hidden gems that most people are not aware of, but that could solve some common problems for them. You can quickly adjust the scope of any search, filter by common date ranges, file type, file size, and other properties like the author or name. Then you can save these searches for future use.

Here are examples of some of the other Explorer context tabs:

Figure 16 - Library Tools context tab
Library Tools 

Figure 17 - Picture Tools context tab
Picture Tools

Figure 18 - Disk Tools context tab
Disk Tools

Designing for a wider screen

When considering the ribbon UI, we knew we had to be conscious of one of the primary customer concerns we hear about: screen real estate. As we looked at ways to mitigate this issue, we dug up some more telemetry data for Windows 7:

Figure 19 - Chart showing % of different screen resolutions used in Windows 7

As this data shows, widescreen formats (those with a resolution ratio > 1.3) have become the standard. Of the top 20 screen resolutions, 17 of them are widescreen formats and they account for 83% of the total Windows 7 PC base.  This should make sense to everyone because the majority of PCs are laptops and almost all laptops are wide screen.  The two common standard resolutions are almost exclusively desktop PCs.  We had a lot of good discussion about display resolution in Engineering Windows 7 and likely this will be an interesting topic again.

Knowing this, we investigated a number of options for using widescreen formats more effectively with the goal that the total vertical space available for content was the same after we added the ribbon as it had been in Windows 7. We removed the header at the top of the main view and moved the Details pane to the right side (and also did a visual revamp of the pane) while keeping a one-line status bar at the bottom of the window where we show you critical information.

Figure 20 - Details pane  
Details pane for images

This approach gives you a new Details pane that is much easier to read, makes better use of widescreen formats, and preserves screen real estate for the main file/folder pane. The exact number of lines might vary a bit from PC to PC depending on what add-ins you have, but for the out-of-the-box configuration running full screen at 1366 X 768, you can actually fit two more lines on the screen than you could in Windows 7.

Figure 21 - Comparison of real estate used for data in Windows 7 Explorer versus "Windows 8" Explorer

And this comparison assumes you have the ribbon open. If you collapse the ribbon (double-click the tab, or click the Minimize arrow on the right side of the ribbon), you get even more vertical real estate with our new approach.

Making it work well for power users too

Finally, while most of the work we’ve done is focused on making Explorer work for everyone, we also wanted to make sure we were giving our more sophisticated users a good experience as well.

One of the top requests from more advanced users is for more keyboard shortcuts. All of the existing Windows Explorer shortcuts work in this version of Explorer, but with our new approach, all of the approximately 200 commands in the ribbon now have keyboard shortcuts as well. (Note that we haven’t finalized the exact number of commands in the ribbon yet. It will likely end up between 198 and 203 when we’re done.)

Figure 22 - Keyboard shortcuts on the Explorer ribbon
Keyboard shortcuts

Advanced customers have also traditionally asked for the ability to customize Explorer more. The Explorer in Windows XP was probably the most customizable version to date (you could add or remove a pre-specified set of buttons from the toolbar and customize the layout) but the Explorer UI in Windows 7 and Vista had very limited customization options beyond installing third-party add-ons.

The new Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Explorer provides a lot of customization opportunities. Similar to Office, by right-clicking any button in the ribbon, you can add it to the QAT. Additionally, you can choose to have the QAT display above or below the ribbon, and to display the ribbon in an open or minimized state. This is a big increase in the level of customization available in Explorer (you can choose approximately 200 commands to add to the QAT) and returns it to a level equal to or greater than we had in Windows XP.

Figure 23 - Quick Access Toolbar customization options
QAT customization options

Figure 24 - Alex's customized QAT 
A customized QAT with a minimized ribbon

Finally, as you may have noticed in several of the screen shots, we just had to bring back the “Up" button.

Figure 25 - Up button  
The return of the “Up" button!

This is far and away the most requested improvement to Explorer, and a great opportunity to bring back some of Windows Explorer’s heritage features.

I'll leave you with this quick demo where I walk you through the main features of the new Windows Explorer.

Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4

--Alex Simons

Comments (1,343)
  1. domenicoav says:

    New Awesome post !! Thanks

  2. MichaelFromUkraine says:

    looks nice.

    i'll surely try win8 beta (if it will be public)!

  3. Hmmmmm… I actually took a swipe at Notepad ribbon again today as if I knew you were posting this. I think I like it… Keep it coming guys… 😉

  4. Mikael Eliasson says:

    I think one great feature would be some kind of "user education". When you perform commands,  that are accessible through hotkeys, the manual way it would be nice if a hint could be shown. I try to use as much hotkeys I can but I realize there are many I don't know. And for the regular user it would be even more.

  5. Hmmmmm… I actually took a swipe at Wordpad ribbon again today as if I knew you were posting this. I think I like it… Keep it coming guys… 😉

  6. Denis J. says:

    Ribbon UI may have its positive sides, which you noted – however, when it comes to touch operations and looks overall – it is simply not good enough. 2 cents

  7. Looking forward for Windows 8 beta release. I'm sure this will be the most successful Operating System ever built by Microsoft. And not to mention that this will be our future OS, means no more chromium and no more apples.

  8. Geek89 says:

    ehm .. I prefer the Windows 3.1 version ..

    For a everyday user simplicity beats functionality .. 98 % of windows users are simple folks that think OS X and Linux are complicated ..

    Looks like 98% of windows users will think the new Windows Explorer is comlicated!

  9. Eray says:

    Nice feature and ı watch video build 8059 🙂

  10. Will it be possible to play a song or video on the preview pane without open it?

  11. looks very nice.

    It's like office ribbon and I love it so much. 😉

  12. FremyCompany says:

    Rather good. I hope you'll also be able to fix the bug that prevents Windows Search to properly index any drive whose letter is "B:". This bug really annoys me.

  13. Programming Thomas says:

    Major improvement, Ribbon will definitely help the UI.

  14. Looking great!  Any chance you are adding advanced file/folder naming options?  Like "Find & Replace" functionality?

  15. KyleK says:

    Windows7 has a very functional address bar, and makes the 'up' button obsolete in every way.

  16. raider says:

    I prefer the actual shape, maybe making it more similar to IE9's look to give more consistency. Speaking purely aesthetic, that Ribbon-ized Explorer just looks awful. Though, I should admit that for some users Ribbons could be more easy to use instead of diving through sub-menus.

  17. Owen Pellegrin says:

    I'd have liked to see some context menu love; for the first half of the article it felt like you were saying, "We figured out most people were using context menus. This made us sad because we like the command bar. So we decided to focus on the feature users clearly rejected to force them to use it." On the other hand, the ribbon satisfies me because at the very least it means I can find keyboard shortcuts when I forget them. Plus I'm not sure what you could do with context menus to make them easier; a search box would be nice I guess?

    I imagine there's heaps of legal issues surrounding this, but it seems archaic to see a "Share" tag without a Facebook, Twitter, etc. button. I'd halfway expect to see "fax" and "postal service" buttons next to "email". Hopefully there's good shell extensibility so everyone who uses a computer can make Windows 8 have features modern users use :p  To your credit, Mac OS Finder lacks that feature too; I'm curious if their recent Twitter integration into iOS might be a precursor though.

  18. Joe says:

    Wonder if there will be a touch first explorer.  Or file operations will need a mous/keyboard.

    Also, wonder what the extensibility model is now.  Really hate the long pause caused by shell extensions when you right mouse click.

  19. Daniel says:

    Looking good. How about you make it look consistent across Windows and Office this time?

  20. Daniel says:

    Looking good. How about you make it look consistent across Windows and Office this time?

  21. Michael W says:

    Why does the "Command prompt as Administrator" icon have an overlay of a user instead of a shield overlay? Administrative tasks/elevation commands always have the shield, this is a rather odd icon choice!

  22. Hi,

    Really liking the "Open Command prompt" option in the File menu however I prefer to use powershell so would like a "Open Powershell prompt" option too.



  23. Celso Junior says:

    A little complicated. Ribbon interface with Windows Explorer is not a good idea (space space space on top of window). I prefer medium icons, with grey scale colors (like Google Chrome, for example).

  24. Keith Hill says:

    I like the use of the Ribbon UI here.  It is easy to collapse the Ribbon if you know your shortcuts and right context menu.  One quibble on the File menu – where is the Open PowerShell Prompt menu pick?  PowerShell is far, far, far superior to CMD.exe in almost every imagineable way.  It really should have its own "Open" entry in the Windows Explorer File menu.

  25. Thanks for adding in the ability to hide Libraries.  For those of us who use our own media management techs, this frees up a lot of space in the Explorer window.

  26. Daniel Waltz says:

    Love it, keep up the great work! Wish I could be a little more constructive, but a compliment is better than nothing!

  27. Francesco says:

    Good update, but it would be exceptional optimizing the "Share" tab. In fact I think a lot of people won't actually use those functions and they will still upload their photos, videos etc. to Facebook, Twitter etc. using the web browser. So it would be nice being able to upload folders and files to Facebook using just Explorer and it would be more, I'd say, modern. It's just like a "send via e-mail", but now it's for social networks. A little bit like the social integration of Windows Phone 🙂

  28. I love the "up" button, glad it's back.  Looks like more great stuff coming with Windows 8.  Can't wait!

  29. Toby says:

    The ribbon is a nice shiny new UI with big buttons and lots of color, but how will it work on a notebook with limited real estate?  Given that we're moving so much into mobile computing, I don't understand why they'd sacrifice so much real estate.

  30. Donfuy says:

    I'm glad to see coherence is finally coming back to Windows. I also love how the new Explorer works, although I have to admit the address bar looks kinda awkward with the ribbon.

    Very curious about those always-changing designs of the window managing buttons up there.

    Keep up the great work.

  31. Omega says:

    Wow, this is really going to drive the market for 3rd party explorer replacements.  Ribbon interface is just too busy.

  32. Max Trinidaud says:

    I agree with Keith…  PowerShell is more superior than the CMD.exe.  It would be a sin to leave it out of Windows 8.  Please, include a "Open PowerShell Prompt" on the File Menu. 🙂

  33. Guest says:

    how about the status bar ? we need : total space in the view and  free space on disk !

  34. Yannick says:

    Hi, Why don't you update the icons ? especially the so long yellow icon for folder. The UI is very important for people and you should not forget that.

  35. Martin says:

    One more thing: An archive should be selected right after it was created, because it's very likely that the user wants to deal with it (e.g. move it to an USB drive, email it) *right after* it was created.

  36. Shehan Neomal Fernando says:

    Keep it up Microsoft people, you all are doing great.

  37. Sunwook Park says:

    Nice improvement but users should be able to choose location of details pane to bottom or side because many users never use Windows Explorer in full screen mode.

  38. Robert4WPF says:

    I've yet to find a user where I work who likes the Ribbon in Office, and I can't imagine we'll like it better in Explorer.  I've been told frequently by Microsoft people at TechEd over the years that "once you get used to it, you'll love it".  Well, it has been quite a few years, we're used to it and still don't love it.  Aside from being a terrible waste of screen real-estate (but thank you for adding the collapse button!), the main problem we have with it is that it has no logical hierarchy by which to find infrequently used commands.  In a menu, we have a top list of options, followed by progressively more specialized sub-menus that flow visually top to bottom.  With the Ribbon, the top level is still there but the sub-levels are progressively more randomly arranged and difficult to quickly scan for the command we need.  One good work-around I've seen is a Command Search text box that filters the Ribbon to just matching commands.

    Another Ribbon issue is that the hard-coded choice of which commands go where is very frustrating.  With Toolbars we could usually re-arrange things to match our needs.  I might actually like the Ribbon if I could move my commonly used commands where I wanted them.  Further, toolbars were small enough that you could have almost all of your common commands available at once, instead of having to tab around like in the Ribbon.  One click has become at least two, usually more as my guess as to what Ribbon tab the command is on is frequently wrong.

    In Explorer, I exclusively use keyboard shortcuts, the menu (thank goodness it was possible to make it "always visible" still in Win7) and context menus.  Command bars, Ribbons, and other fluff just take up space I'd rather use to see files.

    I think a better solution to the Touch UI problem would be to create a new visualization for traditional Menus that was touch friendly.

  39. pradeeplive says:

    Hello Steven,

    1) Why not provide a tab in the explorer ribbon pan as Office ribbon provides for addins. That would be great for power users. The add-ins tab will be displayed, only if any add-in is installed.

    2) Regarding the colour scheme/theme of the explorer. I think it looks outdated, Office 2010's ribbon has much fresher look than the above Windows 8's.

    3) Any changes made in the file search algorithm? time for Indexing and stuff like that..

    4) The back and forward buttons are cornered and hanging somewhere. I think it will be better, if they were made somewhat larger and become part of the ribbon..

  40. Explorer in Windows 8 is extremely dynamic and I like it. However a little thing I notice that the blue theme of the ribbon and Aero color scheme (not in this case) will somehow  unfit with each other like Aero with pink color and the ribbon with that blue look. So I would suggest the change by two options:

    Option #1 : Give ribbon option to change with three standard colors (gray, black, blue) like the ability of the ribbon in Microsoft Office 2007/2010 because at least it has the gray (colorless color) which would be fit in all color of Aero scheme.

    Option #2: Let the ribbon be adaptive when automatically change their color according to Aero main color scheme. For example: if I change Aero scheme color to pink, the blue theme of ribbon would change to pink or some short of light pink to fit with the whole theme as well.

    And I also wonder why the team doesn't want to show the new start menu logo without the orb since it was recognized at the previous post. It would be nice, if the team remove it because since Windows 7 official logo (not Windows 7 start orb) the orb is already gone so there no reason to keep it in this version.

  41. Yo Momma says:

    We've known about this since the 1st Windows 8 leak… scratch that, before that, we had screenshots…

  42. Yo Momma says:

    Not just that, but if you squinted you could see this in already released official Microsoft videos of Win 8…

  43. Nazmus Shakib Khandaker says:


    I think what you have done with explorer is brallient. It is neat to see the "hidden gems", as you mention it, surface, some of which I didn't even know existed!

    I agree that Windows XP had the best Explorer UI (functionality and convenience wise) up to this date, and the ribbon brings much of that functionality back without overwhelming the UI or cluttering up the interface.

    I do have one request, though. It is something that I was hoping that the Windows team would adress after seing the Windows Ribbon in Windows 7 and Live Essentials 2011. I believe the MS Office 2010 team has done an excelent job at streamlining the ribbon's size and making it look very clean. I was hoping Windows Ribbon would adapt the Office 2010 ribbon. Here are my reasons: Office 2010's ribbon takes less realestate than does Windows Ribbon. Office 2010's ribbon looks cleaniner and simpler than does Windows Ribbon.

    Furthermore, one thing I like about Office 2010's ribbon that I would love to see implimented in Windows is the ability to change colors. I would love to see an universal option to have a black, blue, and a silver version of ribbon that would be applied to the Windows Ribbon all across the board. It is great that we can color the Aero Glass, but we have little control over the color of other UI elements, like the ribbon.

    Thanks for sharing some of your Windows 8 Development stories with us and reading our comments. I will be sure to continue following your developments and supporting Windows and its community for years to come.


  44. Jean-Marie says:

    Excellent update to Explorer !

    I am one of the guys who have 'given up' on Explorer, but this may make me come back.

    I cannot imagine using Explorer in any other way than 2 open windows side by side, as dragging files using the folder hierarchy is not practical at all.

    So, the "must have" feature for me is the ability for Explorer to remember the position of its windows (note the plural) between sessions. Remembering the current directory in each window would also be very useful.

    Thanks for sharing your vision.

  45. EqOrbit says:

    I am curious, how is the data collected ?   From focus group, data dumps, or plain snooping?

  46. Joe says:

    Can we toggle the ribbon on and off? I personally do not like the ribbon interface and prefer menus. Will I be able to switch from ribbon to menu?

  47. When I first read "ribbon" I thought "NOOOOOOO!".

    But the feature you put in there are cool and I think you have done a good job.

    Perhaps the ribbon icons could have more space: they look like a little messy to me.

  48. Oh, I forgot one more thing that the ribbon in windows 8 has less transparent glassy look than Office 2010's one which not really nice. because at Office 2010's ribbon with Aero enabled the its ribbon changes to transparent with white linear gradient . Hope the team would consider that or some other creative stuff and I will wait for some new hovering animation  as well.

    This is example of glassy ribbon look in Office 2010  with the gradient highlighted in red square…/drag.png

  49. Jay says:

    Looks awesome! At the same time, was a little disappointed in seeing no support for a tabbed interface.

  50. Great job! I really like the new implementation of the ribbon in Explorer, and the newly exposed features will make things more accessible for everyone. I can't wait to try it for myself!

  51. Raf says:

    Great work but … common questions from the users are:

    – will you support *lossless* picture rotation?

    – will you support tiff multipage format (starting from vista it's a lost feature)

    Consequent questions from developer are:

    – how hard is extending this shell? Explorer.exe extensions were either undocumented or very hard to create (I mean to create a stable version).

  52. Airn5475 says:

    Another skeptic here when I saw the ribbon.  It makes the window seem top heavy.  

    I was also worried about losing screen real estate.  Your comparison (22 files vs 24 files) changed my mind on that issue.  Great job on claiming back unused space!

    With that being said, I am still all for the change.  Keep up the good work!

  53. Jon says:

    I forgot to say that seeing an extra 2 files (or so) doesn't help me at all. To see more, I'd use the change view, and use that frequently when necessary. Removing successful UI for and extra 2 visible files doesn't make sense to me.

  54. Noah Coad says:

    Instead of cmd.exe or PowerShell, how about giving the option to specify the command prompt of choice?  I use Take Command along with PowerShell.

  55. Tommaso says:

    I wrote a lengthy post explaining why I don't like at all this design, but I soon realized that what I don't like about it is turning back to an old and clunky interface, when a lot of better ideas could be attempted.

    I find the "expanded ribbon" interface to be really poorly designed, cluttered and visually distracting.

    And yeah, you can disable a lot of it (I can stand the "reduced ribbon" at least) but just look at this from telemetry data – how many people actually CUSTOMIZE Explorer?

    In my experience with inexperienced people, that something around 0%, and forcing a cluttered interface on them looks like a mistake to me.

    Ribbon is a great tool in an inherently complicated tool such as an editor, be it Word, Excel, or even Paint… but what I want from explorer is being beautiful to look at, and to give me exactly what I need, and this interface just gives me everything.

    And that's just a pity when this comes from the same guys (or their colleagues) that invented Metro, or IE9.

    Bottom line: please design Explorer to be like its cousin – A BROWSER. Content should be king.

    My two cents.

  56. dude says:

    I hate the color scheme. WinNT was kind of ugly, but much easier on the eyes.

  57. I've stopped using ZIP files on my machine because they are lousy at compressing code. 7-zip does a much better job at compressing code files. Could you make a way to make the compress button have a customize-able function call such that I can plug in a 7-zip or winrar call instead of the rather lousy ZIP format?

  58. Yannick says:

    Explorer, Windows 8 should have a design more oriented metro style.

  59. Brent says:

    I can see the benefit for a lot of users. But personally I'd prefer an option to collapse it most of time and bring it back when needed.

  60. Jhabril Harris says:

    "Except solitare" lol XD

  61. TJ says:

    I really like the look. It takes up a lot of screen real estate, but with a 1920×1200 main monitor that isn't an issue for me. Plus I won't likely use the ribbon with the other great feature…QAT. A lot of people above are complaining about the screen real estate. The likely did not read the article. Double click on the active tab and the icons go away leaving you a very svelte bar at the top.

    I think the QAT is a great idea for those with limited real estate though. If you add some of the features that people mentioned above such as share to Facebook this could be an extremely functional toolbar for any user with a modest familiarity with short-cut keys and context menus. For me, I would put some share items such as email to and burn to disk in that bar since the basic file operations I do more quickly with shortcuts.

    The other thing that I wanted to mention from a comment above is the desire for view of pics or playback of video in the preview pane.

    Overall nice changes for everyone. Ribbon for average users who have no interest in shortcut keys and the QAT for the more experienced user who wants some customization. Keep up the good work.

  62. Giulio says:

    Ribbon is horrible, from a newbie prespective it looks complicated with all these buttons, colors and so on.

    Keep it simple

    I agree with tommaso

  63. If people want the classic interface, let them have it, just don't update it with new commands. This way, over time, they will move over the the new interface to get new features, but if they really need to get something done some day they can just jump back in to the old interface. With Office, many, many commands were removed from the Ribbon that used to be in the menu's. In fact, the help even said to access the command I was looking for from an icon added to the quick access toolbar. If there were a classic mode, I could just quickly jump to that mode, do the work I need, and move on with life instead of hunting for the feature that I know is there, but don't have the time to find right now.

  64. I also agree with Keith Hill regarding an option for 'Open Powershell prompt here'.  Powershell has been growing rapidly and many Microsoft products now depend on it.  Making it more prevalent in the UI would go a long way in promoting the usage of such a great tool.

  65. Jeff Miles says:

    Windows Explorer in Windows 8 looks great, and I'm very excited to use it.

    One comment I have that ties in is regarding Windows Search. We've been waiting for Microsoft to support Windows Search with DFS paths for a long time, and I'm really hoping to see this in Windows 8 (and the related server OS).

    System Administrators world wide would be hailed as heroes if a user could navigate to a network path (on a DFS share), do a search and have fully indexed results.

  66. What about the useful "resize" picture available only for powerToys? OR better yet, when the sharing option comes along, provide the capability to fit the picture in a single email. I know that we have facebook and all, but my mom doesnt really use anything other than email

  67. err says:

    uhm, is this a joke? that ribbon isn't _really_ going into windows 8's explorer, right? it's not april…. 🙁

    the complexity, busy-ness and butt ugly paintjob of windows is finally making the cost of the up-front familiarity hit experienced when switching to the mac worthwhile

  68. Randy says:

    Looks really good and I support making more features visible, but maybe the ribbon should be collapsed by default and expand on hover of the tabs (as opposed to having to click on the tabs to show a minimized ribbon like you do in Office)?  Most users do not need most of those commands so it would keep it simpler looking for them, while still allowing easy access to it for power users without requiring an extra click (just a brief hover over the tab).

    I also like the gradual transparency gradient into the tab area that Office 2010 introduced, please keep that as well.

    With all the focus on the new Metro-like touch UI, glad to see solid improvements and attention are still being given to the standard UI.

    Thanks for these very informative and frequent posts.

  69. Could Explorer borrow from Outlook in how it previews files? That works really well. In fact, if you could allow the ribbon to change, or have the Explorer ribbon minimize and the appropriate Office ribbon display/appear when previewing an office document that would be great. It would allow me to manage my files like I manage my emails. I could have a object-oriented approach to my files instead of an application-oriented approach as I'm forced to have now.

  70. File systems! All righty. Are we still going to keep the stupid 20 years old legacy hierarchy file system? Be bold people! Create the new world! User's don't need to know where a file is physically located on their computers. Thy should only be able to have the file file when they need it. Users don't care about their file storage on their phone. Now is the time. you had libraries in Windows 7. That was the first step. Musics, Photos and … were in a library regardless of their actual location. I know WinFS was a failure, but it was so because MS was not bold enough and did not push it though.

    Believe that "Organizing files is some thing that computers can do better than humans can".  Keep the Windows Explorer for the old tech guys such as us, but users don't really need to create and maintain a folder structure. That's why you see lots of crazy folders and files on typical users desktop. I bet every time that you buy a new laptop and copy your documents to the new one it takes ages to organize your docs too, and you still have a folder of old files you carried around for years from your old computers.

    I'm a windows user, always have been and will be. But I adore Steve Jobs. He is bold and he made some changes happen that others did not have the courage to, take natural scrolling as an example.

    Remember that every single car has a glove closet just because somebody made one in a car long time ago [probably because he did not have a better idea for that space or people needed gloves to keep their hands clean while driving].

  71. Billy O'Neal says:

    @Brent: That option is there. (There are even screenshots of it!)

  72. Billy O'Neal says:

    @Brent: That option is there. (There are even screenshots of it!)

  73. @Jeff Miles made a great suggestion. If explorer could keep an index of files in a folder in the folder like it does with thumbnails that would make network and removable drives searches wonderful and easy. I actually wish that other image management programs would make use of the Thumbs.db files and certainly if there was an Index.db file that would be a wonderful thing.

  74. Michael says:

    Yes, what old people needed was more buttons.

  75. Martin M says:

    Wow, that looks amazing. I just wonder how much people will ove the ribbons. Wherever they turned up i know many people turning away.. I just hope this will finally provide the breaktrhough for this amazing piece of UI design.

  76. All of this is fine but unfortunately, the UX is by far not enough to fight in the tablet war. I hate having to say this but this is still the same old Windows UX that has been there for years now.

    The change must be far more aggressive. The widgets are outdated and not suitable at all for a non-mouse driven experience. Please wake up.

  77. Chen says:

    How can you be sure that your "hundreds of millions" of users actually represent a well spread distribution of user types. I would guess that power users more often are paranoid and aware of sharing data, including telemetry, so they would more often turn that "feature" off.

    This alarm triggered me when the Internet Explorer team had some statistics that 90%+ users had maximum 3 tabs open. LOL, everyone that has more than 3 tabs open has moved on from IE long ago. Might not have the same effect in windows as for IE but still something to consider.

    I also have to say that your nr of files comparision is fabricated in favor for win8. 1. In windows 7 you are in a library folder which removes 2-3 files worth. Normal folders don't have the first header. 2. The details pane is very large, it can be resized to show 2 more files and still contain 3 rows of details (most file types don't need more). (Although i still like the new details pane).

    Ribbon hotkeys…better than nothing and easy to find but requires keys to be pressed in sequence. Can be a bit messy for commonly used combinations. I hope the old hotkeys still work as well. Hotkey for new textfile would be awesome, the same way ctrl+shift+n does new folder in win7.

    I kindof like the ribbon for not commonly used commands, today i learned that explorer had an invert selection function because it was exposed in your ribbon, i've never even taken a look at the edit-menu in win7. For commonly used commands i don't really see the point, i think even my grandma knows ctrl+c/v/x for copy cut paste. If not they know how to drag the files.

  78. TheTechFan says:

    Thank you very much for your informative post, and I'm looking forward to using the "ribbonized" explorer.  However, I was confused by one thing. You referred several times to the "command bar", but it was unclear exactly what this is.  I assumed it meant the toolbar in Windows Explorer that contains the Organize and New folder buttons, but the  "Command usage in Windows Explorer" chart says that it also includes the "Refresh" command.  Does the command bar also include the navigation toolbar?

    I assume that the "NewMenu" command is the "New" context menu option, but what is the "CommandBar" command? If it refers to the command bar itself, why list it as one of the commands on the command bar?

  79. Johannes says:

    What's with a sharing button in the share tab for sharing files via the Internet, with 3rd party "tools" like dropbox or one-click hosters?

  80. Schulze-IT says:

    I didn't even recognized, that the UP-botton was not available in Windows 7, cause the Explorer is very functional. I hope Windows 8 will have a lot new short cuts. I love them at 7, especially for the window management. I am very excited and hope there will be soon a beta to test all the great new features.

    Keep on having such great ideas. The new Explorer will help all normal users to find out what the Explorer already can do, but they do not know!

  81. We sincerely hope that the Ribbon isn't Microsoft's one trick pony for its touch improvements in Explorer for tablets/slates…Please dont even try it…Because, It will be a BIG DESASTER

  82. Nike says:

    Very handy, will make a lot of stuff much easier. I'm not really a fan of the UI & color palette, I'd prefer the Office 2010 version of the ribbon (Areo instead of cornflower blue gradient).

  83. Domenico says:

    I really don't like all those buttons,i like keyboard shortcuts,that's why i'm good with the cleaness of 7..

  84. WOW! this looks great!

    Recently I moved to a TabletPC (Acer Iconia Tab W500). I normally use a FAR Manager for my file operations, but this is because I am a keyboard guy. However on a tablet I immediately moved back to explorer (I user WIndows 7 now). What I notice is a lack of things you can do by clicking your finger:) – this includes lack of Up button and other things. I think what you doing here is great!

    However what is hard to do in tablet pc – I use a capacitive screen and my finger. It is damn hard to resize  a windows or a preview pane or whatever. For this, I have to put my finger VERY precisely and this is hardly possible. What I think shoud be is some tolerance – ok, i have put my finger 3 pixels left from the border line, but most likely this means i want to move a border between explorer sections, and not to scroll inside a file list.

    And one more thing. Windows 7 has a great snap feature that allows me to quickly pin a windows to right and left part of the screen.

    Now I am using a tablet and rotate it vertically. Windows 7 still suggests to snap to right and left while snapping to top and bottom will be much more natural.

    Thank you! I hope windows 8 will fit into 2 GB of ram and 30 gb of HDD and I can install it on my Iconia at some time 🙂

  85. Tihiy says:

    Only 2 of the top 10 commands customers invoke in Explorer are available in the Command bar, the main UI element for invoking commands.

    Excuse me, what? Command bar has Organize menu, Open, Include in library, Share, Burn, New Folder. I see no Refresh there.

  86. But, i like this NON -Touch explorer UI.

  87. Jim Glass Jr says:

    Thank you so much for continuing support for the oft used, power user fav, keyboard shortcut keys! This looks very promising and usable.

  88. Usman Masood says:

    Why have all hot keys been replaced with Alt + … instead of Ctrl + …? This will be a major failure with power users. It should be reverted cleanly to old hot keys or maybe keep both.

    Sharing should have stuff like upload to SkyDrive (and other 3rd party services). No one shares through email now, or at least everyone is moving away from email as a medium of file sharing.

    Lastly, I don't know why you guys are trying to salvage Aero. Aero and Metro are completely antagonistic to each other. Please just get rid of Aero in the "Desktop" and replace it with a more Metro feel.

  89. Not just explorer, but the ENTIRE Windows 8 interface needs a revamp, in-line with a "Metro" chrome-less  look.

    I actually like the Ribbon. It brings tons of function. Now you really need to get this to a designer team and give it some style and consistency with the Metro interface design language. Explorer should be functional above all, yes, but it also needs to look clean, professional and modern. This does not.

  90. Roland S. says:

    Fantastic – love it! However, I'd like to see add-on-based contextual tabs for specific file types. For example, WinRAR could then add a contextual tab that Explorer automatically displays if a .rar file is selected. In the contextual tab, the ribbon extension from WinRAR could then offer .rar-specific commands.

  91. Clint says:

    That's an awful lot of chrome. So much colour and distraction.

    When it comes to tasks such as browsing and opening documents, almost all of it is useless. Have you not done an analysis to see what the common *activities* are, rather than invoked commands? Really, how often are people actually needing to invert file selections?

    If multiple Explorer windows are open, each with their own toolbars and what not, it would seem like a lot of wasted pixels. If 10 commands are responsible for 83% of use, couldn't they just be surfaced a little better? I use a Mac as well as a PC, and the Finder windows is very much oriented towards browsing, and as a result very streamlined and simple. The emphasis is on my files, not on chrome. It's a pity that Explorer is moving toward a file manager for advanced users.

    I do hope the ribbon is minimised by default.

  92. Tihiy says:

    >However, add-ins will not be able to plug into the ribbon UI.

    Whaaat. This is extremely lame! I'm not totally against the ribbon, but it just looks ugly and too fat for Explorer. Improvements start under the hood! You should invent a better control than ribbon and listview with checkboxes. Where are Common Controls guys from shell team? What will raymondc say?!

  93. Gary Knigge says:

    One thing that could use clarification and better user control is the Search for text option. The Windows 7 UI is less clear, I think, than Windows XP was in terms of explicitly searching for text within files from Windows Explorer. I understand that the search capabilities in Windows 7 try to make searching for text easy — you can even do it from the start menu — but it is unclear where you are currently searching, where you can search, or how to do a one-time search in an area that you don't want to (or can't) index. For example, I keep a number of scripts in a mapped drive to a webdav connection. It isn't an area I want to index because of the nature of the connection, but it would be  awesome to be able to search for text within those text-based scripts.

    The current search feature in windows 7 and it appears the search function in the upcoming 8, do not give good control for searching for text as far as I can see.

  94. Cool, but where are the "Sync" and "Web Sharing" commands of Windows 8 M2?

    Also, please include Open in Powershell in the File menu, and use the standard UAC shield for "Open CMD as administrator."

  95. @Chen – most of the existing hotkeys (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-Shift-N…) will continue to work.  Ones dependant on the old menu bar (Alt+…etc) have been changed to be optimised for (and greatly expanded upon with) the ribbon's keytips.

  96. Feature request: I would love the ability to drag-and-drop files to the breadcrumb bar, and development time permitting, including the navigation arrows to alternative folders, to be able to move/copy files to another folder. This would greatly speed my ability to sort files into their appropriate folder.

  97. Jeff says:

    Will I be able to drag and drop onto a parent folder in the smart address bar?  It frustrates me to no end that the parent folder path that's displayed can't accept drag and drop.

  98. Vitor Canova says:

    It will be very god if we can search for some menu item. Sometimes Microsoft Word hide some items from me. Microsoft Excel always hide the "Data to Columns". I never find it in the first try.

  99. Roland S. says:

    The ribbon really should be extensible. For example, I'd like to see SharePoint-specific commands in the ribbon (provided by an add-on). If Office is installed, Outlook and OneNote could add buttons to the ribbon, too.

  100. Jon says:

    I really hate the ribbon. It takes up so much space and is ugly. I dont need 50 buttons in the toolbar I use context menus. It's sad that explorer took a step back in both vista and 7. Folder view in win 7 is horrible and when you include no up button it can be very frustrating to navigate folders.

  101. Based on the Command Entry Point data, it appears ~87% of users appear to prefer minimal mouse travel when using Windows Explorer.

    While we're borrowing from Microsoft Office's UI, why not bring the Mini toolbar to Windows Explorer?  If 82% of functionality is covered in 10 commands and 55% of commands are issued through the right click menu, why not cut out the right click?  

    When someone selects a file or group of files and moves the cursor up a bit, display the Mini toolbar.  Word 2010 displays 13 commands.  Explorer only needs 10.

  102. A340-600 says:

    Move To… and Copy To… thank God those two commands are more accessible now! In Windows 7, the only way to get those two commands to appear in the right-click menu is either by editing the Registry (Scurry!) or by download a third-party app.

  103. SatoMew says:

    Wow, the new Windows Explorer in Windows 8 is totally awesome. The Ribbon UI just plain fits it, in my opinion. And I disagree with the concerns about it being too busy or sacrificing real estate, when the Ribbon has always been collapsible since it was first introduced in Office 2007. And it is not too busy at all, it just gives direct access to many functions, especially those that were previously burried in context menus, sub-menus and property sheets.

    I have a few suggestions for improving Explorer further though:

    – Why not merge the Details pane with the Preview pane? I'd like to see the details and previewing a music or video file at the same time, for example. If that causes too much noise on the Details pane, put an option there to hide the details and just leave the preview or to at least condense them a little.

    – I'd like for the filmstrip view from the Windows XP Explorer to see a return in Windows 8, as it was actually the best way of previewing image files within Explorer, due to the previews being exposed horizontally, unlike the Preview pane which is a vertical.

    – It's nice to have direct access for opening the directory in a command prompt, whether standard or elevated, but while you're at it, add two more options for PowerShell as well.

    – Can some of the search features that Vista had be restored in Windows 8? They were awesome for personalizing and fine-tuning the searches but were removed in Windows 7.

    – Make each Explorer window a different process by default. The setting is already there but disabled by default. This consumes more resources but I believe most would accept the trade-off for better stability, since if one Explorer window crashes, the others remain intact (much like Internet Explorer already does natively).

    – Since Explorer is the frontend for the shell, can we remove the context menu that pops up when clicking the title bar icon? I understand why you left back in Windows 95, since it was actually used for controlling the window in Windows up to version 3.11. However, the control buttons (minimize, maximize, and close) have been here for so long that anyone has already got used to them, thus the old menu became redundant and not so useful anymore. This is something related to the shell itself, so I don't know exactly if it would be bad to remove it completely.

    – Can file size be finally depicted using SI units, instead of binary units? Memory uses binary addressing, thus it makes sense to use powers of base 2 to quantify it. However, file size is different and can be any arbitrary value. The way it is now confuses people because Windows informs that the available space for storing data is less than what announced on the data storage medium (for example, Windows saying that there's only 4.37 GB available on a standard, single-layer DVD when the announced capacity is of 4.7 GB). If this is not feasible, then the terminology should be corrected. As it stands, file size is in fact being referred to in KiB, MiB, GiB, TiB, and not KB, MB, GB, TB, etc. due to using binary units instead of SI units (1 KiB = 1,024 bytes vs. 1 KB = 1,000 bytes).

    – Will the Ribbon UI be used in all of Explorer? That is, will it be extended to the Control Panel, Game Explorer, etc.?

    Also, still regarding the Ribbon UI, but now from a global perspective, it requires some adjustments to become even better. Consistency is a key factor for a good experience. Thus, since Aero is not being ditched but rather updated with the Metro style, make the Ribbon's elements square as well and flat as well. The font is also inconsistent with the rest of Windows so it should be changed to Segoe UI. I think that since Windows is now embracing the Ribbon UI, better integration between Windows and Office should be done as well.

  104. James says:

    Completely cluttered. You guys need someone with design skills. Teach people how to use keyboard shortcuts instead of plastering the interface with all these big/small buttons in a completely messy layout. Just horrible.

  105. cranberry says:


    Open command prompt

    Quick Access Toolbar (perhaps a good compromise for power-users that need some advanced functions but don't want waste too much screen real estate)

    Special context tabs (e.g. Disk Tools)

    Details pane with more details

    Old icons (including back/forth buttons, hope this is not the final design)

    Subjective loss of screen real estate

    Lacking extensibility (imagine Imaging software adding commands to the Picture context tab, e.g. cropping and resizing)

    As some others mentioned they wanted the ability to choose between different colors of the ribbon, I think it should be no different than with every other menu in Windows. The color should match the menu color of the UX theme in use.

    I vote for an "Open powershell prompt" too, if you could make it start a bit faster. Often, the only reason for me to use cmd.exe is to start a command-line program with some arguments. I'd love to use powershell instead, but cmd simply starts up 5x as fast.

  106. Tihiy says:

    Give us at least possibility to extend individual command like Share, Zip, View! So much customizability is lost… until hackers find a way ofc.. 😉

  107. Yes, finally the Ribbon is included in Windows Explorer. I have a question how does the Ribbon work or not work e.g. in the Control Panel? Does Windows Fax and Scan also get the Ribbon?

    Best regards

  108. This is awesome and all. I just hope the UI gets metrofied so that when viewing this side by side with the new Windows 8 interface, it won't be so glaringly archaic.

  109. Jeff Therrien says:

    I appreciate the added functionality, but it seems a bit unwieldy. When I consider the Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 side-by-side screenshot (…/4377.Figure-21-_2D00_-Real-Estate-comparison_5F00_thumb.png) Windows 7 feels lighter and more palatable to browse with. Let's not forget that the number 1 function of explorer is *exploring*, not copying/pasting or anything else. And I understand that the ribbon can be collapsed… it just seems a bit too much "in your face". Not a clean/clear browsing experience unless collapsed. Can this be improved somehow?

    I suppose more feedback and use is necessary to decide.

  110. Me says:

    "Looking good. How about you make it look consistent across Windows and Office this time?"

    I agree 100%. The Office 10 ribbon looks much better, much more modern with it's transparency. I hope this it not the final look, would be very disappointing to have no optical changes since W7.

  111. Mark Cornerstone says:

    1980 called – they want their clutter back.

    Seriously… take a step back and remove yourselves from development of this product and look at just how cluttered that image looks of Windows 8 explorer.


  112. I stopped using MS Office because of the Ribbon menus; I'd hate to do the same for Windows.  Reading is a function of spacing and size, and the Ribbon menu is a jumbled pile of different icon and font sizes and styles and the grouping is unintuitive.  After about the 12th time I found myself fruitlessly hunting through the menus for a feature I *knew* it had, I gave up.

    Since I am forced to use it at work, I am 100% sure at this point I will never learn to like it, and neither do any of my coworkers.  I'm not happy to see the worse chunk of UI in a long time start replicating, although I can't say I'm surprised.

    I do like the return of the very handy "up" button and one of the only things I really didn't like about Windows lately was the strong-arm tactics to use the Libraries folders.  Being able to turn those off will be fantastic.

  113. The forward/back buttons need to be consistent with Internet Explorer.

  114. JoeH says:

    Love the new ribbon. Fantastic work. Especially the CMD as admin here.

    Please consider adding in the extensibility of the ribbon in Service Pack 1 if you can't make it for RTM. It's worth it.

  115. Promising. A few requests though:

    (1) Most important: Please make sure that Windows Search will be able to index multiple partitions. Win 7 is so frustrating in this respect.

    (2) Could the Explorer inform us of the size of folders as well as of files? That's an unfortunate hole in Win 7.

    (3) I agree with others that the color and style of the ribbon is somewhat outdated in comparison with Office 2010 and that one should be able to customize it in accordance with the general style of Windows.

    (4) Could you please add "Show Libraries" as an option in the Navigation Pane options?

    (5) Would it be possible to add some basic options for renaming series of files?

    (6) I second Sunwook Park: it would be great if we could choose the location of the Details Pane.


  116. Promising. A few requests though:

    (1) Most important: Please make sure that Windows Search will be able to index multiple partitions. Win 7 is so frustrating in this respect.

    (2) Could the Explorer inform us of the size of folders as well as of files? That's an unfortunate hole in Win 7.

    (3) I agree with others that the color and style of the ribbon is somewhat outdated in comparison with Office 2010 and that one should be able to customize it in accordance with the general style of Windows.

    (4) Could you please add "Show Libraries" as an option in the Navigation Pane options?

    (5) Would it be possible to add some basic options for renaming series of files?

    (6) I second Sunwook Park: it would be great if we could choose the location of the Details Pane.


  117. Compugab says:

    Really good! Can't wait to try that. Windows 8 was due… can't remember :).

    However, I can only agree, there as to be a "Open Windows PowerShell" or a way to add it afterward.

  118. Aethec says:

    [Looks like my comment was lost somehow…]

    As others have said, please use Office 2010's ribbon, it looks much cleaner.

    (and please tell the Office team to fix one minor bug in Office 2010's ribbon, too – if you don't have anything in the QAT, the two bars used as delimiters still appears, and that's ugly)

  119. Peter says:

    Sorry, I have to dissent.  I really dislike this a lot.  I'll try to be constructive and explain why.  I mean no disrespect and I know you are working very hard on this.

    The ribbon takes up a lot of space.  If it is like the WPF ribbon double clicking on one of the menus will toggle the minimize setting.  It is easy to do by accident.  I am told the office ribbon behaves differently, but I am not an officer user so I cannot confirm that.

    The entire trend of adding ribbons to everything is a rough contrast to the minimalism I like so much in Windows 7 and IE9.

    Aesthetically, I also find the icons used in most ribbons to conflict with the aero glass theme.  I realize this view of mine is quite subjective and wholly divorced from the concept of ribbons.  I find these particular ribbon and icon combinations with the aero glass theme unappealing.

    I realize I am in the minority here, but thank you for reading.

  120. Visigoth says:

    The Ribbon UI is awesome fella! Stick to it, no matter what the feedback. I was one of the most fervent anti-Ribbon campaigner around, until I used Office for a couple of days. Now, I can't live without it. You just have to adapt to it, and that takes a few fays. Once you're over that hurdle, you'll love it.

    One thing I really miss though, is a tabbed UI, like many before me inquired. Can we PLEASE have some sort of a tab within Explorer? PLEASE? 🙂

  121. Joel "Jaykul" Bennett says:

    I hope that "Command Prompt" is PowerShell, 'cause I really don't need a reminder of the "good" old days…

  122. Dyegov says:

    I think it is very nice, but instead of the blue ribbon from office 2007 you should have used the white, cleaner ribbon from office 2010.

  123. neo says:

    Wow, the Ribbon UI looks great…… but no support for tabbed browsing?????

    plzzz include it!!!!!

  124. For scrolling experience by touch at Windows explorer that I saw in Building Windows 8 video #1. I think the team should give scrollbar of explorer, other windows and apps the ability to auto fade in if in use and auto fade out if not in use for a while. It will save windows some space at the necessary time. When future users will have their multi-touch mouse or multi-touch pad, Microsoft should add and improve native gesture support and its responsiveness for example :swipe to go back and forth. Since this version of windows will go for touch as well as traditional mouse and keyboard, it would be nice if the team adds some more drag-and-drop integration that make things go smoother and better. Hope IE10 and its HTML5 support will enhance its native drag-and-drop features (without plugin likes flash, silverlight, or java) as well.

  125. says:

    Going from Office 2007 to Office 2010 they changed the background color from light blue to white, and it made a huge difference in the overall look. The text and the icons looked better, and they were much easier to identify  at a glance.

    So I think that moving to a white background and black text will make a huge difference in the overall usability.

  126. Maybe it would be possible that Ribbon could change the color if  we change the Aero color.

  127. Noice says:

    I don't want to use folders anymore, please add the ability to tag ALL files!

  128. is not a new explorer … it was only corrected explorer from windows 7 … I'm disappointed

    most people here greeted the news positively, but would rather try something new.

    I saw a small tick on the right above, and I hope that it is designed to cover the whole horror of the new graphic interference in the style of ribbon.

    I like the scent design internet explorer 9 with its minimalist design, and hoped that the windows explorer will be like him, but it turned out that something terrible is reminiscent of Vista.

    I like the flat buttons "back forward" in the internet explorer 9, and here I saw this cheap again convex glass design.

    this is not a new OS ithis is a service pack

  129. Quppa says:

    I can cope with the ribbon in Explorer, but please tell me that the final styling is yet to come. The Windows Ribbon is less attractive than the Office 2007 and 2010 implementations (even if it was forked from the former), but more importantly, it's inconsistent with the rest of the Windows UI in regards to colours and menu behaviour (context menus fade-out, not in – same as Office). Right-clicking in the middle of an explorer window and getting a grey menu only to right-click on the ribbon and get a gold menu is surely not a good user experience.

    Additionally, the contextual tabs (Library Tools, etc.) not reaching up to the top of the window border looks hacky – surely the Windows team is better placed than anyone else to get this right, given that they can modify the code that draws windows. Please polish this.

  130. Quppa says:

    I can cope with the ribbon in Explorer, but please tell me that the final styling is yet to come. The Windows Ribbon is less attractive than the Office 2007 and 2010 implementations (even if it was forked from the former), but more importantly, it's inconsistent with the rest of the Windows UI in regards to colours and menu behaviour (context menus fade-out, not in – same as Office). Right-clicking in the middle of an explorer window and getting a grey menu only to right-click on the ribbon and get a gold menu is surely not a good user experience.

    Additionally, the contextual tabs (Library Tools, etc.) not reaching up to the top of the window border looks hacky – surely the Windows team is better placed than anyone else to get this right, given that they can modify the code that draws windows. Please polish this.

  131. Quppa says:

    I can cope with the ribbon in Explorer, but please tell me that the final styling is yet to come. The Windows Ribbon is less attractive than the Office 2007 and 2010 implementations (even if it was forked from the former), but more importantly, it's inconsistent with the rest of the Windows UI in regards to colours and menu behaviour (context menus fade-out, not in – same as Office). Right-clicking in the middle of an explorer window and getting a grey menu only to right-click on the ribbon and get a gold menu is surely not a good user experience.

    Additionally, the contextual tabs (Library Tools, etc.) not reaching up to the top of the window border looks hacky – surely the Windows team is better placed than anyone else to get this right, given that they can modify the code that draws windows. Please polish this.

  132. Roland S. says:

    Better colors!

    While I like the general idea of a ribbon-based Explorer, I find the icons too colorful. The icons of the Office 2010 ribbons are way more subdued, which is better. For example, the Delete icon is elegant black in Outlook 2010 but aggressively red in the Explorer ribbon.

    Remember the monochrome buttons in the Windows 2000 explorer that only became colorful on hover? Even Apple has stripped out most colors in the Lion finder, which looks much more elegant in general.

    Colors are great, of course, and they make specific buttons easier to grasp, but please use more subdued colors.

    The colorful icon set of the Explorer ribbon is a step backward and reminds me of to the Luna colors of XP.

  133. Ritesh Ranjan says:

    Great work..  great progress.. You guys rock..

    But I didnt liked share tab in the explorer, I created a design myself in Photoshop, here is the link…/sharetabnew.png

    1. Share with "people", it is very difficult to select a person with whom you want to share some file when you are on a tablet / slate device, so I used the blank space in the area to make it bigger & easy for touch based device

    2. Most people like to share there photos to Facebook & Twitter directly from Explorer..

    One thing I would like to request to All Windows 8 team,( I am not disrespecting, I am huge fan of your works) that Windows 8 is going to be on a lot of touch based devices, so why you are designing it like it is only for mouse/pointer based devices. e.g in the share that there are lot of free space but still, lot of thing/options are so tiny that It will be very difficult to tap on them on touch based device. Why you are not properly utilizing the free space to those items to be easily tappable on slates/tablets

    I understand that in may place space in not available, options/buttons are small, but what about other places when there is lot of free space, but still option/buttons are small??

    Does that mean only on the mozart of tiles (start screen) everyone will  have an awesome touch experience, and rest of the OS this experience will suck a lot, because everything else is designed according to mouse???

    I expect this answer from Windows 8 , Please reply



  134. 6205 says:

    PLEASE use Office 2010 ribbon style with  more Aero transparency on top there are ribbon tabs.

  135. Robert says:

    +1 on folder size in details view! At least allow 3rd parties be able to include them like in XP.

    +1 on keyboard shortcuts. Every component of explorer should be accessible via keyboard shortcuts.

  136. Dano says:

    I would dearly love to finally see my explorer sorting preferences be consistently utilized in the File Open/Save dialog windows spawned by applications (For instance – the explorer window that appears when I choose to open a file in Paint or Notepad). Case in point – I like to search for unknown file names by date. Having to constantly open up the 'Views' menu, select 'Details' and sort by date each and every time a file open dialog box opens is beyond tiresome. If I have turned off the 'Remember each folders view setting' in Explorer, the 'File Open' dialog view/sorting preference should default to whatever way I have chose to sort my view in Explorer previously. Or at least, this should be added as an option in the 'Folder Options' menu – something akin to 'Use Explorer View/Sorting preference for Application File/Open dialog option'

    This would be a huge time saver for folks like me who just want to view and access files in the same way no matter which application they are using.

  137. Ivmodo says:

    No "Open With …" in the Ribbon? 🙁

  138. Looks promising and I can't wait to get my fingers on it. A few suggestions/whishes from an IT Pro:

    -Please make Explorer UAC aware. It is *really* cumbersome to get prompted serveral times when you navigate a folder structure and you  don't work with the bulti-in admin… 3rd party replacements do so already…

    -I guess Windows Server "8" will be the same code base… So my whish for several windows server version has been: on a Server OS please change the default view settings in explorer, so that hidden files, system files and extension are displayed by default. While I understand that hiding these files makes sense on client/consumer OS, this makes no senes on a Server OS.

    Thank you, keep the info coming!


  139. John says:

    @Ivmodo "Open" has a dropdown menu for specifying the program, just like in Windows 7.

  140. Samy says:

    You can have similar one-click access for turning on/off the Navigation pane, Preview pane, and Details pane using following tutorial posted at website run by a Microsoft MVP:


    1./ Those Back/Forward explorer buttons should be updated to IE9 style

    2./ Merge address bar with search bar IE9 style

    3./ Attach UP button to the beginning of the address bar the same way like Refresh button is at the end and give them both similar monochrome icons like in IE9 address bar.

    (Replace IE9 bitmap resourced with IE10 when they will be different, to maintain consistancy)

  142. Quppa says:

    Oops – sorry about the triple post.

    You forgot to mention the best (rumoured) new feature of the Windows 8 Explorer: drag-and-drop support for the breadcrumb bar (apparently).

  143. Mike says:

    I hope that the folder option window also get optimized or the propertie window the harddrives and so on.

  144. D. says:

    Could you all please add an option from OSX Lion, "Create New Folder from Selected Files"?

    I find this to be a valuable and quick tool to use when you're handling large sets of files (such as pictures, music) and makes your life much easier. Thanks

  145. Lionel says:

    My requests would be:

    * PowerShell (ISE flavor for me) support in "Open command prompt", this is really important

    * updates to the Zip handling code (needs: lots of performance improvements, better Unicode handling, not failing for paths with special characters, Deflate64 support)

    * long paths support ( > 256 chars) in explorer.

  146. I'd like to add weight the chorus of people asking for sharing tools for modern web services. (The tab looks like it was designed ten years ago.)  I know you said you aren't allowing general Ribbon extensibility by plugins, but it seems like you could hack in something specific for the Sharing tab… or if nothing else, just ship with tools for the most web popular web services.

  147. Richard Siddaway says:

    Why open Command Prompt?

    Why not open PowerShell?

  148. Charleston Sityar says:

    This is a great update for Windows Explorer, just make sure the ribbon (as what you call them on Office) have a hide option 😀

  149. Adrian says:

    Yes, it's very good, but why don't you make improvements in the Windows Media Player, mkv support maybe, or in notepad and paint? Why won't you take ideas from Paint.NET or Notepad++ to make advanced tools in Windows? Oh, and another question why don't you remove junk in Windows 8, like notepad, you have wordpad which is more advanced, why do you keep it both? Wish you good day of coding!

  150. One thing that I miss from XP was the ability to immediately see the amount of hard drive space taken up by the contents of a folder. If you just open up your %userprofile%Music folder, for instance, there are files in there that take up space. But in Windows 7, the only way I can find to figure out how much space those files take up is to highlight them, which, for an unorganized folder as that, is tedious.

    So my feature request to you is this: In the Status Bar (which I realize isn't enabled by default and is probably be deprecated), can you just show the amount of space that files in the current directory take up?

    That aside, I love the new explorer and look forward to getting my hands on it!

  151. sreesiv says:

    Good post !!! The UI certainly looks very nice and eye candy!!!

    One suggestion could be, when a main tab (Home, Share OR View) is open, the user has a context about why such a tab and the UI elements inside the tab has come up, and may be knows what to do with those tabs and UI elements inside them. All this because he might have selected that tab.

    But for contextual tabs/sub tabs, their arrival is based on a change the user has involuntarily taken, like for eg, clicking the search box. I guess if there is some sort of a visual cue to the user that this contextual tab pertains to a particular UI option/action, then it would be very nice. I am not sure how this can be acheived in a clever and efficient manner, but such a cue will be very helpful and increase clarity to the user. One way could be to use the same colour code used for the contextual tabs to highlight/enhance the UI option related to it, but I am not so sure. You guys are the UI yodas 🙂

  152. Roland S. says:

    I hope the ribbon offers a clickable command for permanently deleting files. Until now, permanent deleting always requires to hold down the SHIFT key when invoking the Delete command, which is time-consuming. A specific command for permanent deleting (which could be added to the QAT if desired) would be perfect.

  153. r3loaded says:

    It's really nice to see plenty of stuff for power users – keep up the good work!

    My question is – what would Explorer look like for Windows 8 tablets? Will there be a simplified Metro UI version?

  154. Jan Kučera says:

    I like the idea with PowerShell prompt as well.

    And I miss Vista Explorer's features as well 🙂 namely search, stack by view, and especially the fixed favorite locations in the folder tree. I thought that's the point of favorites – that they are always immediately available…

    @Ivmodo: I believe the "Open with…" is in the Open command dropdown.

  155. – The "Up" button is useless. Give us an option to remove it. This is navigation style from the 90s. Breadcrumb is 1000% times faster.

    – please bring tabs in the Explorer.

    Is the auto arrange disabled again or is this blocker still not fixed? And is the sort-header visible in all view modes (not only the Details view-mode) again?

  156. Mikhail says:

    It'll nice to selected the archive after zip operation.

  157. Mason Stewart says:

    Oof. This looks awful. Glad I don't use Windows.

  158. Marco says:

    Wow, this is really depressing. Are you guys trying to lose more of your market share on purpose? That is the worst UI I've ever seen. Has anyone at Microsoft ever designed a successful interface? Obviously not. Because I'd expect something better from a freshman in college. Come on guys, get a brain!

  159. Chip says:

    A couple questions:

    1) Will 'open command prompt' let me open powershell and not cmd.exe? One is good while the other is.. a bit antiquated. 🙂

    2) Did you guys get around to making explorer.exe multithreaded or at least a little bit less prone to hangs?

  160. OK you've potentially sorted out the usability but what about the design, at the moment it's plain disgusting, it truly is I mean don't you guys have any designers at all?!

    Firstly the icons show no unity at all, no one base color that they all follow they instead actually look like they're thrown together based on resources already created for other uses. Why? The explorer is going to be the most seen UI on the whole of Windows could you not at least of dedicated some designers to coming up with a unified batch of icons?

    Now I'm sure it goes without saying that you guys are going to redesign the actual Ribbon or at least use the most recent revision of it, basically the one the guys over at the Office Team are using and not the old one being shown currently. PLEASE tell me it goes without saying?

    Also in the screenshots posted Aero is blue, suppose I make it red, pink or green? Instantly the UI looks 100x worse than it does already. INSTANTLY, not through customization, not through modded skins but by using a feature built into the OS that I'm assuming everyone uses at least once! Why not make it white so that it matches all potential colors?

    Regarding the actual address bar that's even worse, again I'm assuming it goes without saying that EVERYTHING their will be redesigned, from the back/forward buttons to the poorly position Up button. Again it goes without saying, right Microsoft? I mean you made no mention of the design in the post so I'm basically assuming that it will all change, am I naive in think so? A comment on this would be nice.

    I hate to attack any of you guys after putting so much work into something, being in software development myself i know how that can feel but this time I feel it's warranted. You've gone from a relatively nice looking explorer in Windows 7 to a complete disaster in Windows 8. The ribbon works and looks great in Office so I feel the problem is you guys, and not the control.

    The Home tab looks decent enough and I feel that could work well but the Share tab is pointless, sharing via email makes sense, making a .zip file again makes sense but fax? Are you seriously going to put an option to share via fax in such a prominent position on the UI, a technology so old some would argue it should be removed completely from the OS?

    Regarding "Share with", why make the faces and the actual control that houses them so small, you have so much horizontal real estate that it seems like a huge waste of space. Not even going to mention how poor the icons match the surrounding UI (kinda just did).

    I should note however that the details pane for images looks great, I'm assuming you've done the same for other common files such as music and video files?

    Loved your work up until now and again I should state that I hesitated to post this as it will most certainly come across as negative but I'm merely giving you a honest opinion, nothing personal.

  161. Scott Pollard says:

    I miss the display of available drive space in status bar.

  162. Billkamm says:

    Please NO MORE RIBBONS! 🙁

  163. Loving that you are working on the Explorer. It can be improved for sure, as you pointed out.

    I do have 2 comments on your new design.

    First that toolbar is way to big. I don't know if it's implemented in the Ribbon control, but why is it high as three commands (small buttons). Can't it be downsized to 2 commands high. With that change you can probably remove the descriptions. The whole point of icons is that they should say more then words, so why put the also on there. Saves another few pixels.

    Also the group names, can be placed in a better location, saving again a whole new line.

    Why not remove the quick access toolbar and only show it when the ribbon is minimized.

    The second thing I don't like, is the placement of the url / folder bar (don't know the real name). In W7 it was nicely placed with Aero Glass on top. Actually the whole glass is removed from the explorer, why? Maybe use it in the statusbar below…

    Hope you read my comments. Keep up the great work. J

  164. Stephen says:

    This was a bit frustrating to read/watch, but I think the frustration is that this is just windows, it isn't anything different and that is fine. The sad thing from all this is some really stupid decision has been made to try and make windows this common platform that runs tablet devices and desktop devices, despite the fact you guys saw and had the balls to make the windows phone its own platform, you are dragging the entire classic windows paradigm with the metro tablet paradigm.

    I would hope you guys realize this fault and actually do a windows phone like windows tablet device, and let developers start on a fun new exciting platform (if anything you would want to come from the windows phone base), and carry on as you are with the windows desktop.

    I know there isn't a chance in the world this will happen, you guys had developers and other parties working on apps/devices and such that depend on this happening.. but it feels like you've doomed the windows tablet OS, and its really bizarre, because the windows phone was a great example of microsoft getting some balls, and actually getting some credit for doing an amazing job.

  165. @cranberry

    IE9 back and forth button style isn't fit for explorer.

    This is my suggestion regarding to the back and forth button style in windows 8's explorer and other windows 8 apps in which Media Player 12 "play button" orb style in windows 7 is ideal consideration for all orb style in windows 8 apps including the orb of back and forth button expect the orb of start menu which needs to be removed.

    Here is my suggesting picture:…/orbstylesuggestion.jpg

  166. @cranberry

    IE9 back and forth button style isn't fit for explorer.

    This is my suggestion regarding to the back and forth button style in windows 8's explorer and other windows 8 apps in which Media Player 12 "play button" orb style in windows 7 is ideal consideration for all orb style in windows 8 apps including the orb of back and forth button expect the orb of start menu which needs to be removed.

    Here is my suggesting picture:…/orbstylesuggestion.jpg

  167. @cranberry

    IE9 back and forth button style isn't fit for explorer.

    This is my suggestion regarding to the back and forth button style in windows 8's explorer and other windows 8 apps in which Media Player 12 "play button" orb style in windows 7 is ideal consideration for all orb style in windows 8 apps including the orb of back and forth button expect the orb of start menu which needs to be removed.

    Here is my suggesting picture:…/orbstylesuggestion.jpg

  168. Tom says:

    Glad to see File is a menu and not a backstage. I am not a fan of the backstage in Office 2010.

    Curious about your thoughts on user expectations and different behavior between Office and Explorer since both File "buttons" look the same but result in different behavior.

  169. DanielM2 +100500

    Ribbon is ugly. It would be better to make buttons like in Windows XP. It takes too much space. In IE9 you want to focus on content and remove almost all controls (and that's why it looses it's market share). In Explorer you want to put all possible commands on screen. Looks like Explorer just vomited on screen.

    Btw, there is no designers in MSFT. (It's so obvious!) They hire other companies to draw icons.

    Take a look at the simplicity of Finder. They also used t make it ugly like that in OS X 10.0 – 10.2 and then made it compact again.

    "They just don't have style" – Steve Jobs about Microsoft.

  170. Chris says:

    These improvements look great, and as your first line says, "Windows Explorer is a foundation of the user experience of the Windows desktop". With that being said, why are your engineers ignoring a well-known usability bug in win7 that you have admitted you are aware of, but don't seem to care to fix?

    Bug report:…/bug-when-expanding-folders-in-explorer-server-2008-r2-and-windows-7

    More feedback:…/50a81b05-da98-4d55-821d-55ffbbd0e998

    Please don't leave us Win7 users behind while everyone at Microsoft is gunning for Win8. Your answer to the 'folder jump bug' cannot simply be to upgrade to Win8 if you want it fixed. That is unacceptable.

  171. I don't know somehow there are duplicate of my comment. Hope I can remove it!!!!

  172. loved all "new" freatures, but I just wish that the "navigation pane" is set to "Expand to open Folder" by default (I mean, not for me, I know how to turn it on/off) but for the ordinary user of PC.

  173. Vivek says:

    The biggest pain has always been switching between the windows of the explorer. I wish we had improved the experience around this. Tabbing and tab grouping will make the experience better.

    For other tasks, I hardly take my hand away from keyboard. I will minimize the ribbon to save real estate.

  174. Daniel says:

    Thanks for working this out. But will these shortcuts be accesible via ALT + shortcutkey like in Office? Or will you add some new ones (STRG + KEY)?

  175. Tuxplorer says:

    Thank you so much for adding the Ribbon to the Windows Explorer. I have been waiting for this ever since I first used Ribbon in Office 2007, and immediately fell in love with it. All my friends and colleagues simply love the ribbon in Office, and I can't even imagine EVER going back to using those old-fashioned ugly  menus/toolbars after using the beautiful and productive Ribbon.

    Also, contrary to some people's belief, Ribbon DOES NOT take up more vertical space. In fact it has been proven over and over again that toolbars and menus take up more vertical space than the Ribbon.

    Only one problem with the new explorer though — why have you brought back the redundant "UP" button? Windows Vista/7/8 has the beautiful and elegant Breadcrumbs Bar which is FAR more powerful than the up button. Please provide us an option to remove the ugly "UP" button.

  176. tN0 says:

    This isn't really the right way, in my opinion. Adding more complexity will not help. There are way too many drawbacks with such a design.

    The very first sentence in this article from Mr. Sinofsky shows that there seems to be a wrong thinking about this. To be honsest, i'm really shocked! No substantial changes in the Explorer in the last years? Well, Vista removed the classic menus, introduced a context aware Command Bar, we got search built right into it and the details pane was a brilliant solution to check and edit meta data right inside of Explorer. Why is this getting underestimated so much? In my opinion, you are moving backwards with this design.

    – the current Explorer is very popular (as is W7 in general) and from my perspective works pretty well. So there is not a need for a fundamental re-design. This is a HUGH risk.

    – the Ribbon was designed because the old Office menus and tool bars where too complex. The Windows 7 Explorer is as easy as it could get. So why even consider the Ribbon to be a solution? It is a serious question.

    – did the team even consider improving the Command Bar? Because some important things like keyboard access were just not implemented and adding 4 icons: Copy, Paste, Delete, Properties to the Command Bar would have solved 80% of the problems mentioned.

    – the Ribbon was never designed to work for simple and browser-like apps. The normal people would now spent more time searching for a command than they would have spent before. The Home-Tab, for example shows me more than 23 commands at once! With things like "Copy path" or "Rename". That are not necessary because you can copy the path from the address bar and you can rename a file by clicking on it.

    – the focus moves away from the content to the user interface. This is contrary to the trend and to what the Metro-design language was about on other products

    – people will have to deal with local files in general less than now. So the interface should become even simpler, not more complex.

    – while there is sometimes more than 2/3 of the screen real estate empty, the icons on the upper left corner are very small. This will not work well in a touch scenario

    – why didn't the author mentioned the amount of steps a user would need to do common tasks? Like open a tiff with Photoshop?

    – the author totally missed that Windows Explorer is also available in every Save and Open dialog. How will a full Ribbon work in such small windows? Or will we get a different UI there?

    – the name "Home" may confuse users in such a program because it will not take you back to home.

    – the headers for the contextual tabs are just useless. Why can't the tab for Search not be green with "Search tools" on it? The same for Library Tools.

    – my final concern: this is almost exactly how the Ribbon worked in Office 2007. Even *if* the Ribbon would be a good solution, why didn't you optimized the concept and improved the 2007 Ribbon? Why put things inside the title bar? Why do we need the group labels under even group of commands? Why 3 rows of small icons?

    This doesn't feel right. Putting a 4 year old interface that was designed for editing complex documents inside every window, open and save dialog for just looking and choosing files, may not work. I'm very disappointed that the team seemed to have leaved the path Microsoft were on with Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7.

  177. WndSks says:

    Can you bring back subfolder support to the SendTo menu (expand folders with shortcuts). This worked from Win95 to 2003 and you broke it in NT6!

    @Tuxplorer: The up button is not redundant! It is always in the same place, you have to think to use the breadcrumbs bar.

  178. This is a huge improvement and excited about Win8, from pausing file transfers to the new ribbon, MS has done a great Job. As a Microsoft Partner we are excited to start offering this to our clients. Its going to be a Tablet year with the new MetroUI, alot of our clients are already ramped up for this.

    Keep the new stuff coming!!!

  179. Robert4WPF says:

    A few points I forgot in my first post:  

    The comparison showing 24 files in Win8 versus 22 in Win7 is a poor one, since the Win7 UI was so wasteful to begin with.  Compare to Windows XP with the annoying "Standard buttons" pane turned off, and Win8 does not compare as favorably on screen real-estate.  While being able to hide the Ribbon might get us back to where XP was, XP did it while still being functional via menus.

    On the touch friendlyness of Ribbon–not so much, for commands with the small icons inline with text.  In the end I really don't think having a single UI for touch and non-touch users is a good plan; you either make the buttons too small for touch, or waste massive screen real-estate for non-touch.

    Another question, with vertical screen space as valuable as it is, why insist on a horizontal Ribbon in the first place?  Why not move everything to the sides or to a dockable toolbar?  Why not an MDI-like interface where several minimalist explorer windows can share a common Ribbon?  If we're going touchscreen, top-docked Ribbon is a horrible UX, as the user's hand covers most of the screen while using the commands.

  180. NotEvenFunny says:

    Ribbon – seriously? Please, leave an option to use "Classic"-mode and hide this abomination.

    I just can't understand how you have decided to make another ribbon, when even your own research shows more than 80% use context menu + hotkeys.

  181. Lee says:

    This is by far the biggest, convoluted mess of interface elements I have ever seen in an OS. Who have you hired for UI? They should be fired immediately. I had to make sure this wasn't an April Fool's joke.

    I just don't understand how Microsoft can continuously release sub-standard products and yet still be in business.

  182. cmd.exe says:

    Please give some love to cmd.exe.

    Would love to have proper auto completion, history, pipes, and useful commands like grep.

    Just put add a bash.exe and we'll be alright

  183. Vito Macina says:

    I like this "ribbon" feature and i want to suggest a little thing 🙂

    It's possible to integrate a quick menu for rapid actions like Office 2007 / Office 2010 when a file/files are selected?

    Sorry for my bad English

  184. I am loving the idea of using the Ribbon for Explorer.  So glad the UP button is back!  I dig the copy location button as well.

    I do think you'll have a lot of people asking to be able to customize the layout/add new tab groups.  The ability to do so between Office 2007 and 2010 is what made the Ribbon excellent.

  185. war59312 says:

    Nicely done! Looking forward to Beta 1 bits.

  186. Great! It's really nice to see all the improvements you've been making especially with the optimisations that have been made for power users 🙂

  187. Jason MSFT says:

    Full disclosure: I work in Office.

    My feedback:

    +1 on PowerShell option in the file menu

    Ribbon knit-picks:

    * Change Paste button to be left of Copy. Usability study says make more common things closer to the left and then it's also in the same place as Office for us that suffer from severe cases of muscle memory. 🙂

    * Along the same lines, the MoveTo and CopyTo options seem like they should be to the right of Delete and Rename and could possibly be the small type of buttons since your user data shows they're less used.

    * Minimize it by default. Content is king and styling will go better with the minimalism in IE9

    * The ribbon still appears to be based on Office2007 look. Can it be updated to look more like the modern Office2010 ribbon? Bonus points if it matches the installed-office style thereafter.

    * It would nice if the ribbon File menu color matched the theme…

    -1 on the up button. I hope there's a way to get rid of it. I can see how the ribbon can be a little overwhelming at first and this, to me, is just another button. It actually duplicates functionality. Win7 address bar has this feature (just click the folder "button" to the left of the current folder). This is just another button to accidently click.

    +1 on selecting zip file after it's created.

    Can we have an option for searching in the file (instead of just by file properties)?

    Nice work with the option to make QAT a "toolbar" under the ribbon. With this kind of feature, I'm surprised to still be hearing gripes about how much people hate the ribbon. After all, you're making a way for them to almost never have to use it! AND you proved it could actually use LESS screen real estate than the old version!

    Really sad to hear the lack of extensibility for 3rd party plugins. Would have been nice to "Share on Skydrive", or have 3rd party options for zipping and encrypting…

  188. Where's the beef says:

    Just give me a non brain-dead cmd.exe.

  189. Bradavon says:

    The ability to Hide the Ribbon and just use the Quick Access Toolbar will be very handy. I only use a handful of Explorer features most of the time.

    I leave it enabled in Word/Excel/PowerPoint but have hidden it in Outlook. It takes up way to much space taking away from e-mail folders. This is okay though because I just hide it and use QAT most of the time. I use even less features on a daily basis in Outlook.

  190. @DanielM2

    I agree. One of the headache issue of Windows is the style of it. Since Windows is still in development, the team will have time and should catch up with that. No matters, Aero theme, Metro theme, basic theme, or icons. they need to be unified as a style that make Microsoft unique and sophisticated.

    The problems I see so far in explorer is the ribbon with its blue color  scheme which not customizable like ribbon in MS office 2007/2010 which has three color options (silver/ black/blue). Blue color of ribbon will make two colors -Aero windows color and ribbon color sometimes conflict.

    Icon problem is that sometimes the icons have heavy 3D look like yellow folder with shadow or hard disk drive etc, sometimes they are totally 2D flat which messing in style. It may bother your eyes and downgrade the experience too. In addition of that, let's take a look at the bitlocker icon this picture…/4705.Figure-18-_2D00_-Disk-tab-crop_5F00_2.png

    At the first glance at bitlocker icon, it's kind of messy. Without the text, I can't say what function it that– is that the hard drive? is that the yellow lock with 3D look? I mean sometime the icons need to have multiple versions according too its size. Bitlocker icon look obvious and easy recognized  if it's large but if it's small it's hard to tell and address the function in visual way.

  191. None says:

    Please keep the back/forward/up/location bar at the top.

  192. Sasha says:

    Come on !

    Ribbon UI is too crowded and complicated..when you look at it for the first time it gives you a headache

    what happened to simplicity and Neat designing Factor ?

    the things you did with wp7 ?

    At least if your'e going to stick to ugly win xp style crowded UI put an optional metro Theme in windows for the 99% minority of people who are constantly asking for it !!!

  193. Bradavon says:

    Good point. Paste should be left of Copy!

  194. Joe van Zyl - MSFT says:

    @David Wilhelmsson and @Jeff  –  We have added dragging and dropping files and folders into the breadcrumb bar.  You will also be able to drag a folder from the breadcrumb bar to move or copy somewhere else.  Thanks for the feedback!

  195. Franco Bianchi says:

    I think that Windows 8's price should not be more than 59$ for Home Premium (if any) upgrade version.

    49€ in European countries.

    Only in this case I'd consider buying Windows 8.

    I'd like to know the pricing and versions (you call them SKU's) for Intel and Amd processors computers.

  196. asdf says:

    Can you guys:

    1. move the history buttons to the left some more to make it obey fitt's law

    2. decrease the gaps between the history buttons, urlbar, searchbar and sides of the window

    3. move the "go to parent folder" button inside the urlbar

  197. Please! Draw new icons! Look at the Apple UI Guidelines. They wrote a perfect guide for icon designers. Theese cartoonish icons looks terrible.

  198. @ Adrian

    lol it's OS X design on windows theme XD

  199. DevPlus says:

    Very Nice

  200. Adrian says:

    @ AleXandrik

    Yeah, kind of, but i had no choise

  201. Frank says:…/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a this is a pretty spot on analysis on the state of things.

  202. For add-ins, why not simply add them as "Tools", with either a tool menu open to the add-in ("Super search add-in Tools"), or with the possibility for them to be added to existing tools ("Search"), but at the end of the ribbon.

    It would really be a huge missing feature to block the add-ins to use that ribbon UI, as many users use them for some specialized tasks (debug, dev, cd burning, etc…), and that would be more coherent with what already exists with internet browsers.

  203. Joe van Zyl - MSFT says:

    @David Wilhelmsson and @Jeff  –  Although not mentioned in the post, the ability to drag and drop files and folders to the breadcrumb bar has been implemented for this release.  Thanks for the input!

  204. Please, stop saying it looks good because it does not!

    There is way too much chrome and the ribbon is way too cluttered.

    The saddest part of this is that it totally goes against the hard work and brilliant guidelines that were put in place by the Metro team.

    The Metro styling is associated to Microsoft, praised by designers and should be leveraged in order to get rid of the traditional and outdated Windows styling.

    Let's hope this is all a matter of "theming" and that someone with a deep UX vision will stand in this team and revolutionize Windows for real.

  205. Matt says:

    Looks like they thought of *everything… except for simplicity.


  206. person287 says:

    Just seen Pirates of Silicon Valley today and the stuff about Microsoft's DOS. The improvements look good!

  207. bob e says:

    Looking good fellas

  208. Franco Bianchi says:

    Will there be the usual millions of versions as Windows 7 and earlier? (Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise…..)

    Can't you really simplify this thing?

    And please no more than 59 dollars or 49 euros for the UPGRADE from Windows 7, at least.

    It's OK for the FULL version to cost more than 100 dollars.

    Mac OS X 10.7 Lion only costs 29.99 dollars, just 23.99 euros.

  209. Philippe says:

    This is awful and against your own conclusions and great metro UI.

    +1 for:

  210. Ok….that doesnt look good 😐

    Im sorry…..but I became a fan of the Metro UI right when I first saw the *Zune* software. And that ribbon reflects nothing of it.

    Im pretty sure how much change would come into effect from people's comments here…but i sure hope something is done about that….just want more of Windows 8 and less of 7( in particular Office and Paint) in Windows 8.


  211. * says:

    Great improvements, I love this reimagining approach!

  212. Andrew Powell says:

    I like how you completely ignored how users actually use the interface. Well done.

  213. PBJake says:

    I like it… nothing much to complain about. Can't wait to try out some of these things!

  214. Ivo says:

    Will desktop bands be supported, so tools like QTTabBar can be possible?

    If not, please at least use the standard rebar control and in a way that won't break horribly when bands are added or moved (like use RB_IDTOINDEX instead of hard-coding band indices).

  215. danwat1234 says:

    Hopefully when I'm copying a large collection of files in Windows 8, and it encounters a file or folder that has too long of a path (more than 255 characters?), Windows 8 Explorer won't just say that the destination path is too long and the only button is the "ok" button and then it cancels the rest of the transfer, like it does in windows 7 or earlier! That is why I use total commander for complex transfers.

    Please please prevent Explorer from cancelling the remaining portion of a file transfer after encountering an error like this, and log the error in some way that is easy for a user to look at later. It makes explorer file-operations seem like a joke and that it isn't designed for complex tasks in the first place.

  216. Sven says:


    Great work! I have 2 comments: Please add also "Open Command Promt here" to the file menu, which launches the command prompt in the current selected folder. This is currently available in the extended context menu.

    The 2nd issue is regarding the navigation pane in Windows 7 which drives me crazy sometimes. When I launch an "Open File" or "Save File" dialog (or any small Explorer window) I quickly click on the top of the scrollbar of the navigation pane to scroll up in order to reach the "Favorites" area. Then I want to click one of my Favorite folders, but the nav pane refreshes at the same time and scrolls back to the bottom of the selected drive or folder, because of some delayed loading of other items (network drives or something else). Please, please stop this automatic srolling. I don't know how often I clicked something else instead of a favorite folder, because the nav pane scrolled itself down at the same time I clicked. Or better: pin the favorite area at the top of the nav pane and don't scroll it away as it was on Vista.

    And thank you for bringing back the up button! For those who don't understand why: Open a small "Save File" dialog with long folder names in the breadcrumb bar. You don't see the up level folder in the bar where you could click onto to get one level up, because the long folder names in the small save file dialog just shows the current folder and no other folder to click on. The up button allows you in these small dialogs to quickly go up one or more levels, even though the breadcrumb bar shows only one folder.

  217. JHofferle says:

    Open command prompt is ok, but it should really be swapped out in favor of PowerShell. PowerShell should be the default going forward.

  218. @Sunset Blvd. _

    I can say most of the icons in Windows 7/8  have not been redrawn since Windows Vista as well as it's aero glass visual style like button, scrollbar, tabbar, checkbox, mouse cursors with Aero spinning circle on it.  That's not to say that some system application's icon like Registry is even older-older than Vista- Is that hard to draw a new icon for over 10 year-old system application? Of course, it's getting more older so that unacceptable in new modern operating system and ugly too. Windows 8 still needs this change to become a revolution along with Metro UI.

    Example of old icons that still appear in system apps as of Windows 7 like Registry Editor..…/datingicons.jpg

  219. Josh says:

    Feeling better about switching to the Mac all the time…

  220. contextfree says:

    I'm really disappointed that there'll be no third-party API for the Explorer ribbon. Currently add-ons just dump their options into the context menu making it more and more unwieldy. If something like TortoiseSvn could add a contextual Source Control tab for example, it could mitigate the effect of context menu bloat and provide a more pleasant way of accessing those options. Context menu bloat is actually my #1 UI gripe with Explorer.

    Is there any possibility of an API being provided in an out-of-band release, or are we stuck waiting until Windows 9 in 2015?

  221. Sven says:

    I forgot something else: In Windows 7, the "Select Folder" common dialog (e.g. used in installers) expands folders always at the bottom of the treeview. So you expand one folder, scroll down, expand the next, scroll down again and so on. This worked better in previous version and should be fixed in Win 8!

  222. Brendan says:

    And if most commands are done through context menus, then why waste space with a ribbon?

  223. Chris says:

    @ nowuniverse

    also old cursors should be removed

  224. doum says:

    Functionally it's great (except maybe shortcut to powershell and tab for plugins) BUT PLEASE you must "metro" ize the user interface.

    Metro is perfect, clean, smooth, brillant, and I'm sure that Metro in the ribbon would help user to appreciate it.

  225. More constructive criticism for you guys to ponder (and hopefully not ignore like I’m kind of assuming you guys will do, after all the hard work has already been done). Anyways I’ll continue…

    Say I wanted to rename a file, by adding in the ribbon to the UI you are requesting users to now do the following:

    1) Select a file

    2) Move mouse up to the ribbon and press the rename button.

    3) Type in name and press enter.

    What’s wrong with a simple right click?

    If I wanted to open a file you are now requesting users do the following:

    1) Select a file

    2) Move mouse up to the ribbon and press the open button.

    What’s wrong with a simple double click?

    My point it a huge majority of those controls on the ribbon are duplicates of existing controls that where either previously on the command bar or in the context menu. Every single Windows user is comfortable with that yet you now are asking them to forget everything they know and reduce themselves to draconian single mouse clicks for EVERY task they would want to do in explorer. I mean if you didn’t want them to do that why include the ribbon? Even in the video Alex never used any of those controls, why? Because they’re redundant, not required, not asked for, simply unnecessary.

    You say you made this change by looking at telemetry, the telemetry showed that 10 commands made up 81% of use in explorer; you took that knowledge and then somehow decided that you needed to add 190 new commands that we won’t use. The leap between the data you gathered and what you’ve executed is outstanding. It’s a leap that I dare any of you guys to even try and justify, if not publically but at least within your team.

    Explorer as it stands in Windows 7 is pretty close to perfect, it certainly needs work but if anything it needs streamlining, not “ribbonising”. Add the status bar you guys have got already, streamline the design, and most of all don’t let the ribbon go near it.

    As a Microsoft fan I’m appalled, Mac users are probably rolling on the floor laughing their asses off and you guys are presumably patting yourself on the back for what you believe is a job well done. Tragic.

  226. Aethec says:

    @Guys linking to Seldo's "analysis" : Seldo forgot one thing : Windows has hundreds of millions of users. Even if something is used by 0.5% of people, that's already one million people which would be very happy to see a feature they use in the Ribbon.

    @nowuniverse: +1024. Those old icons need to die.

  227. Arcyon says:

    Will the kind gentlemen (and ladies ;)) from MS allow for a feature request?

    a.) Batch Rename:

    You see, I would very much like to see "batch rename" functionality; with the ability to insert "original file name", "date", "containing folder name" and "number sequence" into the constructed file name – which is then applied to all selected files.


    b.) Advanced Search:

    As an addition I would like to see a tab called "Search" that would allow for multiple entry fields – "file name", "file contents", "file metadata" – this would make it easier to simultaneously search for multiple strings which are of unrelated format, and thus constrict the search results – both XP and Vista allowed for this.


    c.) Ribbon size:

    Please consider changing the ribbon in such a way as to show the bottom section descriptions only when the mouse is over the ribbon – possibly as a info tip underneath the section – this would further reduce the vertical footprint which is quite a bit large.

    Feel free to consider such a change for all of the programs that use the ribbon – the section descriptions are unnecessary once you know them, so they should only be shown at the beginning (possibly in the same sort of a way Start Menu was shown when you first loaded WinXP, or the old "Click here to begin in '95"), later they should only show when the mouse is over the ribbon itself.

    (Obviously, the position of button description tooltips would have accommodate the section description. )


    d.) File Preview:

    Since WMP is slow and ugly (so sorry :))  I like to use Explorer as a media player for music, would it be possible to "lock" the preview pane to a selected file so a currently played song wouldn’t stop playing while I continue to select other files (to view file properties or maybe just to scroll the file list), this would also allow me to have an instructions .txt file open in the preview pane, while I carry the instructions out.

    Locking the preview pane to a file would be extremely useful (to me at least).


    And last but certainly not least;

    e.) Multiple folders display:

    Currently it is extremely hard to drag-move (or copy) files between folders; the folder tree is fickle (and far less useful than it was in Vista) and you have to constantly scroll it up and down – it's just a pain.

    If explorer allowed for multiple folders to be opened in such a way that every folder was a thin bar (resizable, naturally) of vertically oriented items list, we could:

    – simultaneously see the contents of multiple folders

    – copy/move from a folder to multiple other folders with great ease

    – copy to a folder from multiple locations with great ease

    The folder tree use to allow for this, but nowadays it has become way too fickle and even if it wasn't, the tree is far too complex to be easily circumnavigated, I fell we absolutely need multiple folders to be displayed.

    (And – let's be honest – if a certain other – let us name no names – file manager can do it, so can Explorer)


    Well, this came out to be a bit long; to those who have read: thank you for reading, please make the upper echelons aware of the existence of such requests – what I have wrote here is the top of my list of desires for Windows Explorer for quite some time, I am certain that many others (I believe a substantial number of MS' users, with many opinion leaders amongst them) will benefit from such improvements.

    Best regards,


  228. Branden says:


  229. PBJake says:

    @DanielM2 I think they're doing this to pave a way for the hybrid touch-first PC's where the ribbon interface would be pretty crucial to access common tasks that one would normally find in a right-click context menu. So, the duplication of functionality indeed seems to be by necessity rather than an oversight

  230. Jared Erickson says:

    this is so ugly. are you designing so Bill Gates can see the icons in his old age. you make your users look stupid.

  231. Tourniquet says:

    Let the Windows Explorer be nice, and not that cluttered !!

    I really hate the idea of seeing the Windows Explorer be that ugly, im sorry. I don’t think the Windows Explorer is supposed to be that powerful at all. I think the Windows Explorer should be a really nice ‘app’ which is super easy to use, looks nice und is super easy to understand.

    Of course I would get used to it in time, but the most ‘normal’ users I know, wouldn’t. They would be totally overwhelmed by all these options. The standard user shouldn’t be afraid to use the explorer, thinking maybe they could break something.

    The ribbon is great, but just not in the explorer.

    Why don’t you just bring back winfile.exe ? In the earlier days winfile was one of the greatest tools for file management. It would be the best for all of us. For us power users, to have full control over all of our data and also for the average user to have a really nice touch friendly and just loveable experience.

    @Ehasan – Tabari is totally right. The use shouldn’t have to worry about where to put the files and an filesystem at all. The filesystem should be a big drive extender. Put a new hard drive in, the total amount of free space just grows. Get rid of file letters. We aren’t in 1993 anymore, we don’t need drive letters.

    I really do not understand why Microsoft just scrapped all Windows Longhorn Concept at all. Especially the design concepts were amazing and I really think most of the average user would have loved them. Like the Longhorn Explorer.

    There is really not much need to ‘overpower’ the Windows 7 Explorer. Yeah the ‘up’ button is really helpful and nice, maybe here and there something, but all in all it’s a nice experience. Don’t make a mistake and screw Windows up with something like that.

  232. Emmanuel says:

    As others have also mentioned. Its a cluster-mess, I think you guys need to stick to the mantra –  "Less is More".

    I can understand the use of the Ribbon UI for apps like MS-Word etc (In fact I love me some MS-Word Ribbon). But as a substitution for native UI tasks like file management, it just doesn't cut it.

    I rather you guys lean towards the Metro / Zune look and feel.

  233. Ted says:

    Cut / Copy / Paste should be equal size and should be in that order.  Every app since the beginning of time has cut/copy/paste in that order.  Now it's copy/paste, and "little" cut.  You've got a little more space to put a big cut button before copy (see the end of the toolbar) please do this before RTM.

  234. Staffan Gustafsson says:

    +1 for PowerShell and PowerShell ISE as command prompt alternatives.

    Can't imagine ever going back to CMD.

  235. Sven says:

    Could you make a a split view for windows explorer. so that you can 2 directories in one window.

    would better in this cas than aero snap. so we can the full rbbon toolbar.

  236. @PBJake – Well if that's the case it won't work, I've tried Office on a touchscreen with Windows 7 today and it doesn't work, the icons are simply too cramped together and small so that even when you do try and press a button it's shielded by your finger.

    The ribbon doesn't work for touch, if it did Steven and co wouldn't be pushing the great looking touch UI in Windows 8.

  237. Stefan says:

    Actually, I like the changes.

    When Windows 7 was itroduced, I surfaced some changes I doesn't like.

    For example, the fact, that when I'm not in details view, Windows Explorer hides the filter bar. You know, the thing on top of a Windows Explorer window where we can sort by Name, Type etc.

    I would really like it if Windows Explorer would still show me the filter bar when I'm in details view.

    But also a great feature from Vista was the "Stack by" in the context menu. It was really a great way to get the information I want quickly when I plug in a messed up thumb drive or a messed up folder. Too bad that it was removed. And I don't like why I'm unable since Windows 7 to manage the order of my files and folders by myself. I really like the "large symbols" view. In Vista I dragged my favourite folders to the top that I see them immediately. But since Windows 7, Windows Explorer doesn't allow me to change the arrangement of the files in any view. Btw the new "Up Button" is in my opinion only for people who doesn't understand how the new addressbar works. Will it be possible to remove the "Up Button"? Hopefully yes.

  238. Martijn says:


    Are there already tabs for folders? And what about an Always On Top-button?

  239. Aaron Kelley says:

    Has any thought been given to having tabs in Windows Explorer like all modern web browsers have tabs?  Not talking about the tabs on the ribbons, but tabs to keep from having multiple windows open for different locations in the file system.

  240. I know this isn't the focus of this blog post, but in the sharing tab on the new UI, you have an 'email' button. In Windows 7/Vista/XP this button opened an email program like Outlook, but most home users don't use email programs. It would be awesome if you guys could make it possible for the email button to open the user's web-based email and attatch the selected file like it already does for Outlook.

  241. Ezra says:

    really ugly, I was expecting it to be better than Finder. This is just laziness.

  242. Wesley says:

    Wow..very disappointing.

  243. R. says:

    Instead of all those changes I have a suggestion: just leave it as it is now in W7…

  244. Stephen Belanger says:

    I think I'm going to vomit. Explorer was bad enough, does it really need MORE buttons?!

  245. inter4ever says:

    This looks really promising. Can't wait for a public beta to test. Very impressive indeed. I only have a single request. Please make it possible to rearrange the icons of the QAT. This is a real nightmare in office where I have to remove buttons and readd them to be in the order I like. Thanks again.

  246. Emmanuel says:

    It just doesn't look right, Its too busy and it has a lot going on. I don't use office for the sake of using it, I use it because its a PROGRAM for creating word documents.

    The ribbon UI makes explorer look like a PROGRAM for managing my files(which it technically is). But when you make mundane tasks like selecting a file or copying and pasting files feel like obvious mandatory duties instead of natural, sub-concious outcomes, it takes a lot away from the flow and experience of using Windows.

  247. Seldo folks … I think of course that is interesting perspective but it doesn't quite use data the way it was presented/intended.  The reality is that commands are going un-used except by a small set of folks.  If you already know the commands and context menu then you don't change thing.  But for everyone else, much of this will be "new".  So when we populate the ribbon we put the most frequently used commands closest but that doesn't mean every person used all those commands or even knew about them, plus the organization allows us to show off more functionality that we know folks did not broadly see/use.  That's what we learned as the ribbon as developed. Power users got things like keyboard shortcuts and quick links and other folks learned what was always there.–Steven  

  248. Chris says:

    These are my suggestions and +1s from other reader's comments.  

    * Make Explorer borrow from Outlook in how it previews files.

    * Allow the ribbon to have the appropriate Office ribbon display/appear as a context sensitive tab when previewing an office document. We could have an object-oriented approach to files instead of an application-oriented approach as is forced now.

    * If explorer could keep an index of files in a folder inside the folder like it does with thumbnails that would make network and removable drives searches fast and simple.Allowing other image management programs to make use of the Thumbs.db files, and certainly if there was a FileIndex.db file it would greatly increase the efficiency of the Indexing services and searching for files in general.  (Also the rumored integration of a new file-system and the ability to index by more metadata type options would increase this exponentially)

    * I would love the ability to drag-and-drop files to the breadcrumb bar, and also the ability to right click (or hover with files) over the navigation arrows to access the last few folders in History (like in Internet Explorer) and allow for drag-and-drop with files.

    * Make each Explorer window a different process by default.  This might consume more resources but I believe most would accept the trade-off for better stability, since if one Explorer window crashes, the others could remain intact, (much like Internet Explorer already does) and file transfers wouldn't prematurely abort themselves .  Most modern computers (especially ones running x64) have more than enough resources to support this.

    * "Create New Folder from Selected Files", with drop down options for Create New … (zip, playlist, photo album, etc.) From Selected Files

    * Buy Paint.NET and Notepad++ and integrate them into Windows to upgrade Paint and Notepad. (of course give them a ribbon-y make-over!)

    ## If any of these suggestions are not able to be integrated into the first release of Windows '8' then prep them for integration into the first Service Pack! This includes the ability for third partys to create extensions and/or customizations to the Explorer Ribbon! ##

  249. SatoMew says:

    @Christian Schindler: What do you mean exactly by making Explorer "UAC-aware"? AFAIK, it is already that way, since its instances are normally open with the same amount of privileges as the user. You can even start an elevated instance, so I don't quite understand your point.

    @D.: Nice idea, never thought about it before. I've looked for some info about that feature in Mac OS X "Lion" and it seems very useful yet so simple.

    @Lionel: Completely agree. Windows having a built-in zip file handler is nice but it is only so if it works and performs well and all your suggestions should be taken in consideration and implemented, in my opinion.

    @Adrian: I believe that rather than improving upon Windows Media Player, Microsoft should replace it with the Zune software, improve it to be as if not more fully-featured than WMP 11 and 12 and allow sync of non-Zune and non-Windows Phone devices. Regarding Notepad, it's quite a good app for being so simple and basic, not to mention very useful to do some plain text editing. However, if WordPad had a mode to allow only features compatible with plain text and apply that same mode when opening plain text documents, then by all means I agree that it would be feasible to remove Notepad. About Paint, it's actually much more modern and capable now, no need to complicate it. I think that you need to reconsider your classification of "junk" when it comes to software here.

    @jrronimo: Yeah, folder size should be available too. And the Status Bar is not being deprecated, they're actually bringing it back for providing the critical information, whilst the Details pane gives more data without requiring to open the Properties window.

    @Role: It already has it. The dropdown menu in the Menu button gives you three options: Delete, Permanently Delete and Recycle Confirmations (which allows you to toggle whether you want to receive the confirmations or not without opening the options window of the Recycle Bin).

    @r3loaded: I believe that the idea for the Immersive UI is to follow the work done with Windows Phone 7 and remove the idea of users interacting with the file system and its hierarchies altogether.

    I have also more feedback for you guys 🙂

    – Revamp the Folder Options window and make it a control panel. Also rename it Files and Folders, since it's incorrect to use words like Settings, Options, etc. according to the UX guidelines. This should be done because these options actually affect system-level features and are the rigght interface according to the guidelines for control panels. While you're at it, put all the special folders options (such as the Recycle Bin) in this control panel to simplify access to them.

    – The delete, permanently delete, "file is in use", "access denied", "missing shortcut", "location not found" etc. dialog boxes could take a facelift. They are currently too gray and do not follow the UX guidelines (lack of main instruction, overcrowded content area, incorrect usage of titles in the title bar, etc.). This should also be done with the implementation of IFileIsInUse in Explorer since it does not support it yet and could make some of these error dialogs more informative and helpful.

    – Like others said and since this is an excellent occasion to provide feedback, the Ribbon UI in the new Explorer still looks the same as the one used on Paint and WordPad in Windows 7. I think that it should be updated to match the gray and monochrome look of Office 2010, because it's more pleasant to the eye and looks more professional and adaptable to different styles and themes. I'm not sure if adding glass to the tab bar would be good, though. If you consider it, please provide an option for toggling it.

    – The Properties window is a bit inconsistent. Mainly, it's easy to notice the difference when opening it on a folder or on a file. If opened on a folder or on multiple items, it uses Tahoma as the font but if opened on a file, it uses MS Sans Serif instead. Please fix that so that it uses Segoe UI on all scenarios.

    – Permissions are still too difficult and confusing to manage. I understand that this something less experienced users shouldn't mess with because of the risks involved but it still hasn't changed that much since Windows NT 3.1. I believe it's possible to overhaul the UI for managing permissions to simplify the process a little and reduce the number of windows that are required to be open, which I must say is excessive. UAC makes it worse due to some of the windows needing to be reopened due to requiring elevation, while keeping the non-elevated ones open. All this makes the current design a mess.

  250. MGalv says:

    I don't have a clue why you are still doing things like those. More trashy functionality and useless features doesn't make it better.

    Please, think twice before doing something so reckless.

  251. Make says:

    Whoaw! Why so much buttons in up-area? More easier for tablet users?

  252. SatoMew says:

    Oops, in my comment directed to Role, I said "The dropdown menu in the Menu button gives you three options […]". It's the Delete button, not the Menu button.

    And I misspelled the word "right" too, I didn't notice the additional "g" there.

  253. Craig says:

    well since this is the new explorer ….could you make it look prettier? seriously, hire some designers from deviantArt they seem to be much more creative with things like this.

  254. Matt says:

    Please add an option not to show the ribbon *at all*.


  255. @Steven – I hate to bring in the comparison but you guys clearly aren't listening (as I assumed).. the one thing no one can say about Lion is that it's hard to use. Take a look at finder, do you see a bunch of huge buttons, do you see a ribbon clone, hell there are barely any buttons at all. But again everyone is of the universal opinion is that it's easy to use.

    Every time you try and justify a feature you show a bunch of telemetry, even reading the E7 blog every post was full of charts and graphs. If the examples above is what you guys reading charts and graphs all day leads to then I suggest you stop.

  256. Dan Bugglin says:

    I think the address bar should go above the ribbon, but other than that I like it!

  257. Tom says:

    Oh no.. not the Ribbon UI. Please hire some top designer to design new UI.

    Keep it simple.

  258. Paul says:

    what's also with the UGLY square caption buttons?

  259. thepaulpage says:

    "you can actually fit two more lines on the screen than you could in Windows 7"

    I disagree with this comment and I feel that the corresponding picture is misleading.  Anyone would notice how useless the Windows7 Details pane was in the picture.  The size of the details pane is customizable in win7, and I always keep it as small as I can (still too big, but meh) .  I think that if you re-make the picture, showing with the smallest possible details pane on the bottom side, there won't be 2 extra icons in the new explorer.  

    I've heard so many people complain about they dislike having to re-find all of their favorite commands in Office because of the Ribbon control.  I'm not a great fan either, but I understand that it's better then a menu.  

    One of my biggest complaints is not that the ribbon control re-arranges and hides my favorite commands, but that it can't be docked to the left or right sides of a window, and ALWAYS takes up the best real estate, especially on a widescreen monitor.  

    TLDR: Please improve the Ribbon control so that it can be side docked.  

  260. Vladimir says:

    Improvements? more like a regression.

  261. Improvements to the toolbar are welcome; it's nice to see some level of customisation returning, interesting/useful commands represented as top level buttons, and I'm quite positive on ribbons in general.

    But will you be working on the navigation pane too? That also was much better in Windows XP than Vista & 7. In particular, top-level nodes seem to remember their expansion state, and since these might open automatically depending on shortcuts you open, that means I always get an unexpected set of nodes open when I open an Explorer window. When I press Win+E, I want My Computer expanded one level, and everything else collapsed, just as it was in XP.

    There also seems to be some outstanding bug in 7, where expanding a folder sometimes causes the tree to skip around unpredictably. And individual folders no longer remember their maximisation state – I want to open a maximised view when I press Win+E, but if I end up in some folder which I restore to floating size I don't want that to affect future views of My Computer.

    Frankly I'd like these fixed in 7 SP2, rather than having to wait for Windows 8…

  262. Alvaro says:

    Please, put tabs (like all browsers have) in Explorer! It's incredible productive (…/kde4.1-dolphin-with-tabs.png)


  263. File says:

    File listed functions for files.  Now it doesn't, and Home does.  So File does things not on files.

    Has everyone at Microsoft lost their minds?  What does the word File mean to you?

  264. Viggo says:

    Wow.  I am not sure what to think.  I feel Win8 is taking one step forward and two step backs.  How does this simplify my life or make me look cool????  I thought the whole concept around Win8 was to simplify and clean the UX.  How is "Copy Path" a hidden gem???? more like a pebble in a river nobody crosses anymore!

    C'mon guys you should be better than this!!!!! Hire a REAL designer!!!!

  265. Hypernova says:

    I like what I see here, but I would like to agree with two opinions:

    1. Office 2010 ribbon looks much nicer.  I understand that this is the standard "Windows" ribbon, but I still think you should upgrade the whole Windows' ribbon (i.e. including Paint, Wordpad) to the Office 2010 ribbon style

    2. I would like to hear more about why you cannot make API for add-on for ribbon at all.  As other has said, so many of nice plugins would be impossible without the API.  Social media site sharing, 7zip/Winrar add-ons to the "share", adding an extra tab for program like 7zip, to name a few.

  266. ven says:

    How about tabs in windows explorer. That's one thing I really miss from Linux world

  267. josh k says:

    No. Absolutely no.  Why do you guys want to push this "ribbon" crap down our throats?  It was hated with Office 2007 but you continued it in Office 2010 anyway.  Now you are destroying Windows with it?  I bought a Macbook to try out some iPhone dev, and I hated it and vowed I would never buy another Apple product again.  But honestly, if I have to choose between RibbonDose (my new nickname for Windows 8) and Mac OS, I would choose Mac.  At least they still have a normal File etc. menu, even if it is only one for every app.  Way to destroy an entire company by absolutely obliterating the one thing you have going for you : usability and efficiency of use.  Having to trip through fifty billion idiotic ribbon tabs to find the thing you are looking for is just inexcusable.  Why are you morons trying to take us back to the 80s?  What's next, Windows 9 will be a green screen?

  268. Robert says:

    I am a fan of the ribbon for sure!

    One thing that concerns me deeply looking at these videos is the visual style. This video shows a very flat and ugly explorer. It looks white, unfinished, and unpolished. I am hoping that this is because you don't want to show the final visual style yet.

    I hate OSX. However, the only thing OSX has going for it is that it is very much "prettier" than Windows. If you spend just a few minutes on a Mac, you can easily notice that they spent a lot of time polishing little details. Please take the time to really focus on the smallest of details and give the normal Windows desktop a fresh, modern visual style.

  269. josh k says:

    This is the kind of stuff that keeps people on XP.  Instead of fixing what isn't broke, and in turn breaking everything…why not actually innovate and do something new.  I'll stick with XP for Windows, and if I have to go to a newer computer, Mac.  Forget Microsoft.

  270. Here are 11 main things that the teams should work on to invert situation and prevent Vista disaster from happening again with Windows 8, particularly in this case ribbon and explorer stuff:

    Since teams have taken away the piece of pleasant look in Windows 8's explorer by putting too much stuff on it. Here is how to fix:

    1) By default, auto-expand and auto-collapse must be enabled for ribbon (user won't love doing that manually) so most of the time the clean look will keep pleasing users.

    2) After the beta with extra researches and feedback, eliminate functions and icons in ribbon that's unnecessary to clean up the clutter.

    3) Hide disabled function's icons on ribbon (not graying them out) , if all choices in a select list are disabled hide that select list to save more space.

    4) Enlarge some icons on ribbon and status bar for easier access and better experience at touch devices as well as traditional mouse and keyboard.

    5) Redraw/redesign icons in ribbons (2D friendly icons suggested) with unified style guideline. This helps cleaning the messy style currently in ribbon that ease user eyes when looking at them.

    6) Since back/forward button and address bar can no longer be on the top of explorer with transparent ability like windows vista/7 , the top of the ribbon should replace that with transparent and linear gradient as a transition to Aero glass themed windows above it like Microsoft Office 2010's ribbon.

    7) Give three color options for ribbon theme like Office 2007/2010 ribbon (silver/black/blue) OR make ribbon automatically adapt its color according to main Aero color scheme.

    8) Rich built in codec with more formats for thumbnail like PDF, PSD, AI, RAW (without install codec pack from Microsoft)

    9) More drag-and-drop integration and interaction with all element on explorer including address bar and new ribbon.

    10) Remove small help icon next to expand/collapse arrow button because there are help section on "FILE" menu part of ribbon already.

    11) Never put check box on ribbons BUT button -standard/spitted any kind are welcomed.

  271. Alex says:

    Sweet lord it's so ugly. Why are you doing this??

  272. Kris Mac says:

    Im yet to find anyone I know that likes the ribbon (Moms and power users alike), im glad to see there's a button to hide it in your screenshots

  273. Harlan Sanders says:

    So, because everyone uses the context menus and hot keys, you guys decide to make the tool bar bigger, more obtrusive, and more ugly, and then eliminate the part everyone uses (context menus)… Let me get this straight, everyone knows and loves the menu bars and 55% of all commands come from context menus so you eliminate the portion that's used most frequently? Generally speaking when people use something in large numbers there's a reason for it… You guys got it right the first time. Change for the sake of change is pointless. I didn't like the ribbon in office 2k7, I don't like it now. The ribbon hurt productivity because no one knew where to find things.

    I switched off of windows and onto Linux (full time) a few years ago with Vista because I didn't like the direction the UI was going… The inconsistencies, the obfuscating the network control panel, the changes to the control panel in general, the making things take 3 or 4 screens or tabs to find what you're looking for. All of this crap in the name of making it "easy" has just obfuscated the UI to the point of uselessness for anyone who has been using your platform for the past 16 years and is in any way competent.

    Looking at these changes, yes I'll probably have a Windows 8 license because I have to test my software on it, but hell no I won't use it and I won't miss Windows.

  274. Jason Shuler says:

    Real disappointed that ribbon cannot be extended by add-ons. As soon as I saw the headline of a Windows Explorer Ribbon I was hoping for proper .NET extensibility. There goes that 🙁

  275. Sam says:

    The Ribbon is complete JUNK! I hated it when i saw it in Office 2007 and hate it more in Office 2010 it takes 10 clicks to do simple things in settings because you removed things.  If you are going to the way of the stupid user who wants a one click copy and  one click paste this is wrong.   at least i can still use Alt in win 7 to bring up useful menus.    Make the ribbons and OPTION not required and if you are going to push them allow me to customize them so i can bring back useful things like File> Option  instead of the 10 clicks.

  276. Instead of previewing videos in preview pan, you can preview the same while you pointing the video file, that means a small preview windows should come, it will be very handy.

  277. pinux says:

    This is only the first step: the next will be a ribbonized Explorer shell in Metro style.

  278. dog says:

    Is there a way to globally turn this feature off? I rather my menus/toolbars take up the least amount of my UI as possible.

    The ribbon just takes up premium real estate on my laptop and serves no purpose for users that use context menus anyway.

    I have the hardest time finding things in the Ribbon anyway.

  279. Cantoris says:

    I think it's looking great – noticed how you've made the most used toolbar features have the biggest icons.

    The Share tab is just asking for things like Flickr, Facebook etc.  I think you really need to find the time to add in the ability to programatically add stuff to the ribbon (like the aforementioned two) if for no other reason than it will help *push*acceptance*of*your*new*UI*.

  280. RB says:

    I hope that you allow 3rd-party add-ons to make additional tabs in the ribbon (to the right of view – just like the "library tools" tab).  This functionality has been in the ribbon interface from its debut in 2007.  It would appease power users who want custom interfaces while also keeping the default interface the same.  It would also allow users of multiple Explorer replacements/add-ons to use both at the same time.  Currently TeraCopy only works w/ Windows Explorer or Total Commander, etc.

  281. Asbjørn says:

    If I could only have one request for explorer it would be to optimize it for working with large directories. Currently I have some directories where it takes up over 5 seconds to enter a directory, and I'm on a i7 860 with 8Gb of RAM and an SSD! If I reduce the number of subfolders in the directory the performance goes up again.

    If I could have one more feature, it would be to make it harder to move files and folders by dragging them around, for example requiring shift to be held. Way too often do I accidentally move or copy folders and files by not double clicking fast enough and moving my mouse slightly at the same time.

    If those were the only changes that you'd make I'd be more than happy.

  282. Andrew W. says:

    suddenly Lion isn't so bad after all. Its definitely prettier than this ugly mess

  283. Senzune says:

    As a regular user, I think the Ribbon interface, is hideous.

    And that's not just an opinion. The goal was to design a sleek, streamlined and easy interface, right?

    Ribbon is cluttered, filled with 50% of non-important functions according to your own statistics, and the zero-windows-knowledge users are better of with the more practical ribbon-less interface. Right click, anyone?…/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a

    The above tumblr entry proves the point I made, I could only hope for this critic to be taken serious.

    You're doing an awesome job with Metro, hopefully extrapolating functionality to Windows Phone, but the job with the Desktop interface.. Sorry, that's a no to me. Things like this actually drive me away from Windows, which, you know, is a bad thing. Wouldn't want that ~10% market share of a certain competitor to increase, would we?..

  284. Matt says:

    Very impressed by the updates. The Windows 7 and Vista versions were a step backwards from XP.

    Now if only the search behavior did what I expected it to do. Make that more XP like (in functionality) and we'd be close to perfection.

  285. Wayne says:

    Ugh… Hate the Ribbon. It takes up so much space and provides very little benefit in any application it is applied. Things like this make me look at other operating systems more and more.

  286. Bill says:

    I would love to be able to compare two folders to see which files are different, missing, etc. Norton utilities used to do this way back in the day and I've been waiting for MS to implement this very helpful feature in their OS.

  287. Esayas says:

    If you add a merge tool directly in  the windows explorer, I will change my middle name to  windows.

  288. Daniel says:

    I just want to say that I'm liking the ribbon in explorer but I don't like the look.  The back/foreward buttons should look like they do in IE9 not IE7 and the ribbon should look like the ribbon in Office 2010.  I like the gradient window look in Office 2010, not a fan of the dull blue-ish grey.

  289. RB says:

    Could you add a "Add to desktop slideshow" next to the "Set as Desktop Background" on the image contextual ribbon tab?  For those that use Windows 7's built in slideshow manager – it looks like clicking "set as desktop background" will overwrite those settings and give you just one standard image.  

  290. exoteric says:

    It's good that you can also minimize the ribbon (most above-gandma-level users know about CTRL+{A,X,C,V} shortcut keys.

    I really like the path-contextual "sudo" command promt; it should've been in Windows Vista.

    That said, why not also offer this as a suggestionif you type in a path (relative or absolute) in Start Menu input field? (Windows-key + path => show "sudo promt path".

  291. Here is my version based on Internet Explorer 9.

    not much but about what I had imagined =)

    And thanks for the  – File Trinadtsat '=)…/81bd0cce56b0.jpg

  292. Mushaf says:

    For windows explorer, the UI is my second concern while functionality comes at first place. I don’t care if they keep the current UI or introduces a space-consuming ribbon, I need tabs in explorer and get back the ability to manually arrange files and folders without using any registry tweak or 3rd party software. They maybe trying their best to improve the UI, but they should focus on providing some features first that have been long demanded by the users.

  293. Senzune says:

    Also, I was expecting Metro UI to be expanded to the desktop as well. During the DEMO, you introduced us to the operating system for ALL computers. While there's still seperation between Tablets and Desktops, the gap you intended to close.

    Really, really disappointing, and if it doesn't get much better, you lost me as your consumer..

  294. Senzune says:

    Also, I was expecting Metro UI to be expanded to the desktop as well. During the DEMO, you introduced us to the operating system for ALL computers. While there's still seperation between Tablets and Desktops, the gap you intended to close.

    Really, really disappointing, and if it doesn't get much better, you lost me as your consumer..

  295. I rarely use search box and start menu in explorer because it never give me the sense it would find the things I'm looking for and by the way it's pretty slow…Searching files in explorer needs to be as fast as searching web. everything instant and a little out-of-the-box –>more helpful search suggestion integration like calculator and unit converter, my calendar, built-in and up-to date event, dictionary along live contents: news, weather, currency converter and other contents as well.

  296. CodeCaster says:

    Can the backspace key be mapped to the "Folder Up" button again pretty please?

  297. Wevenhuis says:

    Nice article and promising functions. The telemetrie gives insight into the most used functions within explorer. The only thing I do not understand is that windows 8 is being marketed as a tablet OS. The current configuration of the ribbon is a good idea to the tablet friendly end user experience. But I would sincerely advice a more cleaner array of function buttons. More buttons will only confuse the end user. Make it clean with only the most frequently used functionbuttons. A tablet OS needs big buttons, so make them big. Hide the less used functions in a submenu in the ribbon.  Also consider that it is more intuitive to select certain files or multiple files with a finger. Try condisering a more functional use of this for the file selection and get rid of "mouse thinking". Introduce the checkboxes as in windows 7 and make the checkboxes bigger. We all have thick fingers and the current checkboxes are too small. It is time to let go of the current windows UI styling and start thinking bigger styled UI elements for a fingerfriendely experience (Think metro UI and windows phone 7 tiles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). These are my tips as windows 7 ultimate and windows mobile end user.

  298. Jeff says:

    I'm sorry but this new menu doesn't look streamlined at all. It rather looks like an explosion occurred.

    Only an insane person would use that menu for tasks evidently a lot of people use the context menu for.

    Please get a better UI team and don't implement such obviously out of place and hideous UI because you think those statistics are a call for such radical change.

    Contextual tasks done via context menu – that makes sense. This catastrophe of a menu will just drive people insane.

  299. Why not a Windows Explorer MDI like File manager of Windows 3.1.

  300. Everyone calm down! Just give Microsoft and the Windows team the time and chance to gain more knowledge about user need in order to fix and enhance our experience since we're at very early stage of development not even BETA yet!

  301. motwera says:

    i would be very happy if they fix this :

  302. Bryan says:

    Ive got to echo support for tabbed file browsing, while all this new is great to some and not so much for others, the lack of a tabbed interface for a file browser in 2012 would be Teh Fail!

  303. * Why oh why when you press the zip button on a bunch of selected files is the created zip file not automatically selected?

    * In the File menu you have open command prompt and open command prompt as admin? He's already logged in as an admin why ask how he would like to open the program? It's just so stupid.

    Why don't you call up the Windows Phone 7 team and ask them how to do design? Clearly your team are incapable of designing yourself.

  304. OldCabanaGuy says:

    “Respect Explorer’s heritage.” Really? Why? It’s only an application.

    “Bring back XP features.” Really? Is that the best MS can offer?

    And telling users what has always been (hidden) there is not innovation. I felt that Explorer was low hanging fruit for improvement this time around. For me, file management involves organization and manipulation of text, music, and graphics files. A ribbon offers click, click, click, click, DONE. Tabs, and/or multiple panes offer drag and drop simplicity. I really don’t care about color schemes or button designs. (Are round or square corners the current fashion?) I’d rather see a right click resize option for my photos.

    The alternatives to MS explorer have been miles ahead for years now. There are several…. you couldn’t tear xplorer2 lite from my fingers for example. It’s free for personal, academic, and non-profit use. It probably has 100 advantages over Explorer, at least 50 of which should have been begged, borrowed, or stolen for W8. Mr. Sinofsky even mentioned it and three others, albeit somewhat deprecatingly. By his numbers, there are 4.5 million users of the alternatives. Survey how many users don’t even know that Windows Explorer exists.

    While I wish Mr. Jobs comfort and peace, Nikos Bozinis is my hero. Buy him.

  305. Wevenhuis says:

    Second try. Didn't see my comment pop up in the comments list the first time.

    Nice article and promising functions. The telemetrie gives insight into the most used functions within explorer. The only thing I do not understand is that windows 8 is being marketed as a tablet OS. The current configuration of the ribbon is a good idea to the tablet friendly end user experience. But I would sincerely advice a more cleaner array of function buttons. More buttons will only confuse the end user. Make it clean with only the most frequently used functionbuttons. A tablet OS needs big buttons, so make them big. Hide the less used functions in a submenu in the ribbon.  Also consider that it is more intuitive to select certain files or multiple files with a finger. Try condisering a more functional use of this for the file selection and get rid of "mouse thinking". Introduce the checkboxes as in windows 7 and make the checkboxes bigger. We all have thick fingers and the current checkboxes are too small. It is time to let go of the current windows UI styling and start thinking bigger styled UI elements for a fingerfriendely experience (Think metro UI and windows phone 7 tiles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). These are my tips as windows 7 ultimate and windows mobile end user.

  306. tux. says:

    Ribbons are somewhat unintuitive anyway. I mean, WHY is the "copy" button so large and the "cut" button so small? Both, basically, do similar tasks, so they should look similar. Another think I dislike with that ribbon stuff.

  307. Gkeramidas says:

    i'll repeat what i wrote in the previous post, in case it was missed. please make full row select an option. or, leave the entire row highlighted, but make only the first column active.

    if look at your first screenshot of windows explorer 8,  if those were folders instead of files, and i dragged and dropped a file, it would end up in one of the folders, not where i want it. Then I have to search for it. Need more white space to drop a file other than the little margin next to the file name. and since you took out bagmru regkey, I don’t want every folder to be huge enough to have white space to the right of the details.

    i have a nice powerpoint presentation i can send you if you're interested

  308. Anthony says:

    Please for the love of god implement a way to turn the ribbon off and the menu's that we are all used to back on.

    For power users, 99% of the commands we use can be done easily with keyboard, mouse, and context menu's. For all the normal users, all you have done is confused them by replacing what they know with a bulky unattractive bar that takes up way to much real estate…. *sigh*

  309. @nowuniverse – That's the thing they won't change it, they've spent 2 years now working on it do you really expect them to scrap everything because a couple hundreds users on their blog say so?

    They are basically showing us the lesser features before the big reveal at the BUILD event (after all a new copy dialog isn't exactly worthy of a 3 day event). Sad to say but the ribbon is here to stay.

  310. Connor says:

    Could you maybe move the path and search boxes up above the ribbon a la chrome, and give us a tad more usable space? Still, love the ribbon, looks really useful

  311. Prabir says:

    here are some thoughts:

    1. powershell instead of cmd (only advanced users will use it, and they sure will not be using cmd these days)

    (i would rather prefer this to be customized, as I use powershell within console2. lot of other users will be using bash or other cmd replacements, i hope this is customizable.).

    2. allow creation of file name starting with dot. (Try creating a new folder or text document and name it as .gitignore and you will get an error. very important for developers. till then i will always need to open cmd/powershell and rename it or copy it from and existing file.)

    3. open Visual Studio in admin mode and explorer as admin mode using the taskbar. drag a text file to Visual Studio, that file will not open. Same for notepad or wordpad or any other program. if i open explorer in admin mode i want to be able to drag and drop files to another app running in admin mode. (Azure development requires VS to run in admin mode and i don't want to turn off the UAC just for drag and drop support)

    4. support for more than 256 chars in path. (there have been blog posts from .net BCL team about this limit and thought on this. please revisit this problem.…/long-paths-in-net-part-1-of-3-kim-hamilton.aspx).

    5. support for deleting files that are more than MAX_PATH. (here is the blog post how to do it with current windows.…/black-hole-method-delete-folders-that-are-deeper-than-max-path-characters.aspx it actually requires me to create a new vhd, then use robocopy to move the file and then finally delete. Shouldn't right click>delete just work?)

    6. i know that we can't create file names having ? > or any of those special characters. but lets say someone created that file in linux and sent me in pendrive. i can't rename/open it coz its invalid file in windows. even though windows doesn't allow me to create a file having those characters, at least allow me to rename it so i can open it in windows. (i had to actually find a linux box rename it and then open it in windows).

    7. mklink is great to create symbolic links similar to those in linux. (allow us to create these symbolic without admin privilages. would love to have it in the explorer ui too for advanced users.)

  312. Dustin says:

    Why not put all the big buttons that users use most together?  That way, they won't have to search through the interface for the button they want to click.

  313. Frank Hollander says:

    Make it easy to create a "SEND TO" link.

    I use it to "Send to" notepad, and it's not handy to find the "Send to" folder to create the link.

    Thank you Windows 8 team.

    And lower the price of Windows 8, if it's the same as Windows 7 it's too high, especially for Windows 7 users which will upgrade to 8.

  314. Krishna says:

    The interface is exceedingly busy and will overwhelm most users. Add my vote in support of a dual pane window interface.

  315. xpclient says:

    I can understand how some users are complaining about clutter or bad design, but it's difficult to balance exposing the full power of an app like Explorer with so much functionality built-in while still keeping the interface clean. Remember, you can just keep the ribbon minimized and add only the commands you want to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) so you can keep the UI clean and clutter-free if you want to. Power users get access to all the commands in the Ribbon. My concern is the Details pane and the Preview pane cannot both be enabled at the same time which I used on Windows 7. With the details pane moved to the side and a slightly wider navigation pane, my horizontal screen real estate becomes short. For that I agree with "Sunwook Park" and "Dany Rodier"s comments to allow users to dock the details pane to bottom (if they keep the ribbon minimized) or side (if they show the ribbon). Please keep the position of the details pane configurable.


    – Quick Access Toolbar needs to have large icons (24 x 24) because 16 x 16 is too small and 32 x 32 is too large so we can exclusively use QAT and keep Ribbon minimized

    – Like "Run as administrator", can you add "Open as administrator" which works on selected file? Many times I need to open files in UAC protected locations and I cannot save them unless I open the associated app as administrator, then open the file in that app

    – The "Run as administrator" item in the context menu sets the working directory to C:Windowssystem32 instead of the current directory. So I am unable to run scripts and batch files as admin which refer to files from the current directory.

    – New (template) menu shows only "New folder" for UAC protected folders. It needs to show all items (New shortcut and templates) and elevate properly when creating that item.

    – Office Ribbon shows hotkeys in tooltips. Can Explorer ribbon do that please?

    – Allow activating ribbon tabs by hover instead of by click

    – Please also add PowerShell and PowerShell as administrator to File menu

    – I can understand not allowing addons to customize the ribbon but why is the Explorer ribbon not user-customizable like Office 2010 ribbon? The only real user customizable component is the Quick Access Toolbar and it's limited to 16 x 16 icon size.

    – If the Ribbon cannot be customized, at least allow addon developers to add their custom commands to the Quick Access Toolbar.

    – Will the Ribbon UI be extended to all special folders? Control Panel, Recycle Bin, My Briefcase, Game Explorer, Network Connections, Fonts etc?

    – Would be great if Sharing could include 1 click sign in and upload to SkyDrive.

    – I like the Preview pane and Details pane separate. Details pane is for showing and editing all possible properties and a small preview just to identify the file whereas Preview pane is for a properly viewable preview. Don't do anything silly like merging them.

    – The menu bar is completely removed? I understand the command bar should be gone because we have a Ribbon, but please consider the scenario where users keep the Ribbon minimized and use only Quick Access Toolbar and the menu bar (like the Windows 95 and Windows XP style).

    Question: (please answer MS, I am not asking just for sake of asking)

    – Are Explorer toolband addins to add custom toolbars still supported?

  316. CyberWolf says:

    Can we replace the legacy icons in Windows this time around? The icons for JS, VBS and some other files appear like in Windows 98. I think it's time to change these really dated icons.

  317. xpclient says:

    As a great someone said "The first rule of upgrades is to always make sure you preserve all existing features", and Explorer underwent SO MANY CHANGES after XP that sadly Windows Vista and Windows 7 did cause me a great deal of frustration. I was one of the earliest users who had "given up" on Explorer after I migrated to Windows Vista and have been complaining loudly ever since. So I hope Microsoft will listen to my suggestions. Hopefully, ALL of the things will be fixed in Windows 8 though I am unsure if any further changes are going to be made or everything's final now for BUILD and we are just being told about it. Here's the MASTER list of problems in Windows Explorer:

    – Biggest annoyance: Files in Explorer are continuously kept sorted even if the user wants them to get sorted when he pressed F5/Refresh. Because they are kept sorted, any file modification activity such as copy-paste, creation, rename or deletion makes files jump continually to obey the sort order instead of the items appearing at the end and getting sorted only when the view is refreshed. Please please please please Windows team, make this optional

    – Auto Arrange and Align to Grid cannot be turned off in Windows 7. Why do we have this restriction? Please allow users to freely move items in folders like the desktop like all previous Windows versions allowed

    – Permissions are not retained/copied like XP Explorer (KB310316). Copied items acquire the permissions of the destination folder.

    – Images and videos used to have a "Refresh thumbnail" in the context menu to force refresh/regenerate them.

    – Thumbnails for AVI files aren't shown. MS needs to ship more property and preview handlers in-box for video formats.

    – The properties shown in Tiles view used to change by how we sorted the items. That no longer happens. Properties are static now in Tiles view.

    – The Details tab in Properties doesn't support easily copying the information like XP's Summary tab or Version tab allowed

    – The address bar dropdown does not display top level hierarchy from the desktop. Instead it shows history!

    – Even if you brought back the Up button, you haven't brought back Ctrl+Up which opened the parent folder in a new window

    – Details View has full row selection. This should be configurable from Folder Options

    – Security permissions and ownership cannot be set on multiple selected items from Properties as the Security permissions tab does not show up in this case

    – Folder backgrounds through desktop.ini are no longer supported.

    – 16-bit program icons are not shown or extracted from Explorer

    – Navigation pane had 1-click folder expand/collapse feature in XP called Simple Folder View. It didn't require clicking on the arrows to expand or collapse folders or double click them.

    – The arrows indicating that there are subfolders inside the main folder disappear when you move the mouse to the right pane of Explorer making it difficult for the user to determine which folder has subfolders.

    – Password protected ZIP files no longer supported

    – Filmstrip view is replaced by Preview pane but filmstrip view could be enabled on per-folder basis and its state was saved.

    – Preview pane does not show previews of subfolders whereas filmstrip view showed the preview of images within a folder

    – Status bar showed free disk space at all times. You did not have to go to My Computer to view free disk space

    – Alt-Enter hotkey shortcut to show properties does not work in the navigation (left) pane

    – Recycle Bin status bar showed size of folders or files

    – Cannot undo more than one delete operation from Recycle Bin

    – Advanced File Type association functionality gone

    – Folders on the Send To menu do not expand as submenus

    – No List View or Details View in Control Panel

    – Slideshow button in Explorer always starts slideshow in Windows Photo Viewer instead of default photo viewer registered app like Photo Gallery which has nicer transitions

    – 32-bit Explorer.exe can no longer be run in Explorer. The Windows shell team has handled the transition or shell extensions from 32-bit to 64-bit poorly. Please include something like WOW64Menu utility which allows using 32-bit Property Sheet and 32-bit context menu extensions from 64-bit Explorer

    – Each toolbar or desk band is forced to be on its own row in Windows Explorer. The Explorer forces the RBBS_BREAK style for every band

    – Cannot click on multiple group headers when grouping is on to select items

    – No share overlay icon means folders are shared silently and no easy way for the user to be told of that.

    – Per folder views are not remembered if accessing that folder from a library

    – When no items are selected in a folder, neither the details pane nor the status bar show the total size of files in the folder.

    – Column headers are shown only in Details view. Showing them in all views like Vista will allow 1-click sorting and filtering in any view. At least make it a configurable option.

    – Stack By functionality of Vista completely gone

    – No horizontal scrollbar in navigation pane

    – Sorting causes selection of multiple items to be lost

    – Back/forward navigation also causes selection of multiple items to be lost

    – How can you get rid of column handlers completely? The system supplied properties (…/dd561977(v=VS.85).aspx) do not cover the ones I want to show in details view and they can only be registered per-file type, not for all file system objects. Plus, the properties need to be indexed by Windows Search, I cannot add my own dynamic properties like "Size on disk" or "Short file name". Please consider bring back the powerful column handler extension type (IColumnProvider).

    – Please fix the infamous Windows 7 navigation pane scrolling bug.

    If I would have just one problem fixed from the list, it would be making auto refresh/auto sort optional/configurable so copy-pasted files or renamed files do not jump to obey the sort order.

  318. David A says:

    I'm very worried that you've surfaced commands that don't need to be changed frequently – like "Hide/Show file extensions". For pretty much every computer I've installed Windows on in the last 10 years, the first thing I do is go to the "Tools" menu, choose "Folder Options", and enable "Show hidden files, folders, and drives", disable "Hide extensions for known file types", then click "Apply to Folders" so all my folders look the same and I never have to change those options again. I never find myself browsing in Explorer and think "Hmm, I really wish I could hide the file extensions for a few minutes."

    When deciding what commands to surface, please think about making my frequent tasks easier, faster, fewer clicks/key presses, and this does NOT mean surfacing the command constantly waiting for a click. And the commands I rarely use, I probably don't need. If they would make my life easier, maybe I just don't know about them, so suggest those commands when you notice that I'm doing something in a round-about way. But I really don't need a "copy path" button, since that's something I do maybe once a month, and I'm happy to click the address bar, and press ctrl-c.

    Please, I want to see useful content on my screen, not graphical polish. A keyboard shortcut is almost always faster than moving the mouse to click a button. Show the keyboard shortcuts next to their corresponding menu item like we've seen for the last 30 years. Filling the top 200 pixels of every Explorer window with a bunch of buttons I'll rarely use is a huge waste of space.

  319. BenDTU says:

    I don't understand this change. If 50% of users use the context menu, wouldn't that indicate that people *like* the context menu?

    "Average" users hated the ribbon in 2007, and they'll hate this too.

  320. Viktor says:

    Wow, this new Explorer look goes against everything Windows 8 is supposed to be.

  321. asfd says:

    You make some good arguments.

    For switching to linux.

    I think 7 might be the last pos i try to make work like *I* want.   I'm just getting tired of it.

  322. Nej says:

    Ribbon = Terrible idea. There hast to be a reason 80+ percent use context menu/hotkeys. IMHO it helps stay focused on the FILES when dealing with large number of them.

    With the ribbon, if i want to copy a file I have to find it in the increased number of files shown at once (not a bad idea in itselft), then move my pointer away to find the Copy button in the increased number of buttons (terrible idea), then move back to folders to find my destination, back to ribbon to find the Paste button in the increased number of buttons (terrible idea). Yeah, i'm gonna do that just because the ribbon now occupies a quarter of my screen..

    Congratulation on wasting a lot of development time on futility. You should have just stared at the Command entrypoint usage diagram instead.

  323. Just thought this was interesting:

    Alex Simons is one of the Directors of Program Management for Windows & Windows Live. What's the one thing everyone can agree on regarding the Live suite of apps? Ugly UI.

    That explains everything.

  324. Jason says:

    Great Post.  Now for a comment that doesn't apply, but I hope it gets routed to the proper team (file systems) before it's too late.  

    One of the biggest problems I see in Windows is the plethora of apps that bring your computer to a crawl due to disk consumption.  Virus programs (er.. symantic), disk backup programs (mozy), search (windows search) they all kill you.  What's needed is a simple API {path, changedat, changeType}[] GetFileChanges(changesSinceDate, filters).  Exposing an API like this would do wonders for overall computer performance.

  325. Ron says:

    Please consider technology that auto-fits the columns intelligently to the content.  It's excruciating to load a Windows Explorer and look at a details view only to have the File Name column be some default 20 pixel width (hiding nearly all of the files in the list) and see that the window itself has PLENTY of room to autofit everything.  This is true in nearly all grid views (like MMC).

  326. Greg V. says:

    Here's the one thing that concerns me: that little right arrow in the screen shot of the View tab.  Watching the video confirms it: there's another button that's supposed to be to the right of Refresh when there's more room.

    Scrolling toolbars are bad, mmkay?  When I saw the first previews of Office 2007, I wondered what you would do to the ribbon when the horizontal space got tight.  Fortunately the solution of dynamically resizing things worked really well.  Most groups had an expanded view, a condensed view, and changed to a button dropdown when things really got tight.  They were also prioritized so lesser used features seemed to collapse before more popular ones.  This was the right solution.  If you're making things overflow off the window with a button to scroll left or right, it means you're going backwards in functionality, or more likely, the native ribbon component you've made for everyone simply isn't as powerful as the one you built for yourself in Office 2007.  Scrolling hides features under an easily missed arrow and makes them awkward to get to.  Condensing may require an extra click if it's really tight but at least everything is still in front of you and discoverable.

  327. Kraig S. says:

    Overall, I think the updates look promising.  Just wanted to provide some feedback on things seen with Vista/7.

    1.  Do not bring back the horizontal auto scroll from Vista when browsing the file tree.  Windows 7 fixed this, but I don't want it to return.  (It drove me crazy.)

    2.  Allow explorer.exe to be run as an alternate user.  Right now explorer is single instanced.  I want to be able to select the option "Run as different user" and launch explorer with admin credentials.  This is useful for businesses that want to manage through the GUI and not an elevated command prompt.  I believe this was possible in previous versions of Windows, prior to Vista.

    3.  If UAC is disabled, please have "Open command prompt as administrator" to prompt for user credentials automatically.

    4.  If UAC is disabled, please have the "Run as Administrator" option prompt for user credentials automatically.

    5.  Yes, please bring back the up button.  Common complaint when migrating from XP to Windows 7.

    6.  Search looks much better.  I receive numerous complaints for people wanting to search non-indexed locations and how Windows 7 handles these.  The common statement is that Windows XP search options are much easier to use.

  328. PRMan says:

    No "Map Network Drive" in the Share pane?

  329. @DanielM2

    It's impossible for a big tech corporation to give up on what they have built for such a long time and change philosophy idea about how thing would be great on their perspective. "Change" what I meant here was not to remove the ribbon but to clean, enhance and integrate it as well as a whole explorer. I don't like it but don't hate it. At least, the team showed off features, asked and looked for feedback even before they deliver the keynote at BUILD conference. But important question is could the talents of Microsoft be able to improve this new explorer experience so that we can change our view. M.R STEVEN's team was the team who build the success of Windows 7 and I hope it will be the same for next version of Windows. (Do not fail on Vista's trap)

    Time will answer!!! Good luck Microsoft:))

  330. @nowuniverse – Yeah I agree I don't dislike the ribbon as a control, but in its current state I don't like it either. I'm grateful for Microsoft giving us a peak before BUILD but as a lifelong Windows user who wants to see things streamlined this new bloated control is a slap in the face.

    Steven and his team have done great work in the past so I'm hopeful that they will pull of the impossible, of course the chances of that happening all depend on what they do with the feedback they receive.

  331. user says:

    I swear you guys go out of your way to make using your software more of a PITA with every release. Why the heck do I need all of these giant icons that I will never use thrown at me while really useful features get buried further down than ever? Minimize is great and all, but how about a classic view for those of us that would rather work than stare and drool at the pretty little pictures.

    How about instead of "ribbonizing" everything you go back to basics and fix things that don't work. Take for instance system administration: Go to users and computers in SBS 2008, select several users and click properties, not try to make it so they have to change their password at next login. It doesn't work! You have to select them one at a time even though there is a checkmark box and you hit apply when you close and reopen it loses the setting. WTF guys???

  332. bob says:

    I would like to see Facebook and twitter integration for the share tab so that things like photos an pictures can be uploaded easily, but you said the ribbon is not available to 3rd party apps. sigh 🙁

  333. Jon Austenaa says:


    Yea that would be nice but I don't think Explorer currently have an advanced enough engine, and a rewrite would break a lot of legacy programs

    @KyleK, @Tuxplorer

    You can't breadcrumb to the desktop, and it is faster using an up button since one rarely breadcrumbs to the same place.

    I can also quickly go up to the desktop that way I don't need the Navigation sidebar and can view more with multiple Explorer windows.…/Windows_7_multiple_small_explorer_windows_file_management.png


    What programs extension causes a rignt click pause? I had this issue when an extension erroneously pointed to a network location.


    Yes please bring back total file usage and free disk space while still keeping the status bar small one line height.…/Windows_7_explorer_windows_file_sizes.png


    I too prefer working with several smaller explorer windows

    Amiga Workbench from the old days always remembered exactly window size and position, view mode and icon size and position of every folder. It did this by creating a hidden file in every folder. Windows Explorer saves this information in the registry, but this feature have been somewhat broken for many years and Explorer often loses the ability to remember anything.…/Windows_7_multiple_small_explorer_windows_file_management.png


    Yes I would love a 7-zip button there


    If you add move to foreground and background buttons you get the amiga interface workflow. I frequently miss having these options.

  334. Adelar says:

    "New" more often than "Open"? I call BS, unless web cookies use the "new" command, in which case I call BS on anything else being higher than "new".

  335. Jon Austenaa says:

    1. Please bring back the resize area in the lower right corner. It is faster to hit with the mouse, especially if you have reduced the border padding to gain some screen real estate.…/Resizing_with_the_lower_right_corner_IE9.png…/Resizing_with_the_lower_right_corner_IE9_vs_Firefox_thin_borders.png

    2. Copy folder path.

    When I want to quickly go to a folder I am working in from an open/save dialogue box from a program I copy the path from the address bar and into the file name area. Maybe a list of currently open folders in applications open/save boxes?

    3. File Menu is unnecessary big. If you want a touch friendly UI, make a seperate UI. You will never be able to combine the power of a keyboard+mouse with a touch friendly UI. In this current case of the File Explorer, most items are not very usable for touch, but with a few features standing out like a moose in an urban environment.

    4. If we could remove the button group descriptions like Clipboard, Organize, New etc and the button description, the ribbon menu height could be reduced to two lines (one big button or two small buttons), it would be almost as small as the QAT, making QAT unnecessary and preserving the power of the ribbon system. Hovering would produce a description like everywhere else. Otherwise QAT will likely be very welcome. Vertical space is unfortunately scarce in computers due to the recent 16:9 trend.

    5. Shell extensibility! Please make it better and leaner, and document it better. Many developers have problems with explorer thumbnails for their programs. Maybe a video preview while hovering a video file, but this would be best if Explorer utilized Direct2D. The possibilities are endless.

    6. On option so that thing on top of a Windows Explorer window where we can sort by Name, Type etc. would always be present.

    7. Hotkey for new textfile would be awesome, like Chen mentioned.

  336. This is really OCD but there's more pixels below the address bar than there is above it. The icon on the address bar also isn't vertically central.

    I always notice tons of tinee little things like this during the betas but they never end up being fixed :/.

    Also, nice work. I'll personally keep the ribbon collapsed; it's a little too cluttered for my tastes and I'm accustomed to all the keyboard shortcuts in Windows anyway. Otherwise, it looks good, very functional.

    Loving the changes to the copy/transfer process 😀

  337. Srikanth says:

    Functionality wise, these changes get a big+. I like what ribbon did to Office and I welcome this change to Explorer. But in terms of looks, the explorer is cluttered and ugly with various size/styles icons etc. In its current state it will get a big-. Hope you will change the theme from Aero (to metro?) and it looks pleasing as well.

  338. Will says:

    Great work so far!

    +1 vote for adding "Open Powershell" to the command prompt selection area.  🙂

  339. Sunweb says:

    This kind of change is precisly why I have replaced the window shell. With the shell replaced to bblean, explorer.exe does not even run. For file management I use the third party tool xplorer2. Everything is customizible the way I want it not the way Microsoft thinks I should I have it.

  340. Darwin says:

    This is an April fools joke right?  You seriously don't know what a horrible UI mess this is?  

  341. xpclient says:

    Ribbon haters, note that the Ribbon solves three important issues:

    1. Gives power users the power back they missed since XP and makes commands more discoverable. If you prefer a clean design, just minimize the ribbon and add whatever commands you want to the QAT.

    2. People are likely to install less addons and toolbars if there are built-in commands which will help make Explorer stable. Addons crash Explorer sometimes.

    3.  Less context menu clutter. This is also important as almost all apps we install today add their commands to the context menu. Context menu becomes slow to appear and overflows the screen sometimes.

    I think Microsoft has stuck the right kind of balance with the Ribbon decision in Explorer.

  342. Hi Steven,

    Dual Pane Windows Explorer would be a welcome addition for ease of file ops between drives, makes for better use of the horizontal desktop real estate.

    Auto-contraction of folders/subfolders post user Windows Explorer operations would be a cool addition.

    "Disk free space" in the status bar when you click on a drive (which was available Windows XP Explorer but removed in Vista/Windows 7)

    IE download integration with Windows Explorer e.g. "one stop shop for all file ops".

    Thanks for reading!


  343. What a mess says:

    This reeks of designed by committee.  The fact that Microsoft does not know how awful this is speaks volumes.

  344. Chikn says:

    While I generally do like the ribbon UI and think it will make for a much more finger-friendly OS, I agree with many of the other comments saying that the appearance isn't up to snuff.  Win8 is competing not just with OSX and Linux anymore- it's competing with iOS and Android.  With the push toward mobile (and ARM chips), it would make sense to not just create something that's easy to use with mouse or finger, but something that stands a chance looking good aesthetically compared to other mobile options.  I love the thought of a razor-thin Windows8 tablet PC, but the software has to match the slickness of the upcoming hardware!

    Another worry is that with the push toward widescreen formats in the new Explorer, you forget those of us who use tablet PC's in portrait mode.  When using my EP121 in portrait, having the details pane off to the right would give me a tiny sliver of space in the middle to actually see files.  Please consider an option to locate the pane either at the bottom or right side.  For desktops and laptops, the option is obvious- and the right side makes perfect sense.  For a tablet, it would severely hinder useability.  PLEASE CONSIDER THIS!!

  345. TrulyAwful says:

    Hey Microsoft, less is more.  Do you understand what that means?  For one you don't have half your commands be ones that by your own admission no one ever uses.

  346. I'm thinking of:

    Windows Vista  "Wow Starts Now" but turned to "Disaster Starts Now"

    Windows 7         "Yours PC, Simplified" and they are simplified!!!!!

    Windows 8         "Yours PC,  Even More Simplified"   OR  "Yours PC, Complicated"    who know?

                                 "Yours PC,  Even Better"

  347. momo28 says:

    Sorry, i like what you are doing with windows 8, but this looks like a power user toolbar. Please make it more simple. The menu in XP was the best.

  348. Tom SSS says:

    Please bring back the old advanced search from the left bar, minus the animations of course.

  349. Alireza Noori says:

    Hi, straight to the feedback, PLEASE READ IT ALL:

    1- I think the most requested feature of Explorer is the introduction of TABs. All of the explorer alternatives provide users with tabs. Why shouldn't you?!

    2- I agree with a lot of users that requested powershell to be added to the menu.

    3- The reason that the command bar in Win7 didn't work is the same reason that is going to prevent the new Ribbon to work and it is: Mouse travel distance! I know about professional designing and I know that a user should not have to move his/her mouse a lot to achive what he/she wants. When I want to open a file, I never select the file and click on open in the command bar, I just double click it. Whenever I want to rename a file, I select it and hit F2, etc. You get the point. The same goes to hotkeys. Memorizing Ctrl+N for New Folder and executing it is much faster than clicking on Alt, look for New Folder, press its key, etc. People want to achive things faster with less effort.

    4- After posting lots of videos, it seems that you've completely forgot about your beautiful new UI: "Metro"!!! What happened to it? Sure there will be a lot of fun in the start page but I for one, as a developer am sure that I will be spending most of my time in Visual Studio, Windows Live Mail, Explorer, IE, etc. doing my works with the same Aero that I had in the Win7!!! Isn't that just saaaad?! I really hoped to see the beautiful Metro in the "Actual" interface where I get my job done. Not just start screen. Hope you can change it…

    4.1- Regarding the Metro interface, I think its finally time to see a dark theme from MSFT people (not just 3rd party and enthusiastics). If you are like me and you are spending at least 10 hours a day in front of your PC, you know that what a dark theme can do for your eyes. A dark Metro theme is what I love to see in Windows 8 (sth like WP7).

    5- You mentioned that the context menu is the main source and I thought you are about to change that, not encourage it!! But you did when you said you're not going to introduce a Add-in tab to the Ribbon. (sth that we are used to see in Office, WLM, etc).

    6- I hope to see some search improvements to Windows 8. As you may have heard a thousand times (which I have from at least 100 people), the Windows XP search was actually better than the Windows 7's!! I have searched for files that I was sure were there but Win7 couldn't find them. Finally I had to create my own search software just to get what I wanted!!!

    Finally I should thank you for these blog posts and sharing and taking our feedback. I really hope you use our feedback to improve the next version of Windows.

    Best of luck.

  350. Folks that are saying this is cluttered, cluttered relative to what other interface exposing >200 commands?  Let's talk about that a bit rather than just saying things are cluttered in an absolute sense.  –Steven

  351. pratik says:

    The good things

    have always liked the ribbon interface made life a lot easier in office

    good to see the amount of research you have put in to understand user requirement

    the bad things

    like you said windows explorer is at the core of windows ..would have loved to see a jazzy UI especially for tablets..really not sure how finger friendly this is

  352. trukhinyuri says:

    What about semantic/tags extension for ntfs like tagsistant? i want to add tags to file and select files with and/or by tags

  353. The "ribbon" concept has always struck me as "sensory overload" AT FIRST.  Then, as you become familiar with the groupings (View, File, etc), it gets better.  Presenting a LOT of information in one "screen" is a challenge.  Apple chose minimalism (Cocoa and Aqua) somewhat akin to Linux/UNIX GNOME or KDE, (although KDE presents very "busy" screens at times)…

  354. GoodThings2Life says:


    1. I have been actively using and supporting the Ribbon interface since its conception in Office 2007. I love it more and more with each new product that uses it, and as always the nay-sayers are always the ones who simply resist change for sake of change.

    2. I absolutely LOVE the work you guys have presented with this. I almost died of excitement seeing the news about the File > Open Command Prompt option and the Copy Path options. I feel like "Windows 8… this was my idea", lol.

    3. May I please ask a question/favor… can you guys PLEASE take the "Advanced Security" dialogs back to the way they were in XP (without all the extra clicking involved to manage ACLs) or at the very least take a look at redesigning them to be more friendly for administrators? I was reassigning permissions on a number of folders recently and it nearly brought me to a fit of rage.

    Thanks! You guys are awesome, and after reading ALL of the post, I must confess that I'm very pleased with the very functional, customizable, and yet still useful changes being made.

  355. Arcyon says:

    Well, Steven, I think it's plain obvious: people want a simple Explorer, not a powerful one.

    Besides the functions that are available do not a make for a powerful file manager anyway – people don't know them, but they also don't need them – so ribbon is seen as a clusterf*ck.

  356. Divjot Singh (Bogas04) says:

    Really nice!

    BTW the comparison made between current explorer and ribbon explorer is not fair. You should consider a normal folder (not library) and the detail's pane below should be of minimum height , coz that's how it is in default. That really makes current method more efficient at saving space…

  357. Arcyon says:

    "cluttered relative to what other interface exposing >200 commands…"

    Total Commander shows less, yet it is more powerful.


  358. Callum Saunders says:

    Ubuntu is becoming a more attractive option by the day

  359. jorge ramalho says:

    Hey Microsoft numbers are cool and all, group testing is also cool. BUT don't make the mistake of moving your engineering in front of your design team again. PLEASE. Look at Windows Mobile: simple, clean, unobtrusive — instant sucess. Or XBOX. Or Zune!

    Now back at that fugly ribbon. Yes we use a lot of commands on explorer. But 99% of the time we only use it to navigate from folder to folder. And everytime a user opens a new window he'll have that giant thing just sitting there. Come on. Keep it simple, keep it uncluttered, keep it focused on the user. And don't try to reinvent the wheel.

    I beg you. I've been a Windows fan for all my life. I work on a Mac 8 hours a day at work (design agency). I hate it. But I'll hate windows more if you start to improve on stuff that really needs little improvement. I'll go hackintosh if you turn win8 into a ribbonfest for the elderly (my mum will freak out when she sees the new explorer… she's 62 and I have my doubts that she'll know what to do with it).

    I'd rather have a "quick look" to look into files (only useful feature on finder imo) and instead of icons have real live previews of all my icons for ALL the files (photoshop? pdf? etc). Now that's productivity. Don't change things that actually work but instead bring new stuff in that can help me do my job better. Think aeropeek!

    Sincerely, your really disappointed and frustrated fan that has to hear windows jokes all day long at the office.


  360. Keyboard focus says:

    Having keyboard shortcuts for all commands is important, but so is the ability to control the keyboard focus. Easily and reliably moving the focus to the key areas of explorer is crucial. Having keyboard shortcuts to select the file list and the folder list would be very helpful. Right now we have to use tab/shift-tab which is error prone as it requires you to track the current tab state.

    This functionality is particularly important in the common file dialog, where going from the file name to the file list (type shift-tab two or three times depending on the application) is frustrating. This was easier in XP where it was just one shift-tab.

    I'm not a Vista plus hater — I like most aspects of the new explorer — but it is important to realize that some of the clamor for better keyboard accessibility is related to Vista and beyond making it harder to set the keyboard focus. I hope that is addressed.

  361. Andy says:

    I have to say, I really do like the intuitiveness of the Ribbon in Explorer, but I find the Nav/Address bar to be awkward. It just sticks out like a sore thumb, it doesn't flow right with the rest. That could use some work.

    But overall, awesome!

  362. Jason says:

    I like the new Explorer and the ribbon. However, please update the graphics to match Office 2010 or the Metro look. The graphics look very dated. And speaking of search….please let us index (file contents) nas/network drives.

  363. Some weeks ago I was very skeptical seeing ribbon UI 'ported' to explorer in one of the leaked Windows 8 builds.

    This nice review and the video at the end – just turned me into a believer 🙂

    There are so many nice improvements that are suitable for power and novice users alike. I really enjoy readying the thoughtful process that the designers and programmers are going through. Good job guys!

    Along other things I the new 'quick access bar' is very handy. Just like the interactive address bar, which has not been mentioned in this review… (thumbs up)

    Couple of things I would really like to see being implemented in one or another way:

    – (status bar) ability to see size information of the folder in the status bar when you click on it (currently in Windows 7 only the size of the file or a group of files is being shown when selected; if a folder gets into a selection too, the 'only' way to see the size of the selection is do a right click -> properties). Properties button is added which is a good thing, but (imo) having the size of folders/selection (whatever it is) always at hand would be very handy nevertheless (unless this would lead to performance degradation). I just catch myself checking out the size of folders/selection very often especially while copying them to some external media.

    – (personalization) ability to change the color scheme of the explorer UI (just like color/transparency of the window). Maybe with couple of presets available like in Office 2010, as well as an option to adjust the color of the explorer to fit with the window color selected or even desktop wallpaper. The more will be possible – the more entertained we will stay using and exploring Windows 8 for some years to come. (I've used Vista since early beta. One of the reasons I was eagerly awaiting Windows 7 beta was that I simply got bored with the interface of Vista and pretty limited customization options it had. I do use Windows 7 as a main OS since official beta and not bored yet, but still – more personalization should keep power users and novice users alike more happy for longer time:-)

    – (interface customization / size adjustment / dpi / 'scalable interface') from the available screenshot of the whole explorer window I can see that I could most likely do with the thinner panel containing 'back' and 'forward' buttons, address bar and search bar… That is, if some sort of zoom adjustment of the explorer panel/elements would be available – one would be basically able to scale it's size to a personal preference (getting more valuable space or getting the elements easy to see/read or click). I use such a possibility in one Norwegian internet browser, where I scale the elements to my liking (for example I use 80% of default size for address bar). I think if one would able to zoom in/out into interface like one can into a web page – that would be pure awesome. I am not sure if such 'scalable interface' is possible to achieve, but that would not only 'enhance' the option of changing DPI settings ('set custom text size' as it is called in Windows 7), but basically this would integrate the ability to set up working space to your comfortable size/scale on the fly.  

    For example, taking a 27" screen with 2560×1440 resolution – if I could only 'zoom into' explorer and Windows GUI 'with a click of button' (without the log off/on and mixed results at the end) – that would just make the experience perfect. Many seniors ask me to make the text more readable even at 24" screen with 1920×1200 resolution. I see that for most of them the comfortable text size with such screen is 125%. However, a user of '100% screen' would also feel uncomfortable working on a 125% setting. The experience is not pleasant/ideal in both cases. 'Scalable interface' would allow 'father and son' to work on one PC at the same time (taking seconds to switch). Just like zooming into Internet page for a comfortable read for your parents, zooming into interface could really make you a kid to be proud of… 🙂

    Big thanks to all Windows 8 team for all the brainstorm sessions you've done, sleepless nights you had, arguments you survived through and eventually – great job you've done and continue doing on 'Windows Next'. Make us all proud, ladies and gentlemen:-)

  364. Eddie says:

    "but they need to start making real design decisions that advance the usability of Windows." – techcrunch…/windows-8s-new-explorer-this-one-goes-to-11

  365. Jelly says:

    Please fix mspaint from windows 7 while you're at it!  It hides everything useful by default so every action is 2 clicks.  It's not an improvement over the old toolbar.  Selection is also not the same as the old paint making it hard to get a specific pixel to crop.

  366. Jelly says:

    Please fix mspaint from windows 7 while you're at it!  It hides everything useful by default so every action is 2 clicks.  It's not an improvement over the old toolbar.  Selection is also not the same as the old paint making it hard to get a specific pixel to crop.

  367. The Ribbon will definitely expose more commands to users, but quite frankly, it's ugly and cluttered. Windows 7's Explorer is much cleaner and more modern, in my opinion. Looking forward to a Metro-themed Classic / Desktop UI at BUILD!

  368. Please make Full Row Select optional.  When Full Row Select is on, it's a pain to find a blank spot to right-click, and drag & dropping to a folder full of files is difficult too.

  369. Kyle R says:

    I too would like to see Office 2010's ribbon style used here. A casual comparison between the screenshot and Outlook 2010 revealed that the W8 version is about 10px taller. I would also like an option to move the details panel back to the bottom of the screen and the right hand panel often gets in the way of viewing the column details.

    Which brings me to this observation. The uselessness of the preview panel. 99% of the time it's just taking up tons of space while offering the helpful 'No preview available' message. This leaves 'normal' users operating files in a tiny space where they are constantly horizontally and vertically scrolling. Many of the users I run into at work that have this pane open have a tiny space to actually see the file list, and just leave it that way because 'they don't know how it got there' anyway.

    While I would LOVE for W8 to implement the superior OSX style preview with the 'spacebar' key where you actually get a large preview when requested that provides the ability to display and read though almost everything imaginable, I know there is about zero percent chance of that happening. At least hide the small useless preview pane automatically if it can't do anything with the file. OSX's file management is terrible on just about every count, but there is no denying that the preview program is amazing.

  370. Also another thing. I've been reading allot of things about implementing Metro into the Ribbon and yes i couldn't agree more. But please don't compromise your principles of especially one that we're seeing now in the Ribbon which is allot of Chrome. Remember Metro is supposed to be chrome-less if you're going to add Metro to explorer and expand it to the desktop; which i really hope you do because Metro should evolve beyond that "media Center" period, then please follow your principles and make it chrome-less. I also read comments about the Ribbon being much more cleaner and i agree it is not cleaner in the explorer. In Office 2010 it is beautiful clean and at first i couldn't recognize it that's much cleaned up it was then the Office 2007 Ribbon. The Office 2007 ribbon took up some space while Office 2010's ribbon didn't take up that much space because it's cleaned up and looks better and simpler.

  371. Owen Williams says:

    Hi there,

    I'm a News Editor for, and I'd be interested in talking to someone about the changes we're seeing here. You can go ahead and contact me on owen.williams[at]

    I usually resist posting on things like this, but this is really irking me today. I don't mind these changes, I think they're great, but, there's one thing that bugs me. The "up" folder button. If theres a definition of redundant, or even scope creep, thats it. We now have an up button, and breadcrumbs. Why do we need both? Not only is it hideous, on top of the UI disaster that appears to be the Ribbon built into explorer, we have something that really isn't needed.

    Why has it been readded? I feel like EVERYONE is moving towards CLEAN and SIMPLE (including Microsoft with WP7) but Microsoft is insisting on adding MORE CLUTTER to Windows (for desktops at least).

    It's making me sad :(.

    Anyway, I'd love to talk to one of the team about the changes if you get to reading this far down.



  372. Sunweb says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    xplorer2 has hundreds of commands and without a ribbon interface those commands can be easily found using the tried and true menu bar system. For me anyway the ribbon menu is really hard to look at, and quickly process… Icons are different sizes, text for items is sometimes on the bottom and sometimes on the side. I have really tried to get used it and I'm sorry I can't. I dislike the ribbon so much that I now use OpenOffice instead of Word 2007.

    Let the user customize the interface. If users don't like the ribbon interface, this comment log suggests that a lot don't, there should be a way to change it. It should not be too hard to programmatically turn the ribbon menu into a standard menu bar. If you don't allow users to customize the interface then users will switch to a product like xplorer2 that will let them.

  373. Martín says:

    I'm disappointed. Ribbon is not the right way.

    I hope MS can do it right with simplicity and clearness.

  374. I wonder if the command usage telemetry includes mouse actions (double-click to open, drag & drop to cut & paste file, etc).

    Oh, and thanks for bringing back the Up button.  It makes repetitive file management much easier without having to read the paths in nested folders.

    Current Folder size is a welcome old feature too.

  375. Senzune says:

    Just watched the video. The new interface doesn't make anything easier, except to copy a path. Seriously, this is disappointing. As much as I am FOR ease, this is NOT the way to go..

    The ruined Desktop interface and not-keeped promise of a unified system, where tablets and pc's are the same, is reason for me to not purchase Windows 8, despite Metro being awesome. It's being held back by the outdated interface of the Desktop mode, and I guess Microsoft, you will see it soon enough, as this leaves room for competition. And that, considering, I didn't like Mac at all.

  376. mark justice hinton says:

    I like these changes. However, I have never liked the handling of context-specific tabs in a Ribbon, such as Library Tools in the example (or Picture Tools in WLPG). It's unattractive, disrupts the titlebar text and doesn't function except as an attempt to draw attention to the functional tab (Manage, in this case, or Format in WLPG). Why not just highlight that Manage tab (reverse colors) and leave the superfluous label out. Less clutter.

  377. Ian says:

    Could you guys use a office 2010 style such as not squashing the tabs right up with the top aero bar also stop going with the 3D hump lock as with the file button and with the ribbon itself. Can you also clean it up it looks likes some one has taken black and outlined everything not like office 2010. It also does not look precise and clear and it lacks clarity can you also Incorporate all commands and simplify the experience.

    -Recommend Back Stage

    -Backstage should also have a command selection in the next Microsoft Office that says destroy file, duplicate file, convert to different file type and a link to save As command, and send command

    -save as command in Back Stage should be incorporated into Backstage like Print command does and should not open another dialogue box but instead run you through a series of steps like:

    1.Location of File

    2.File type : Use big Icons with text to select file type

    3.Rename File

    4.Review and save

    -Also try to make the tabs flow up into Aero Bar.

  378. CodeLake says:

    It would be rather efficient for Users to have explorer tabs like in IE rather than opening multiple explorer windows.

  379. An IT Pro says:

    So MS, you got these great stats from users, but who are these users and how did you get this data? Anyone call pull stats and say that x% of users did this.. but WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE and why are you BASING EVERYTHING on these people.

    Not everyone uses the OS the same. There are technical people who you are really failing hardcore by removing functions and adding more bloat. I.E Homegroups, and the entire networking side in Vista/Win7/Win2008 is broken. Go back to WinXP/Win2000 style. Less crappy GUI's, more function.

  380. Rynant says:

    'Open command prompt' in the File menu is for the PowerShell command prompt. . . right?

    I try to avoid CMD as much as possible; please don't make it the default option.

  381. skSdnW says:

    1. When UAC is disabled, the run as administrator command and runas verb should display the old NT5 UI (It used to be in shell32) and then call CreateProcessAsUser

    2. Pressing F2 twice should include the extension in the selection.

    3. Right click on titlebar icon (HTSYSMENU) should display the IContextMenu for the current folder like XP does.

    4. Explorer should stop the lies, it does not like to display folders like %AppData%MicrosoftWindowsRecentAutomaticDestinations and other "special" folders (see )

    5. Backspace = Up folder (Like it was in Win95 to 2003)

    Already suggested: Diskspace and selection size in statusbar, horz. scrollbar in tree, no auto arrange etc

    @Frank Hollander: Type "shell:SentTo" in the addressbar

    @Kraig S: 2: explorer.exe /separate,c:yourpath (This has been supported for ages) There is also a registry key you can set to always start a new process

  382. contextfree says:

    Speaking of addons though, along with UI/context menu bloat Explorer addons (sometimes piggybacked without much fanfare on installers for other programs) can be a source of performance and reliability issues, much as IE addons have been. IE9 implemented an improved interface for getting addons under control, have you given any thought to something like that for Explorer?

    By the way, I do think I like the changes overall, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you'll clean up the visuals some (though some degree of clutter is probably the nature of the beast).

  383. I enjoyed reading this article very much and look forward to trying this. I'm an Office 2010 user, and going to a ribbon interface makes so much sense and meets your design and usability goals. One thing I like very much about Office 2010 is the ability to customize the ribbon by changing what's on each tab and even creating your own tabs. Will you be able to do this kind of ribbon customization in Explorer? If so, please also incorporate Office 2010's ability to export and import these customizations. I love to use the same ones across several machines.

    Keep up the good work on these blog postings. It's also very nice to meet the folks who work on a system you use every day.

  384. I don't get the point of the up button. If you want to go up a link in the chain, why not just click the previous folder name in the breadcrumb bar?  If you were in C > User > Joe > Docs >  Project, you could just click the "Joe" name to go back to the Joe folder — it'd take two clicks of the Up button.

  385. Chris McGrath says:

    The ribbon not being extensible by third parties? Personally I'd love for a TortoiseSVN tab.

    Also, the Zip option in the Share tab – Power users want 7zip, I hope there's a way to use that instead.

    I hope you make the "Up" optional, I think with the existing url bar it's not needed.

    In the search Tab I can't see an option for "search all files not just indexed files" one of the most annoying things about Win7 search is you don't have access to this option till the indexed search is finished.

    Sync the folder list on the side button. I don't like the folders on the side automatically following me – it gets too messy quickly but I want a button to "Go to where I am now" a lot like what I did in Visual Studio with this extension –

    One more thing, when you open an unknown file type this annoying screen comes up which by default asks if you want to "Use the Web service to find the correct program" I would love to know if anyone has EVER used this option and it actually helped them. PLEASE give us an "ALWAYS select a program from a list of installed programs" option.

  386. MiftahK says:

    I hate the ribbon.  It was the worst thing that could've happened to windows.  Makes just about every Windows app a pain to use.

  387. Anonyuser says:

    Hate it. The ribbon is horrible. Tasteless. Pointless. Condescending. No significant user interface improvements have been made to Windows Explorer since XP. It's all so much window dressing, and ugly window dressing at that. It's utterly amazing that so many smart people can produce a product that is so inexcusably dumb.

    From the people who brought you an operating system called… "BOB"

  388. contextfree says:

    also, fwiw I'd prefer you NOT revert backspace to "up" – backspace to go back is useful, consistent with other programs, makes more sense, and alt-up to go up works fine.

  389. Sebastian says:

    I would REALLY REALLY like you improve the keyboard use in windows. Not sure why, but it is a pain to do something useful on Win7. The interface is always blocking whatever file operation I need to do. I am back on total commander.

  390. Ibs says:

    Please add a resize tool to the "Picture Tools". That would be very helpful.

  391. This is horrible. Why not stick to the Metro UI? You clearly have a very good UI in Metro, just remove the Ribbon UI altogether. It doesn't work. Every UI designer thinks that this is crap.

  392. diz says:

    This is awful, Most of people don't need advanced options and they know about right click. Explorer window must look clean and nice. It's like with browser where content is king. I'm windows user since 3.11 and for most of time I use right click context menu. It's much better than selecting file then moving cursor up to the ribbon then finding any button. Good luck…. People aren't using bar, because they are: 1) used to right click 2) bar is worse, less effective than keyboards shortcuts or context menus. Forcing people to do things in a new way isn't good idea. Especially when it makes windows interface ugly. Many users won't bother hiding it, it will be just ugly for them. On the other hand OS X is nice. Windows 7 UI is as nice as Apple's and is almost perfect for ergonomic point of view (better than OS X). The only missing feature in win 7 is probably up button. Maybe selecting more then 1 file should be easier and selecting all files. Not everyone knows about holding ctrl and ctrl + a. Nothing more IMO. Add them to context menu! Sure you can give users option to use ribbons, but they should be turned OFF by default. I know it isn't final design,but there are too many buttons there. It's totally overwhelming. I know this isn't the only interface in windows 8, but it doesn't mean it can be so ugly and I say it again in case you missed it…overwhelming. It isn't word or excel, you don't need so many options exposed to manage files. Most of them can be in context menu. It's sad that MS is the company that invented metro interface and designed nice and clean IE now develops such a ugly monster :<

  393. CodeLake says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    What about putting back the API to display Folder Size in the list view? It was very helpful in the earlier versions of Windows and was taken back in Vista and 7.

  394. Gustavo says:

    guys, come on! you had us fool with windows 7. we thought you guys were getting it! but now this?! come on people, less = more!!!

    if you guys keep going this way I'll switch to a Mac, sorry.

  395. Sorry if this comes off as a harsh overreaction, but this explorer UI is a conceptual nightmare.

    What I see in this blog post for the explanation of this mess is numerous and repeated mistakes in assumptions of what users want/need based on false data constructed from actual telemetry. What’s even worse is the admission that the inspiration for many of these ‘improvements’ come from an incredibly small vocal minority instead of the vast majority of the actual user base. It is rarely ever a good idea to listen to the one loud mouth in the crowd because he’s the loudest and won’t shut…

    Here’s an example of a mistake in assumptions: “Telemetry shows us that users don’t use command/menu bar, so let’s make it more prominent until they do!”  The problem here is while there is lot data from telemetry, interpreting that data is largely subjective. You have decided that users weren’t using the main UI because it didn’t have enough access to functions; hence the reasoning why the context menu was used so much more. The interpretation you made twisted the data into a misconception by trying to make a logical solution from an illogical conclusion, thus giving a false solution. But in reality all you know is that the context menu was by a huge margin the preferred way to interact with the explorer.

    Instead of trying to force users to use the command/menu bar (against what your telemetry shows) why not improve the context menu since it is by far the preferred method? Why not make something that is already widely used even better since it is so popular? Maybe the reason the ‘main UI’ isn’t used wasn’t because it lacked content, but because the faster and easier method is to simply right click and go straight to a menu where your mouse already is rather than to hunt across a large menu system at the top of the screen (more on this later).

    In a highly active and fast moving program like Adobe Photoshop where thousands of repeated common tasks are performed over and over, the use of context menus is paramount. Right clicking and quickly making decisions instead of a lot of mouse scrolling saves an incredible amount of time and effort. But the most important part by far is the ‘context’ part; where this menu adapts to the content or task you are working on. It is this intelligence to what you have highlight under your mouse, selected as a group, are currently working on, or even what is in the clipboard that makes this context menu so powerful (which is the one possible redeeming quality to the ribbon UI). All of these commands exist in the command bar as well, but it is far easier to simply use a context menu just a click away, then to move up to the menu and back. It’s not just about flushing out ever command possible into one giant ugly UI, it’s about making it simpler, easier, and quicker to get to the one command you need right ‘then’. To make an analogy to cooking, it’s the difference between showing someone a large well-organized pantry full of well labeled shelves and saying “good luck!” vs. simply handing someone the tools they need for the current task. Yes the pantry has EVERYTHING you could ever need and is well organized, but a huge majority of the time you don’t all those things, you only need the few and to show everything is unnecessary, overwhelming and wasteful.

    This again is where I can’t help but to see how a simple and clean metro style and attention to improving context menus could have had a dramatically better result. Not only would be less confusing to the huge majority of average users out there, but would again bring coherence to the platform instead of splintering it with a cluttered ribbon.

    I simply fail to see how this could work harmoniously with the immersive Metro UI in the start menu, and I truly hope that no tablet user will ever have to be subjected to this; it simply isn’t touch first and even Julie (as well as in other Windows 8 demoes) struggled to interact with that UI through touch…. It just doesn’t work. And that is a problem that there better be a good… no… great answer too.

    Let’s go back to that large menu system at the top of the screen that is considered an ‘improvement’. No matter how you move UI items around or talk it up, that large menu system does in fact waste space and not to mention it is visually distracting to the actual content of the page, i.e., the files and programs. That screen shot of the 2 UIs between Windows 7 and Windows 8 is a cute misdirection (read: lie) and is frankly somewhat disgusting and comical that this is used as an example as an ‘improvement’.

    The Windows 7 example is shown to only have 22 items compared to the ‘improved’ 24 items of Windows 8, but the 7 version is using the large size for the detail pane at the bottom (with the new Windows 8 details pane conveniently hidden from the side).…/22itemswindows7largedet.jpg

    By simply switching to the smaller detail’s option (or resizing it to any size you want) you can show about 25 items in the same window, while keeping all horizontal space available – which is incredibly useful when you need every inch comparing two folders with aero snap.…/25itemswindows7smalldet.jpg

    Furthermore you can even hide the details pane under ‘organize’ to see 5 more items than the example putting it to 27 items. (Note: the Windows 8 example doesn’t show the details pane on the side to see how much space is taking up).…/27itemswindows7detailsp.jpg  

    (Cue cheesy announcer voice) But, that’s not all! The library view of Windows 7 includes a header explaining that you are looking at a library and not just a folder, which the Windows 8 example curiously doesn’t show. If you simply open the actual documents folder you get the same view as the example used in Windows 8. By doing so and keeping the details pane closed – as so to looks similar to the Windows 8 example – we get 30 items viewable in the current Windows 7 UI!…/30itemswindows7detailsp.jpg

     This comes out to a 36% increase in space compared to the way Windows 7 is shown in this example and 25% increase over the ‘improved’ Windows 8 example, while looking much cleaner and less cluttered.

    Now I’m not accusing anyone on the team of trying to maliciously misguide with these examples but I do think it shows another example of mistaken assumptions. A quick look at the example provided can lead to the conclusion, that “wow, yeah even with this clunky top menu I guess I can see more!” but this is an incorrect misconception. Not only are you seeing less, but UI elements have been unnecessarily added or moved effectively diminishing the intended positive effect. Obviously if the ribbon can be hidden completely then the sparse remaining UI will have more space than with it open, but to suggest that the open ribbon menu actually saves space is a down right lie.

    This includes the movement of the details pane. Yes, moving it from the bottom adds vertical space, but obviously at the cost of horizontal space. For a list view you can to see more items vertically but the amount of readable columns becomes limited by the now lost horizontal space. Unless you spread your explorer windows to cover the entirety of that widescreen real-estate (which is a less than ideal use of desktop space), you now have lost a valuable information regarding the items you are looking at. And maybe it’s just me, but I find scrolling vertically with a mouse scroll wheel far easier than trying to scroll horizontally (which is probably why I rarely ever – never– have the preview pane open to eat away at horizontal space…) This also doesn’t take into account the use of other folder views where horizontal space is again incredibly valuable. It seems that movement of the details pane was more out of necessity from to the greatly reduced space stolen by the ribbon bar then out of consideration of the best UI.

    The worst part about this, as many have agreed, is that it is probably far too late for the needed changes to be made. Too much time and effort has been spent moving to this new UI and not enough time is left to correct it. The only hope I see is that this isn’t the only UI available and there is an entirely separate (actually touch first) Metro UI that a user can spend all his or her time in. Even with a separate UI for touch, this currently shown version still is less than ideal even for just normal daily usage.

    If I were to speculate, the move to a ribbon UI seem like it was in the works far before the potential of Metro was discovered and now it seems like the continuation of the use of the ribbon is just to stubbornly follow on the old path, instead of fully embracing the future with Metro. That of course could be way off course, but that is how it seems from its migration from Office to paint and the Windows Live Essentials to now with the explorer.

    I would argue that the art of being simple and concise with Metro is far more difficult that plastering everything up in plain view but the reward for being successful with Metro is far better than any other UI. It’s a difficult task to take a lot of elements and reduce it down without losing meaning, which is why I would call it an art, but the end user benefits greatly with a more interface that is far more direct and clean.

    The large majority of items in those ribbons just aren’t going to be used often if at all; and as you’ve shown you have the telemetry to back that up. That means for as long as the ribbon is open the majority of those elements are nothing but wasted space. Even if they are well organized, they are still overwhelmingly a waste, so how could that possibly seen as simplifying the UI for the user? It seems a huge effort has been put into flushing out a few elements that only even smaller group of users would care to use.  And while some of these additions might be great for those few users, they are unnecessary for the actual 99% users of Windows. For something that the design team ‘loves’ when they are working with batch files, e.g. access the command prompt, is that something that your family members need better access to in the main explorer UI? Is that a huge advantage to business users? Do consumer really care how easy it is for them to get to an administrator command prompt? Really?

    This line of thinking seems completely foreign to the mottos and goals described about the future of Windows. Are these thoughts really from the same team that designed the Metro UI elements in the start menu?? I don’t see how anyone could see believe that these two UIs complement each other or work towards the same goal. I feel like a broken record more so than ever because the same issues are being repeated again and again. Is bringing back elements from XP really a goal?? There is a reason why people universally loved Windows 7 and it was because it moved forward by reducing these types of unnecessary elements and now they are being brought back and more prominently than ever?? This line of thinking can’t be real; it has to be just a misguided delusion. Maybe when more is revealed the sense and direction will be seen, but if these are what the final product is expected to look like then the worst has already happened; the nightmare is reality. And that’s a scary thought.

  396. bob says:


    Glad to see the return of the up button, but the ribbon bar is a complete monstrosity

  397. Aronnax says:

    Have you already took a look at "Copenhagen Concept" by Cullen Dudas?

    he´s idea is really great!

    some of his ideas for explorer could be implemented in this ribbon interface you´re doing!

  398. shin says:

    this is disgusting. what the hell are you doing to my beautiful windows? if you want to implement this ribbon bullshit that was a complete fail in office at least make sure to include the option to revert it back to how it currently is in Windows 7. Not only will I never get used to this ribbon crap, I have no desire to do so. The current way is much much much better. why are you breaking what works perfectly fine?!!!!

  399. BigFrog says:

    Users have to be very "smart" to use this interface. Stupid users like me won't like it, even though I am holding a PhD degree.

  400. danielpauldavis says:

    The Advanced System Care 4 on my computer goes places here on this computer and finds directories, folders, and files that Windows Explorer won't even acknowledge exists. Will Windows 8 be any kind of improvement over Windows 7, which I have, which does not actually "explore"?

  401. BlindUser says:

    1. Please please provide descriptions for your graphs. I would really appreciate it. I also want to know which commands are the most popular. I am sorry if this causes you trouble. At least describe the most important graphs up to a point when you can and have the time.

    2. Please improve your zip compressor / uncompressor in Windows 8. Since XP and up through Vista and Windows 7, it crashes all the time when trying to extract large zip files. For small files it works fine but for large ones it freezes and it says not responding. I think it should be a multithreading issue or something. The UI is tied to the processing of the zip file or something. It is unacceptable though that the same code is being used since XP. Time for a re-write so that it will not stall the UI when processing large files and make it say "Not responding" and crash.

    3. I strongly disagree that the ribbon offers shortcuts to all commands. As an experienced blind user of the Office ribbon and as a heavy user of keyboard shortcuts I strongly disagree with your design. Let me explain: Traditionally shortcuts are a combination of two keys, i.e. a modifier such as CTRL and a letter (preferably one that is easy to remember). Now with the Office ribbon and presumably with the Windows 8 one too, shortcuts have become these long-winded sequence of irrelevant keys like "Press ALT, then let go of it, then press H, then let go of it, then press c and then let go of it and finally press x for Cut. How horrible. These are not Office shortcuts. They are longcuts. Shortcuts are supposed to be short, memorable and easy to press with one go. These ribbon longcuts are a series of hard to remember letters, which have to be typed fast one after the other and which are thus easy to misstype. I much prefer to open the ribbon and press tab one hundred times than to have to remember and press these so called shortcuts. You say that now we will have access to all 200 commands through these shortcuts. Well, no. They are so hierarchical that they cannot be internalized. So, they cannot be typed mechanically, i.e. they are useless to me. Have you done any research on this? I think that two level shortcuts (those that require a series of more than two letters) have to be abolished.

    4. I hate the ribbon. Read the blogs, the forums, the support calls, the Web sites, etc, the blind community is outraged over the use of the ribbon in Office. And now it will come to Windows. The main issue is that to get to anything now you have to press tab one hundred times. Whilst before with the menus and with the 4-directional cursors, one cursor press this way and another the other way and you get there much much faster. Whilst now with the ribbon is tab and tab and tab and tab again until your tab key breaks. Cursors cannot be used reliably on the ribbon. What I mean is that traditional menus offer levels of hierarchy which made reaching your target command faster since you could use cursors left and right to select a menu and up or down or a hotkey to make a selection out of 6-8 items. Fast. Now with the ribbon you have to tab through 30 items on a single ribbon tab. And groups on the same tab cannot be navigated or explored easily by the cursors like in menus. They are more of a visual thing. At most they offer a keyboarding hierarchy which is 3 levels deep: Ribbon tab, group and item. Much deeper than the 2-level hierarchy of the menus. But in any case, groups are hard to navigate through or explore and are thus useless. Have you done research on keyboard users? Blind users have stuck with Office 2003 and refuse to upgrate for this reason. Some screen readers even offer a mode which tries, (unsuccessfully), to simulate the old menus over the 2007-2010 Office ribbons. This is the level of disatisfaction that you find around tthe blind community.

  402. James Mitchell says:

    I hate WIndows Explorer. I have been using Directory Opus for years, it is so much better! Why don't you guys take a look at Directory Opus or just buy them. DO allows you to have both a source and destination screen open on the same screen, which makes copying files from source to destination to be much easier.

  403. N says:

    Steven, looking at the final result it's very hard to read through the rest of this article.  

    I just think the final result is wrong.  There has to be a better answer.  A better innovation.  I don't know what it is, but one thing that immediately jumped out at me was that the Windows XP design is surprisingly good, simple and attractive.

    Food for thought, but I vote for XP on this one.

  404. Usuario says:

    I was so happy so far with Windows 8. But now this ribbon crap in a main component like Explorer is has ruined all. Please, people, rethink what we saw here today. Please.

  405. bonelyfish says:

    It is a wonder how MS is still playing with cosmatic and metaphor, honestly, will there be any upgrade to notepad?

  406. Derf Skren says:

    Excellent work. Please make sure you force this down user's throats without thinking about what they actually use explorer for.

    I'm banking on Windows 8 being the product that actually BREAKS Microsoft.

  407. TheTechFan says:

    I really like the ribbon! For those who think it looks cluttered, minimize it and keep using the context menu and keyboard shortcuts.  As a power user, I'm really thankful for the removal of the menu bar, and the much better exposure to keyboard shortcuts.

  408. Scotty says:

    By far THE MOST ANNOYING thing about the Win7 folder tree in Explorer is how it moves the selected folder to the BOTTOM of the screen when you click the folder.  You have to constantly scroll back up over and over and over again…  How this could possibly pass QA testing before Win7 was released is an absolute mystery.  Is this ridiculous design mistake going to be in Win8 too????  

  409. xpclient says:

    Love the comment in the video about preserving the heritage of Explorer. Ever since the new shell and Explorer debuted in Windows 95, it has seen fantastic improvements with each Windows release (Windows Desktop Update/IE4, Windows 2000/Me, and finally XP). Windows Vista and Windows 7 also brought extremely cool features but removed a lot of existing features as even Microsoft admits in this blog post. I hope they will fix the issues I pointed out in Explorer with this release.

    I forgot to include suggestions for the common Open/Load and Save dialogs:

    1.  Because these dialogs aren't full screen, having the same full navigation pane as Explorer introduces a scroll bar and makes things too cluttered compared to XP where there was 5 simple favorite locations. For these dialogs, the Vista design is great where only the Favorites section is shown by default and the folders list is collapsed by default. In short, make the left pane less cluttered.

    2.  Because there are multiple versions of these dialogs (legacy, Vista style and Windows 7 style, there is no consistency). Can you update at least the Vista style dialogs to use the new Windows 7 ItemsView control?

    3.  It's time these dialogs also globally saved their last view mode settings. (List/Details/Tiles etc). Users get really annoyed when the view gets reset.

    4.  Right clicking in an empty area in these dialogs is even more cumbersome, so if the sort/column headers could be always shown, that would ease sorting.

    And some more new feature suggestions for Explorer:

    1.  The search tools GUI is much needed, which was lacking in Windows 7. For location, you need to support a user type-able path where the user wants to search, not just current folder or All subfolders. In XP, the location field also supports environment variables, so you could quickly type: %tmp%, or %windir%, or %ProgramFiles% to search them.  For Date, Kind and Size, you should include more advanced options like Before/After particular Date, Date created or accessed, Size smaller than/larger than in MB or KB. In fact, the Windows Advanced Query Syntax is so comprehensive and powerful, yet very few users use it because we have to remember it. The search tools section in the Ribbon can be greatly expanded to expose the full AQS, like find only encrypted files or find compressed files etc that will make searching in Explorer extremely effective. The more detailed the filtering GUI, the more powerful search becomes. Are partial word matches supported by Windows Search finally?

    2.  The command prompt could open at the current location if no folder is selected in the right pane and also at the selected folder in the right pane if one is selected!

    3.  Why not support spring-loaded folders, that is, open a folder when you drag and hover over it for an extended period.

    4.  The folder thumbnails are not very helpful in Windows 7 as they are 3D and tilted. Windows XP showed flat thumbnails with 4 images per folder whic was easier to identify folders with many photos. Can we optionally revert to flat thumbnails please?

    5.  The ''Choose details'' dialog which allows selecting columns in Details View can categorize all the metadata properties by Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Recorded TV, Calendar, Contacts etc. Also, you can allow drag and drop for the many properties so it becomes easier to re-order them.

    6.  In the size column of Explorer in Details view, files sizes should be sensibly shown. That is, sizes below 1 MB should be shown in KB and below 1 GB in MB, not show huge sizes in KB.

    7.  I cannot select one Word document with DOC extension, another with DOCX extension and open them both at the same time.

    8.  How about a button in the Ribbon to regenerate/refresh all thumbnails for a particular folder?

    9.  The search box does not work for Default Programs control panel. Default Programs File association dialog search box could search file associations or extensions.

    10. Preview pane should preview music and videos. Windows 2000 had such functionality. Windows preview pane is limited to showing pictures, documents and music album art.

    11.  Thumbnails are not generated for files not in view. Only when you scroll to them, the thumbnails are generated slowing down the whole process very much. Can you improve upon this?

    12.  Desktop sorting order is not consistent. Sorting by any criteria should sort in Ascending order first, sorting again should sort in Descending order. For example, if you sort by Size or Date modified on the Desktop today, you get Recycle Bin as the last arrange icon instead of the first, not something anyone would want.

    13.  Allow adding more than 1 folder to a library at a time and saving a search as a library.

    14.  When Shift+Shift is held down, any items from Start Menu or Taskbar open as administrator. Do the same for Explorer so we can open documents from UAC-protected folders in the associated program as administrator.

    15.  All downloaded files get added to them an alternate data stream and they need to be unblocked one by one or using cmd prompt which is not easy. Unblocking multiple selected files downloaded from the internet should be possible from Properties.

    16.  Previous/Next buttons in Properties of any file to move to the Properties of the next/previous file without closing the Properties window and opening it again.

  410. TheTechFan says:

    I forgot to mention this, but I agree that the up button is unnecessary. I'd much rather have that space be used by the breadcrumb bar.

  411. Ratish Philip says:

    A small feature I would request in the Windows Explorer is showing the size of folders too in the Details view.

  412. Michael Csikos says:

    I second the earlier comment about a button to "Expand to current folder now". I have the "Automatically expand to current folder" option switched off in 7 because I want to see my favourites all the time – that's the only reason. In Vista, having it sync automatically was not a problem because the favourites were in a separate splittable area which was always visible. (Could you bring this back for 8?) A new button sync to the current folder on demand would be very easy to implement, and extremely useful.

    And, the up arrow is useful, because it doesn't move around.

    What about tabs? How seriously were they considered? Tabs were the domain of power users until tabbed web browsing became the norm. Microsoft were very late to the party with IE tabs; can we ever expect an MDI interface option for Windows Explorer? Even something as simple as two panes in the same window would be useful. Visual Studio and the Productivity Power Tools have showed us how flexible and fantastic tabs can be. And after all, the ribbon interface itself is tabbed! What if IE could show a Windows Explorer session in a tab? I would use it.

  413. Justin Price says:

    I'm very confused as to why you choose to expose features that only function when an object is selected intermixed with objects that relate to selecting objects or file creation.  The presentation of these controls should be dynamic, context aware, and their use should be demonstrated by their placement near the element being modified as opposed to at a predefined location.  

    It would make much more sense to move the elements, in the first tab for example, related to object interaction (open, copy, edit, delete, rename, etc.) into a flyout menu which is similar to the hotformatting bar in Word.  

  414. Craig says:

    Looks great! I'm a big fan of the ribbon if for no other reason than it combines all the commands in one place (in Win7 you have the menu bar, the command bar, the right-click menu, etc). I liked the comment to minimize the ribbon by default and hover-expand it on single click.

  415. Paul says:

    What a bunch of truth that is entirely rubbish. It sounds sexy and I'm sure you guys spent a lot of time on it. But the real reason for the change is the universal canvas. Go watch the fusion 2000 keynotes people. This is just an end game step to an entirely new windows rebuilt on a ten year plan (with two extra for the vista reset).

    If you don't see this as "universal canvas is next", you don't understand microsoft .

  416. Adam says:

    Microsoft need to learn from Apple in their finder window. Less is more.

    A user doesn't want to be confused with a million buttons it makes the UI ugly and pointless.

  417. Ken says:

    While the intentions of this new UI are good, it looks too busy. A context menu could provide all those commands, while making the UI cleaner

  418. sparky says:

    I hate to say it but the interface isnt a pretty sight – surely these menus could decluttered and given some bling?? With the average PC now packing some fairly astonishing GPU power surely some cosmetic de-uglification and common sense could be applied – Microsoft user interfaces all too often look like they were designed by someone with A.D.D and a box of crayolas.. how about something a little more sophisticated instead of walmart?

  419. Percival says:

    FILE menu that has NOTHING TO DO WITH FILES?????


  420. Andrew says:

    Placing all those statistic just to show that "Windows is my idea"? That is all nonsense. Seriously, when will Microsoft team learn that less is more, usability is the key, not placing EVERYTHING under the sun to "ease" user?

  421. Joe White says:

    Lot of cool stuff here. I'm not fond of the Ribbon, but even so, I'm looking forward to finally, finally, finally getting one-click access to New Folder (and not having to wait forever for the New submenu to open). And a built-in "Command Prompt Here" menu. And the Up button. And the quick-launch buttons with keyboard shortcuts should be very cool (the only downside is they won't be consistent when I'm at a colleague's computer, but hey, you can't have everything).

    I'm glad you're taking time to pay attention to the little things.

  422. If you really insist on the Ribbon, please see below link for my vision of them.…/Explorer.jpg

    That said, I'm not completely sold. The concept is great:

    1. expose commands to users.

    2. contextual menus are there only when you need it.

    Honestly though, what you came up with is too short-sighted and unimaginative. Just a read from the comments here and on Engadget is more than enough for prove that.

    You are satisfying no one. New users will be confused by the shear number of buttons, some hidden away in tabs (I am constantly helping out more senior personnel with Office 2007) and any user that is moderately proficient will continue using shortcuts and the context menu, both for speed and because it's easier to see where things are.

    Content is king. Minimalism is key. A grid of buttons could cover 100% of use cases and be 100% useless. It's not about making all the comments visible, but making an interface that is a "delight" to use, to work with and to look at.

  423. hien says:

    I dont like this complex ui

  424. Raj says:

    with increasing size of explorer, i guess it does needs a bigger monitor as well to utilize full power of windows 8…/dual-monitors-or-one-big-monitor

  425. Bugs in Windows Explorer says:

    are they going to fix the bug where you move files, but folders are still left behind? oh and the bug hwereby a user can create a file thats name is too large for it to be subsequently used/copied/moved/renamed.

  426. Name says:

    Have you guys ever thought about adding tabs to explorer? I think that that would be a very useful feature.

  427. Steven,

    My only problem is that this seems cluttered relative ot the sleeker Windows 7 alternative. I am fine with a ribbon, honestly, and like the idea, and agree with the functionality and usability, but I hope that the chrome/shell of the ribbon is actually very different from the screenshots you are sharing. Explorer suddenly looks like a cheap freeware application, as opposed to a sleek lightweight part of the operating system. Again, my objection is not about the rybon itself, but how the ribbon looks like. Perhaps more glass, or less of that blue shade, or something, and it would be better.

  428. diego izidoro says:

    The ribbon design is horrible, i believe you can keep the now unhidden options, but please redesign it,  KISS, keep it simple stupid. it's gotta be more clean

  429. raymond says:

    Metro needs to be worked on from a usability standpoint for the desktop. Zune software is a good example. While elegant, clean and simple. It needs to be worked on to be used across all programs and applications (or explorer) in windows 8.

    It's beautiful but needs work on it's usability. Using the zune software is difficult to just do simple task like add the now playing song into your collection etc. Adding to the points I had made previously.

  430. jane says:

    As long as its configurable both ways, Microsoft can relax. It's not a case where a feature is absent or removed, nor a case where a feature is forced and can't be hidden. Just figure out a proper default setting.

  431. diego izidoro says:

    The delete X is terrible, put a garbage like icon instead

    the new ribbon bar gotta be smaller.

  432. Diego izidoro says:

    There is too much icons, too much information for my head

  433. @Arcyon — I would probably say that nothing is "obvious" from the comments.  There's obviously a lot of emotion ("11").  We're seeing a lot of language in the comments that does not reflect the level of dialog we were hoping to have, but so be it.  (note, no comments are manually withheld, only the automated system does filtering).  

    I think there are people who do not like the ribbon.  One comment has suggested that menus do just fine.  Our lesson has been that experts can navigate menus and that is proven out with the data.  Our goal was to enable more people to use more functionality of the product.  Maybe others don't share that goal and would prefer a different approach?  The ribbon has been incredibly successful as a mechanism, and there are plenty of comments saying they either like it or were skeptical and grew to like it.  Statisically, we know satisfaction with our Office products is higher and people are using more of the products, which seems to be a win-win.  

    There are people who have said the ribbon is cluttered or that "less is more".  I won't argue that we think the ribbon is actually less user interface–fewer pixels devoted to user interface, in a more consistent model.  I understand that will not win over the folks who just don't like the ribbon.  But if you look at the comments, very few people are saying they actually want fewer features.  In fact most every comment (postiive or negative) is also asking for more features.  Those features have to go somewhere in the user interface.  Our goal was not to hide features behind context menus that are not seen by the vast majority of customers.  

    Even with things that some folks don't like, shining a light on the design process and showing people the rationale behind our choices is why we are doing this blog.  We recognize the special place Windows has for many of you and it certainly is like that for us.  We're going to dive into comments every day (I've read every single one today along with the hundred emails on this topic, some very postitive telling me to ignore the negative comments, and some very negative telling me to ignore the positive comments).  The essence of product design is making choices and delivering on them.  The blog is about those choices and the discussion around them.  

    One thing I would touch on is to keep in mind the scenarios around Explorer.  You can imagine that most people routinely manage the files on their hard drive or a network share containing their files.  Many of the comments talk about managing 10's of thousands of files, many drives, and so on.  It might just be that there is a notion of "professional" in terms of using explorer that is different than a broad base of people.  It might be something like Paint compared to Photoshop (at extremes).  When using these tools for these "jobs" you might have different needs–you're likely using a big screen, sitting at a desk or at the very least using a large screen laptop.  However, for a very large set of people we can also make more routine tasks much easier.  As we said, we didn't set out to replace third party tools ("professional") and it might be those are a better path for some folks.  Part of Windows is that we embrace those elements of the Windows ecosystem and value them highly.

    Some folks have also asked abotu touch.  It is worth looking at the first video demo.  We showed file browsing and common dialogs that are touch oriented.  These are very powerful relative to today's common dialogs in Windows, but are much more tuned to those touch scenarios.  There's way more to talk about here.  For the early posts we wanted to start by talking about how we are improving (or changing) some of the areas you are obviously more familiar with.

    We're all getting a lot out of the dialog. More than anything, the passion and interest is itself energizing.  It reminds us of the responsibility we have in designing and developing Windows.  But do please keep the comments constructive and insightful when possible.


  434. Vyacheslav Lanovets says:

    Screen resolutions.

    For some reason, it's impossible to buy laptop with 4:3 screen ratio. 1440×900 (8:5) was used for some time in business models, but in 2011 it's always 16:9.

    If the trend continues, we are going to deal with displays with, say, 100:1 ratio. How is Microsoft going to accomodate such ratio? 🙂

  435. johnnydfred says:

    I…I uh…I simply cannot believe the above explanation is the process of how Microsoft came to design their Ribbon. From the visual aspects of user interface design, this is the most idiotic logic I've heard of…in a long, long time.

  436. Ryan LM says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    You said : "Folks that are saying this is cluttered, cluttered relative to what other interface exposing >200 commands?"

    You are right, for exposing 200+ commands the interface is clean. What I think you are missing is that A) Explorer is first a browser application.  B) 10 commands make up the bulk of what we do. C) Those 10 commands make up a fraction of what people actually use Explore for, browsing (Yes, C is redundant).

    If you managed to add 1000 more commands to explorer, it would not make it a better product.  9 times out of 10 I open it up to find a file I can double click on.  I would wager most people do the same thing.  Where is the focus on that process?  

    The goal from your comments and this blog is "We are making the stuff no one uses easier to find".  I am a power user, I never use that crap.  I know it's there, I know how to find it – it is not useful.  More commands just force me to think more.  Explorer != MS Office.  Explorer is not, nor should it be, a confusing or featured filled application.  Most importantly – If you built it right, you shouldn't need a ribbon!

    This reminds me of the early Longhorn mocks where the actual usable space, where the content lives, just got smaller and smaller, while the shell at times took up the majority of the screen.  Luckily that never made it very far.  And some good things from OSX made it in, the whole left pane of Win7s explorer is very finder like, and thank you for that.  Logical groupings of my content for quick access.


    June 2008 I posted this:  Application Continuity – Pick one!…/77

    Admittedly I was more of an arrogant *** back then, I have added a dash of tact since then.  However, it was the third most popular "Quirk" of Aero – how nothing had continuity, it was just a melting pot of UI ideas with no direction.  MS couldn't even reuse back and forward icons.

    Fast forward 3 years – Is it better? NO!  Why?

    I used to be the only person that would point out "Hey MS, why do I have 3 different version of the ribbon on my Win7 machine?" Now, after reading about every comment here – there are at least 25 people that picked that up.  This is progress, and this is important to pick up on.

    Why? Because people have now seen what application continuity is from our friends at Apple.  It is now a feature.  Take the ribbon vs the OS X toolbar.  Every app on OSX looks like it belongs, they share a common set of UI Widgets, Xcode sets the developer up for success by directing them to reuse the native UI widgets and not roll their own.   This is not just the look of it, but also how the user interacts with it – every toolbar on OSX is customized the same way.

    Most importantly if Apple upgrades the look and feel, or adds features to the base widgets – every app benefits, every app still looks like it fits in.

    On Windows, I have three different Ribbon UIs, and the ugliest one I can actually use in my apps.  Worse, because the platform team/office and the dev div seem to have problems working together, MS gets to waste time making three different version of the same thing causing more and more continuity issues.  I hope with DirectUI this problem is closer to being solved.


    The seemingly unthinkable happened – MS actually produced a solid UI Language.  One that is easy for almost any artistically challenged dev to actually use.  If I remember right, this was produced by Frontier Studios, an external MS design house, since shutdown (ugh), but you got the most important thing out of it.  

    Where is it in these examples?  I know the Touch UI is sporting a UI that looks good, by why not windows proper?  Why are we still working with Aero?

    I have often thought Aero was ugly.  I have seen a few comments here agreeing with me.  The problem with it is simple – it is too much eye candy.  Too glossy, too shiny, too transparent.  Style and taste are the foundation of a good UI not window dressing.

    So, I ask again – Where is Metro?


    All I really want for Christmas is MS to get their UI house in order.  To have Windows, Xbox, Phone, Tablet, TV/Media Center feel like they came from the same damn company.  It seems that Xbox, Phone, Tabet, Media Center are moving in that direction but Windows is forever lost.  I hear people make excuses all the time.  Some do not believe it can be done.  This is not true, Apple did it.  Every one of their products feels like it came from them, yours should too.

  437. malcontent says:

    Good job continuing to ignore 'Refresh' in your new design despite your own data.  I was afraid I might not be disappointed with Win8 explorer.

  438. PLEASE FIX STATUS BAR!!!! says:

    Back in windows xp when you were exploring a folder with no files selected it would tell you the total size of all files in the folder.  Now you have to manually select the files to see the size.  WHY DID YOU TAKE THIS FUNCTION AWAY?!?!?!? PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!!

  439. Dmitriy Likhten says:

    Hey, how about after 16 years improving the CMD window to be at least 1/2 the features of the putty window, you know the stuff maintained by a single f-ing developer? Things like resize = add/remove columns, decent select, copy, paste (like select by text line not by block, and right click to paste, maybe a decent font, add the posix color recognition, maybe even port common linux commands to cmd like ls, grep, etc, things we use daily but have to beg for or install cygwin to use)

  440. gregthecanuck says:

    SUGGESTION: Cut down on the number of horizontal lines that clutter the UI.

    For example, is the extra horizontal line between the address bar and the listview really necessary? The- listview already has a frame, why add yet more pixels?

    Otherwise looking better than W7. That UI was a mess.

  441. Mark Kashman says:

    I'd love to see a set actions strung together into one action/button/keystroke. Quick example: I want to ZIP a set of files and then send it to someone in email = 1 button that ZIPs and then preps an email with attachement for me in one button, not two. Love to see improvements to the explorer experience. Curious to see how third party systems, or systems like SharePoint, can take advantage of Explorer or even assert their own commands/buttons native to their interaction with Explorer as a front end to those possible repositories. Guess that begs the question: is explorer extensible to the UX of other file stores?

  442. Good,work keep it up 😀

    Mr.Steven , what edition will Windows 8 have ?

    very pls reply , i always waiting u to reply my question

  443. Sean M says:

    I'm OK with using ribbons.  Can we just have a "Search commands" option like the Task Bar's "Search programs and files"?

  444. Cherry says:

    Definitely need to make the ui more consistent with the ie9 styling instead of the faux glass look that vista/7 has.

  445. Steven, I love the functionality that ribbons provides. And as an avid Office 2010 user I love that its being implemented. However, I absolutely dislike that way it LOOKS for Windows 8. As it stands, it clashes way too much with the look of the Start Screen and Metro design language in general which is now your most popular design language. The last thing you should want is to willingly give end user a sense that its 2 completely different OSes, but instead meld them together to the point that its seamless and makes sense. What I'm seeing here is colorful icons and shadows and inconsistency. Keep ribbon yes (its works a great deal for Office), but change the look of it to be more Metro.

    I would like to see WP7's "app bar" icon design where a solid color icon fits in the middle of a circle with the name underneath or on the side. This would make explorer much more elegant instead of kid like. We should not be distracted by the icons at the top of the screen, thats the actual contents job. Get rid of the shadows and colors, and when you need to use color (for tabs and such), don't add chrome, instead use solid concise colors.…/image_6.png

  446. Iian says:

    What would be amazing to see — and I've always wondered why Windows Explorer didn't feature it — is the ability to organise file-copying in a queue.  A frequent operation in Explorer is surely the copying of a large number of files from one drive to another.  Wouldn't it be great, then, to be able to drop files from the source drive into a container and then specify an action against a target?  You could then drag files or folders from various folder depths in one 'transaction' and copy them to your device (or devices!) of choice.  What would be even better is a way of prioritising these files during the copying process — in this way you'd be able to prioritise, say, the files to copy in ascending order of size.  I've often had to refer back and forth between the source drive and the target to make sure there is still enough space on the target drive.

    Additionally, with a queue one could pause the execution — halt copying or deleting between files — to allow you to perform other activities and to review the selections you've made.  Also, you may like to remove files from the queue in case the bulk file copy takes too long — which one often only knows for sure once you start copying.

    I would love to see real functional improvements — or re-thought features — than simply expanding the visible range of controls on the ribbon …

  447. harishv says:


    Couple of comments:

    1. On very large monitors (HD) ribbon wastes a lot of open space to the right

    2. While ribbon makes shortcuts discoverable through the Alt key, its more important to realize that new shortcuts have to be learnt (Alt+h+c for copy, alt+h+x for cut), can the Explorer ribbon continue to promote ctrl+c, ctrl+x type short cuts? Also, the ribbon sequences shortcuts so it is press alt, then press h then press c, that is a short cut albeit a different kind of a shortcut than what's been used traditionally

    3. Since telemetry tells us that people use context menus, the assumption seems to be that people use context menus BECAUSE these items are not discoverable on the command bar. What if this assumption is incorrect? There is no mention of data behind this assumption… what if command bars / ribbon is genuinely inconvenient. Maybe the approach should've been to move away entirely from a command bar to context menus

    4. Have you looked at how much "mouse movement" is required to accomplish operations with a command bar vs. context menus? Keen to know what investments are being made to spruce up the command menus

    5. Add-in ribbon bar (ala Office) would be nice, if there is a good model to maintain Explorer reliability with add-ons

  448. bob says:

    when you say the % of users who actually use the menu bar is <10%, wouldnt it be wise, to NOT focus on making a larger menu bar, and improve the existing right click menu, and add options to remove the unused menu bars

  449. @Chris 2321 — We don't talk about editions ("SKUs") until much later in the development process and closer to when the product goes to market.

  450. Bryan says:

    Also, have you considered a vertical ribbon?

  451. madhu says:

    I saw the video , where Alex show launching administrator command prompt from the explorer file menu , wanted to see whether windows command prompt got any face lift. Better command prompt experience is key to for the people who transition from Linux to windows. Also it is required as people adopt power shell for managing windows.

  452. Andrei Eftimie says:

    Oh great.

    What if people don't know how to use the Ribbon?

    Now lets all wait for Microsoft to add a RIbbon to the Ribbon.

  453. Thank you for the post about this, we better understand now why you put Ribbon UI on Windows Explorer. Personally as a power user, incorporating Ribbon is a big help, but I see that it will be useful also to the majority of users as one of the main goal of Ribbon is to showcase the features that most users didn't even know it exist. The time I first use Office 2007, It feels bit differently but I welcome the feature, not too long I'm very comfortable with and I discovered alot of features in Office that I didn't even know even though I'm a long time user of Office since 95, many of features felt easier to access, thanks to Ribbon.

    As for now in this post It shows the new Windows Explorer showcasing Ribbon, but hope we see more changes in the post related to this. Many of us exciting to see the facelift of Ribbon in Windows Explorer, for me its also not consistent to what we expect the Metro looks in Windows 8. We hope to see such change to how will incorporate Metro to Ribbon, also I would like to see some swipe gestures when selecting tabs and such in case for touch-centric approach.

    I also glad to see that we can able to customize Explorer again, thanks to Ribbon and without returning to more cluttered Toolbars.

    I know that this is just an early stage of Explorer in Windows 8 but I would also like to suggest some features that you might consider.

    Like others commented, I also want to see the integrated PowerShell on the new Explorer, as a power user we will love it as an addition.

    Allowing to preview media files in Details pane like play, stop and open with default app associated with it(hope also to consider more file format such as mkv and flv). Another is that hope it will fully integrated with plug-ins such as Adobe Reader and previewing Office files if possible without needing to open it.

    Maybe an some animations in details pane (I know its not important but nice to see for a modern OS).

    Maybe a bit bigger buttons in the status bar, its a bit hard when using touch I think. (Maybe we will see this in the near final.)

    Zoom slider might be good addition also in the status bar.

    A bit bigger preview in the details pane, or maybe able to zoom using mouse-wheel/pinch-to-zoom.

    Make use of right pane (details pane) in search, its really empty and waste of space when using search if left toggled-on.

    WP7 style jump boxes when grouping files in Explorer. (By name, type…)

    More modern and consitend Ribbon UI, maybe similar to Office 2010+Metro. (I think its already been working on Office 2012?)

    In Sharing tab, does it allow third-party? Hope we see able to share in other services like Facebook, Twitter, SkyDrive, Picasa, Zune, and etc. I think its possible on third-party though.

    Hoping to consider if possible to implement.

    Thanks and more power to the team!

  454. Matt Jacobi says:

    I like how this is looking, but the 22 vs 24 files comparison is bogus. You are comparing a Library folder. The Windows 7 Library header eats up 3-4 files. For power users, most folders aren't in a Library, so really the Windows 7 file count is more like 26. So we are losing a few files in the screen real estate battle.

  455. Ryan LM says:

    Ok, it's official – this page has the most instances of "Power User" ever!

  456. N says:

    Does your gut tell you this is a good design?  I understand there is a lot of research and justification and concepts ("ribbon") but at the end of the day, do you look at this and go, "yeah that looks awesome, let's ship it!"  

    I look at this, think of my parents, and groan.  I would not want to have to explain such an interface to someone.  Also while comparing to other versions of Windows is good I'd be tempted to go look at Lion just for comparison's sake. Someone posted a screenshot of Dolphin from KDE, and even that looks decent.

    This is a wonderful blog, the idea behind it is wonderful…  but it is hard to read this particular article.   I look at the result and groan instinctively, then it becomes all about reading the justification and figuring just how we ended up with this result.  It's painful.  Steve Jobs stepped down recently and somehow I wish he had taught the world just a little more about design, instead of keeping his secrets with him and Apple…  

    So well done with the honorable intentions.  Teach us more, learn something, and maybe surprise us with the end result?  You're the leader… 🙂

  457. BrianF says:

    I am blown away by the fact that the word "favorites" only appears 4 times on this page.  How is it that so few people can see the need for a proper Favorites system.   The little yellow star is scrolled off the top of the page most of the time so it's not accessible unless I push the left slider all the way up.  Pretty worthless.  Why not have the option–since we all have wide screens now–to have a second left nav that has a stack of the most recently visited folders.  Or at least a dropdown list of folder paths on a command bar like we had in the old days.  Web browsers have had this almost from the beginning.  Is it such a stretch to think people don't want to save their favorite locations on their local drive, too?

  458. Hypernova says:

    It occured to me that maybe the different in opinions amoung us here, perhaps, is file "explorer" vs. "Manager."  I'd argue and agree with the team that, for a file "manager," Ribbon is unbeatable here.  It exposed a lot of features in an organized way.  On the other hand, for a file "explorer," IE9's content-focused approach make more sense.  Unsurprisingly, of course, since Ribbon has its root from content editior application, Office, and IE is an application to consume content.

    Now, Windows Explorer is both.  We use it to browse files and folders, and to manage them.  So it is indeed hard to find a nice balance.  To me, a minimized Ribbon sound about right.  It's there to show you the features when you need them, and hidden away when you don't.  Maybe minized should be default, or, alternatively, have a popup for first-time user telling them that they can minimized it?  Or maybe Windows Explorer's Ribbon has to be completely contextual; it will pop up only when user start selection a file, or something along that line.  The latter maybe too late to implement at this point, but I kinda think that's a better solution.

    Or maybe the team want Windows Explorer to actually be a file manager, and a real file explorer is in the new Metro-style UI?

  459. Synchro says:

    Make the Forward and Back buttons like IE9's and I'm sold!  The buttons pictured look very dated.

  460. Anonymous says:

    Anyone notify the Phd's at Microsoft that screens are now WIDER than they are TALL ?   Maybe they would reconsider taking up that much vertical space with a ribbon.

  461. Anish9807 says:

    how about making the back and forward buttons  like ie9 and zune

  462. Nathaniel says:

    The Ribbon UI looks awesome in terms of usability and efficiency.

    I really really would like to see you guys move away from Aero and toward Metro though. I never used to have a problem with Aero, but Metro is just so beautiful. I will be very disappointed without it. That could be one of the biggest factors in whether I am happy with Windows 8.

    So please please please! MORE METRO!

  463. Mike says:

    Do you call these "Improvements"? hahahahahahahahahahaha

    Microsoft is hopeless.

  464. Vasu says:

    Definitely we are in need of larger screens!!

  465. Amazing says:

    Love the Up button.

  466. Anonymous says:

    The truth is that the current explorer is very good and I'm not complaining. I do not see that this new more efficient. In my opinion is very saturated with functions that can hinder instead of enhance appropriate use.

  467. Luki says:

    I'm not sure whether Windows Explorer or some sort of JPEG "driver" is doing it wrong in all Windows versions but I would be happy to see my JPEGs automatically rotated when they are in portrait mode.

    My camera (Sony Alpha 700) is storing some sort of information in the EXIF tags and Software like Faststone or ACDSee is correctly rotating them. ALso the RAW driver which comes with Windows Live Photo Gallery rotates my RAW files but not the JPEGs 🙁

    After that is implemented you can remove 2 buttons from the ribbon 😉

  468. Darren says:

    I can't believe the "smart" people at Microsoft actually think this user interface is good. It seems like UI design has gone downhill sharply with successive operating systems (and Office versions). The Ribbon is a particularly good example of bad user interface design – it's just plain confusing, ugly and takes up way too much screen real estate.

    Of course, I'm still bitter that they broke the start menu and took the "up" button off explorer in Windows 7, so now I have to install "ClassicShell" – a third party piece of software to bring back reasonable functionality to Windows. Is this what's going to happen in the future? Are users supposed to install optional parts of the OS to get the functionality they require? Does this mean in the future we'll see a whole host of 3rd party window managers existing on top of core Windows (e.g. KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc). I hope not. The one thing that Windows can do better than open source options is consistency across machines. But they're going too far the other way and packing in features to make the OS more power user unfriendly, like OS X (seriously, try using OS X without grabbing the mouse – no chance).

    tl;dr – Ribbon is bad user interface design. Please stop.

  469. Ray says:

    Love the data analysis but some of your comparison is not fair.

    1. Why not include Windows 95/Windows 98 explorer in your history?

    2. In Win7, most explorer window does not include the lines related to "Document Librari". Therefore, in most scenario, the screen realestate wastes more on Win8.

  470. Just give me toolbars that I can add on my preference. Please let this ribbon interface go. You might have invested a lot into it. But, everyone makes bad investments.

  471. Steve says:

    "The problem with Microsoft is that they have no taste/ And I don't mean in a small way – I mean in a big way"

  472. Echevil says:

    Ribbon is a great thing, but not a good idea for simple applications

  473. KaarlisK says:

    Please, please make the sort headers a configurable option for all views.

  474. Neil says:

    Do you have telemetry data on how long it takes between a copy or cut and the following paste? It always seems to me that the navigation between multiple folders is the problem with Windows Explorer. As I see it the new design does not help with that. Either you have to open multiple windows or you have to fiddle around with the navigation pane or explorer bar or back button etc. to switch folders. Usually that is the complaint I here most about Windows Explorer.

    On a side note will the Windows API Code Pack work with or be updated for Windows 8? I really like that.

  475. ashooner says:

    I'm pretty biased (I use os x and ubuntu mostly) but this ribbon thing seems simply awful.I just don't see what this jumble of icon+text gets you that simple hierarchal dropdown + contextual menus do not. My litmus test is trying to describe how to find a target to someone over the phone or in an email. In that respect, the icons are so similar that they are not memorable or even easy to describe.  That leaves the menu/ribbon target text, which would be just as easy to describe and much easier to find if targets were just in a text-based menu rather than mingled with 2 or 3 different scales of icons.

    Also +1 to the comments about screen space; I'd be curious to read what exactly is the rationale for the horizontal orientation (beyond status quo).

  476. Echevil says:

    I felt it was the greatest thing in Windows GUI design when Ribbon came to Office 2007, but applying the same thing to every application is just killing the good feeling about it. For a large application like Office that provides countless features, Ribbon is a great way to present the features to users, but for Windows Explorer? Seriously, who will ever want to have the big two "Cut" and "Paste" buttons taking over so much place on the screen? Who will use that?

  477. Sheo Narayan says:

    As expected, nothing new. It came in MS Office so naturally it has to be there in Windows 8 too.

  478. JohannesB says:

    Have you tried unifying the "path-bar" with the search box? Like you did in IE9. Other than that, great work Microsoft!

  479. Richars says:

    This is Awesome. I like the new design. This new windows explorer is different, a lot easier and looks good. Using ribbon for windows explorer is good. All customers would love to see different and improvement for the windows 8. So far windows 8 team has done a good job. Keep it up.

  480. Alireza Noori says:

    I was also like "NOOOOOOOOOO" when I heard about ribbon a few month back but now I think its not that bad. The thing is, like I said before in my loooong feedback post, I'd love to see a Metro version of this UI.

    More like a METRO RIBBON

    There are some poeple out there that use Metro like they should and create awesome software like MetroTweet but the MSFT people fail to do that?! Isn't it a shame?

  481. Mark says:

    good work.

  482. qs7000 says:

    About "show file extensions": I think you should make showing file extension the default or even consider not making it optional but always show them.

    Malware has been using this feature as hiding place for ages, as was recently highlighted again on the Microsoft Malware Protection Center blog (…/can-we-believe-our-eyes.aspx).

  483. Brian L. says:

    When I first started reading the article I was not feeling the ribbon at all, but by the end of the blog you had convinced me that the changes to Explorer are really great! Often I try to use the Back button as an Up button and get confused when it doesn't take me Up so that'll be good. I'm on a netbook so with the ability to hide the ribbon it can be out of my way when I don't need it and then convenient for when I do need it. I am very excited for the Windows 8 beta. I will definitely be testing it out! Assuming you give us a public beta like with Windows 7.

  484. Kails says:

    This is way better than windows 7  explorer.

  485. In Windows 7, Windows Explorer was 'dumbed down', instead of icons representing tasks, we now have "Organize", System Properties, Uninstall or change a program, Map network drive, open control panel.

    And to make matters worse, the view and preview icons are way way way over to the right, same as the show desktop icon.

    If it aint broke, don't fix it!

  486. Mark Wolf says:

    You call it improvement, i call it PERVERSION. One reason more to abandon Windows a little bit quicker. Why can you leave a proven design as it is? It would be no problem to use the classic style explorer side by side with a ribbon style GUI file manager for the few people who like it. I expect that an os vendor fits me needs and not to rule how I should use my computer. Sorry Microsoft, this is a complete fail.

  487. This post reminded me of a question I have about the default music player in Windows. It seems that Microsoft wants ZUNE to be everywhere and everything. It is deeply integrated in many consumer products like the XBOX 360 and Windows Phone 7. The baffling thing to me is why is it not built into Windows as the default player. I can understand why such a consumer oriented product would not be warmly welcomed in the enterprise but Microsoft usually releases an enterprise edition of Windows that could exclude the product just like they do for games and media center.

    What does the future look like for Windows 8 in regards to the music player and media management???

    Love the BLOG!

  488. Robert says:

    Please, make this available ASAP for Win7.

    Also, the Import photos from Cameras should be integrated and have some power user settings.

    WinXP is way better than W7 imo.

  489. Sathya says:


    Sir, Ribbon is awesome, neglect the negative comments. I understand it’s too early to finalize the styles and it is just a prototype (I wish).  Now bring your design team to streamline the design like more Metro-ish or Office 2010 Ribbon, a bit flashy.

    Also find more ways to hide or minimize or ribbon-less alternatives who are whining about ribbon.

    One more thing please comment something on the upcoming style to the explorer UI.

    Always loved Windows and will go on…

  490. Nir Rotshtein says:

    Not another ribbon PLEASE!!

    Just ask users who migrated from office 2003 to office 2007/10 and most of them complain about thye ribbon approach.

    I consider myself an advanced user and love to play with new UI designs. But honestly I hate the Ribbon concept and do not understand why microsoft insist on using it.

    My misgivvings about the ribbon UI are:

    1. It takes a lot of real estate. If you look at your own telemetry data, most users have screens with less then 800px heigh. Yes I saw that you gaind most of it back by removing the bloated status bar, but you replaced it with a bloated header instead of increasing work space.

    2. Its not customizable. I admit that I can search for long minutes for some feature in excel (which I use a lot)

    and trying to figure out where to find it in the ribbon. Why not use a simple customizable tool bar which will help me put what I use most of the time where I need it? You can use the same techinique you used in visual studio ato add a context specific toolbars when needed

    3. It relates to item 2, but you actually force items I do not need often to the front and remove features I do use (like search) to some obscure tab. I know that this is because this is what the MAJORITY of the users use, but from my experiance there is no real "average person" – otherwise we would all go on 1.98 legs instead of the 2 most of us have.

    Simply speaking I find that using ribbon (even in MS-Paint) causes me to spend much more time trying to figure out how to do things, which makes me revert to command lines and context menues.

    This is not just my personal opinion, but a lot of peaple I work with share this opinion, only few of which I work with (some of them heavy MS-office users) sayed they "adjusted" to the ribbon UI, most of them complain about it and ask if they can switch back to office2003 style menues and toolbars.

  491. Boo says:

    This is not a step in the right detection… It's like you took it back with even more confusion. You guys should hire some young UI engineers, otherwise you'll never get it.

  492. Is it possible that the Back- and Forwardbutton could match with the Aero colour in all applications (Explorer, IE)

  493. Jernej says:

    Still no tabs? Are you kidding me?

  494. rasteroid says:

    Really like the new Explorer. I especially love the Share and View tabs, because accessing many of those operations previously via the right-click menu was always slow and clumsy. A couple of feedback points:

    1. From the video, when selecting multiple files to zip, a new zip file is created at the bottom of the file list, and the original files remain selected. Even the presenter (Alex?) in the video stumbled for a second as he wasn't sure momentarily where the new zip file was created. I think it would be much more intuitive for the focus to shift from the 4 files I had selected, to the newly created zip file, and scroll the view to make sure the zip file is in view when it is created. After all, once I create a zip file, to perform any operation on it, I would have to select it anyway.

    2. In addition to the easy/convenient access to the DOS Command shell, will it be possible to add Windows PowerShell (in regular and in admin mode) as well (since I assume it won't be there OOB)?


  495. AHS0 says:

    I read this…/microsoft-revealed-explorer-windows-8-140353 and its really great job. I love it.

    Quote from link above:

    “Folder views and preview pane. In Windows 7, the toolbar contains folder view options and a preview pane toggle (and a Help button), but since this toolbar is gone in Windows 8 (replaced by the ribbon), these options are now available instead in the bottom right of the window.”

    Now I see maximize, minimize, close button larger. Indeed it’s better to have these larger, since they don’t take extra space, and it’s easier to click on them and see them. cnBeta screenshot:…/LonelyJames_132005889346728.jpg

    Caption buttons:

    One other nice thing I like to see is the ability to reduce windows to their title bar (Minimize to Caption) , as this does do in Windows 7:…/control-windows-of-your-programs-with-window-manager

    The Aero Snap is already perfect, so i don't use the same like Aero Snap thing in that app.

    But other features,  like reducing the window to its title bar, is very nice thing to have, as an option too.


    The button up in the top right corner of the window, beside the New Folder button: it will act like the ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)

    Currently in Office 2010, in Word for instance, when you click the Word icon up in the top right corner of the window, beside the Save button, it opens the shortcut menu for the active window. So its great we have the same thing in Windows Explorer.

    About Ribbon interface in Windows Explorer see my reply on…/31443-what-do-you-want-see-windows-8-a-6.html in which I also mention why it so innovative, and useful and it provided a way to make previously hidden functionality far more discoverable.

  496. Kevin says:

    At first, my eyes rolled – look at the SIZE of that behemoth! Then, after reading the article and understanding the reasoning, I felt a bit better. Then, when I realized the ribbon can be collapsed and the QAT can be highly customized, I felt giddy with excitement. My Explorer windows are gonna be lean and mean, and I applaud the Explorer team for making the ribbon collapsible and the QAT customizable.

    The ribbon will definitely work great for others, but QAT for me all the way!

  497. thenonhacker says:

    @Steven Sinofsky:


    I like the Ribbon in Explorer, but we need some more consistency with Microsoft Office 2010. Maybe: Ribbon UI in Windows 8 Explorer should be hidden by default, just like in Microsoft OneNote 2010.


    We also need a bit of consistency with IE9, for the back/forward buttons, and Address Bar/Search.


    I think the problem on why the Ribbon appears to take up a LOT of space, is the fact that the Navigation Toolbar has the same background color as the Ribbon.


    It will make more sense now to make the Navigation Toolbar Background White (especially now that it's below the Ribbon and not the title bar).


    SOLUTION: Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon with a White Navigation Bar and a touch of IE9, looks cleaner:

  498. Mark Keen says:

    Why, Why, Why have you forgotten about tabs? I thought you would have tabs on explorer windows. It will speed up work sooo much. Also because I don't like dragging files over the taskbar with it's long delay and then finding the right window then still dragging to put it somewhere especcially with a laptop. Please include this feature or make it optional atleast.

  499. Evgeny says:

    This might be a joke, or a hacker diversion. The new explorer interface looks like a bad parody of the worst UI I have ever seen.

  500. Chris says:

    Kill it with fire. Then fire your UI designers.

  501. Brian Butterworth says:

    OK, I'm a "stick in the mud".  I've been using Windows since version 1.1, and I like my keyboard shortcuts.  I'm happy with a command prompt, and I still use vi when I connect to a *nix computer.  I'm also a fan of Jakob Nielsen.

    I have to say, I hate that ribbon: I still use Office 2003 for that reason.

    The thing that REALLY annoys me about the Microsoft W8 Engineeing post above … is that the logic was all good as far as "the top 10 commands represent 81.8% of total usage".  

    There is no logical step from saying that people use Paste (^V), Properties (alt+Enter), Copy (^c), Delete (Delete), Rename (F2), Refresh (F5), Cut (^X), CommandBar (F10) and New (no shortcut) – to saying that the awful ribbon should be used.

    It is annoying because in the previous post there is a complex write up of how different designs for the filecopy dialogue boxes were tested.  

    Not for the awful ribbon, it just gets adopted without being tested on any users at all.  What is worse if that the "top ten commands" are not actually provided on the ribbon without being hidden around lots of other clutter.

    Microsoft isn't listening, this is very clear indeed.

    I think the proof that the ribbon is an awful interface design is that it has never, ever been adpoted by a third party or used on a SINGLE WEBSITE.


  502. Stilgar says:

    Up one level is back! YES! Tell me that I'll be able to bind backspace to it and I'm upgrading all 3 of my machines to Windows 8 just for that.

    Someone mentioned the current behaviour is consistent with other programs and alt+up arrow works fine

    1. the behaviour is not consistent because if you open from a shortcut backspace works as up one level the first time and as back after that. That's pretty inconsistent in my book.

    2. alt+up is hard to press with one hand. When I am browsing files one hand is on the mouse the other is on the keyboard. I should be able to utilize the hand on the keyboard and it can't be done with combination such as alt + up.

  503. jsdca says:

    if this happens, i would never use windows again…. keep things clean yet powerful. People do not want thousands of options in front of them, any experienced ui designer would tell you that. This reminds me of that ipod box parody…

    more bullets, more lists!

  504. dawl says:

    Sorry for my English. But I think most of these posts are beyond conceptual discussion.

    We are all on one way with three major directions: OSX, Windows and Linux.

    OSX is a totally hardlocked system (most unfriendly to power users, imo), that rules in major segment of "zombie-fans", who don't care.

    Linux is an open source system for "hyper-users" (in most cases it's only words). And it explains why they are below the market.

    Windows on it's own way, BETWEEN these two extremes. And this is one of the reasons of it's success.

    Imo, ribbon is a VERY efficient tool and a logical continuation of the path we take.

    Keep up the good work, guys! I hope the minority will not hurt you.

  505. Well, first you have to try it, then judge it. It may appear clumsy to you at first, but I guess it can really adapt well to one's current workflow/tasks. I'm still not sure though, if it is wise to offer so many functions directly accessible in the toolbar. For experts too much space is wasted, for beginners it may be too confusing.

    I can imagine the majority of the users is happy about the buttons for basic file operations, because this is what they do, when they use explorer. Either look for a file and open it, or do some housekeeping once in a while and copy/move files. This changes will also make "Working with removeable media" a lot easier for them, i.e. copying pictures from hard drive to USB etc.

    You have done a good job. From my own experience I know how hard it is to create a user experience that suits everybody from novice to expert, as they expect completely different things.

  506. gawicks says:


    use the flat office 2010 style ribbon ; It's much easier on the eyes

  507. Awesome says:

    You've obviously done some serious research into user behavior, so how come you still designate significant screen real estate to commands that nobody use? It seems very clear from the overlay of command usage that many of the buttons are not being used at all – still they remain in this prominent position.

    I was made aware of this post by reading this blog:…/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a. It is a bit harsh maybe, but has some good points.

  508. Terrible says:

    Windows Explorer team is a joke. They fail at everything.

  509. Prasad GL says:

    Its really nice that so much of thought has gone into the system that we would be using in the future.  I wonder if the "ability to remember the View(Details, Extra Large Icons, List etc)" for various folders we have accessed before is done right (Windows explorer never remembers the way we view a folder).  This has been a great pain point in the past.  I suppose the team would look into it.

  510. Olof says:

    I wonder if Microsoft ever heard something of readability, cleanliness and screen space! You should consider a word which is essential for everything in life especially interface design: "LESS IS MORE"

    And you should let design your interfaces by interface designers, not by programmers and certainly not by statistics…

  511. metro hopeful says:


    And the same old yellow folder icons?  Really??

    Come on guys – Metro that baby!!

  512. metro hopeful says:

    Why is the QAT in the window border???  Who's idea was that??  Surely it should be a section in the the default HOME ribbon

  513. Ribbon is lame says:

    I've been using Windows since 3.1, and the ribbon is the worst thing yet.  It takes up valuable vertical space in the (also lame) wide format screen, and is organized in a seriously confusing way.  I hate the ribbon, and I'm already leaning toward OS X.

  514. Fix the bugs says:

    Before adding more silly 'enhancements' can you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE fix the EXISTING BUGS in Explorer in Win 7??  And then release a quick Windows Update.  Admit your error and correct the BUG.

    The most annoying Explorer usability bug here:…/50a81b05-da98-4d55-821d-55ffbbd0e998

    If something like that can slip through the net – how on earth are you going to get the ribbon right??

  515. Ranganath says:

    It would be great to show a clipboard of the items copied on the ribbon. This would be useful is selective copy functionality in different windows (locations). This would give flexibility in copying multiple files and pasting it in different locations without going back to the source location.

  516. keedhost says:

    It is not 4 me. I don`t know how use it….

  517. Shear Stud says:

    It shows that people dont really need so many functions at all.

    Keep it simple and free of bugs must be the key to well designed product

  518. Tuxplorer says:

    3d Studio Max and AutoCAD uses the ribbon UI.

    The story of the ribbon by Jensen Harris:…/the-story-of-the-ribbon.aspx

  519. Vlad says:

    Ribbon, is primary reason I don't use MS Office for last few years. Call me a power user, but I prefer Google Docs now. If Windows 8 comes with this, I better order a Mac.

  520. gorz says:

    Clipboard history hotkey (ala clipX) would be great

  521. Note: Ryan LM actually articulates the point far better that I can. I would suggest carefully reading what he has to say.


    "Folks that are saying this is cluttered, cluttered relative to what other interface exposing >200 commands?  Let's talk about that a bit rather than just saying things are cluttered in an absolute sense."  –Steven


    @Steven Sinofsky

    "… cluttered relative to what other interface exposing >200 commands?" That's one of the problems right there. At no point will any user ever need access to all 200+ commands; especially never at once


    (I touched on this in my massive post above, but I’ll try to reiterate it)

    (edit: apparently this is equally as massive)

    Yes the ribbon UI was an improvement in Office over the previous method of endless lists of menus in the menu bar and an ever growing mass of action bars. In fact given the task of exposing hundreds of commands, the Ribbon UI is quite effective in much the same way it would be to organize a pack rat’s hoard in different shaped and colored boxes in stacks around his home. While yes the massive mess is now piled and organized, making it easier to comb through and find individual items, the fact remains that the vast majority of these items are and most likely will remain unused waste, unnecessarily occupying whatever space is left.

    No matter how organized it is those unused items will continue to waste perfectly good space unless they are removed and hidden until (if ever) a certain ‘context’ calls for them to be used again.

    For tasks that we do every day it would be completely maddening to have out every item we own simply to use ‘one’ of them here and there. When you got up in the morning you wouldn’t want your entire closet laid out on the floor just so you could grab a shirt and tie as there would be no place to walk. If you were cooking a meal you wouldn’t want all your cupboards and drawers pulled out with every fry pan and pot on the counter along with your Snoopy shaped holiday cookie cutter no matter how organized it was. And if all you needed was a screw driver for a single screw does it really help you to also have out your hammer, saw, drill, leaf blower, wrench, pliers, tire iron, razor blade, paint brushes, sanding belt, leather punch, wire strippers, grinding wheel, masonry bit, and snow shovel? Or would you far rather just grab the screw driver use it and put it away with the entire area clear to work on? Even better wouldn’t it be great if your tool box understood that you were working with a screw so it handed you just a screw driver?! Heck if you were working at your computer desk would you appreciate it if when you wanted a single paperclip that a coworker would remove your drawer and place it on top of your desk and then leave it there?

    When it comes to daily tasks people don’t want their workspace covered with every possible item they may or may not need, no matter how well it is organized. To have every tool or even just all the related tools out constantly means there will always be space that is wasted even when one tool is used. People instead want to grab that one tool they need at that moment then promptly put it away when they are done; not worrying about all those other tools taking up space. This is where the Ribbon UI fails to fit the needs of the task and where the context menu is superior, just as your own data shows.

    Whenever you have a limited work space – and whether by the physical limitations of real-world objects or by the limitations of available screen space you are in fact limited – wasting that space for unused elements is a terrible idea. By your own measurements the most common task happens 19% of the time, so every time a user wants to use only that command from the ribbon the entire space of the ribbon must be occupied for the use of that one button.

    Essentially if a user only wanted to use the paste button, that button could be as large as the entire ribbon and still remain as effective and use as much space as was required when it was only a part of that ribbon.  Of course that concept seems ridiculous; who would have a paste button that takes up a 1/5 of the screen?? But 19% of the time that is exactly what is happening, that entire space is used only to access one button. So now 1 out of every 5 actions basically includes using a button that covers a huge portion of the window.


    Well what about the other 4 out of 5 actions? Well even if you could add 100% of users actions to fill that space you will never use all of them at once and very rarely (if ever) use more than one action at a time. So at any given time since the Ribbon must be open to use any one of those actions; any action used requires the space of the entire ribbon bar to not be usable for anything else (such as for a larger workspace), thus the effective size of each action at any given time is the size of the entire bar… which is ridiculous given how much space it takes up. (This is compounded by the fact that the wider the window is made the more space the ribbon UI wastes.)

    To make matter worse, in the way it is presented now the top 10 items (or about 82% of used actions) only take up about half of the ribbon’s UI leaving the rest to be filled with actions that users almost never (and in some cases actually never) use. That means that the Ribbon UI could be cut in half and shortened compared to how it currently is and end up saving a large amount (50%) of the wasted space while retaining 82% of the total user actions in existence.  

    Smaller and more regular icons such as the metro style icons could be used to save even more space and could even be added to the current Windows 7 action bar without requiring any more space be wasted. To improve this even further common actions could be consolidated based on the type of tasks at hand (read: context); copy, cut, paste; new folder, new item; open, edit, properties; etc. With this method of task based actions being wrapped into single icons that expand based on the items and context at hand, most or possibly all actions can represented without requiring large portions of the UI be rendered useless.

    This type of context based UI could still expose the 200+ commands, while remaining uncluttered, and without wasting large amounts of space on unused actions. But even this concise context UI and a ribbon UI (minimized  or not) for that matter, require unnecessary mouse movement away from the content the user is acting on and up to a menu above that content and then back down to other content. This is where the right click context menu shows why it is by far the preferred method of user interaction: it’s fluid, fast, and non-interruptive to the task at hand.

    The right click context gives the benefit of a full menu that you would see at the top of a UI but at your finger—err—mouse tip. While it does cover a portion of the workspace it is only temporarily there until the action is called on, and also doesn’t prevent from the space behind the menu to be used. Nearly every action (actually… every action?) possible is literally a click away with little mouse travel distance, which is incredibly useful when manipulating files between different folders/locations… a quite common task. But the most powerful attribute of them is the fact that they are ‘context’ sensitive, meaning they show the user what is relevant and hides what is not, as well as adapt for the task at hand. Granted the current right click context menus are limited in Windows Explorer at the moment, but many other programs show the power of correctly improving them. This context again allows for the 200+ actions to all be accessible while not overwhelming the user when they are not needed, which is generally 98%+ of the time.

    It’s not hard to see why the context menu is the greatly preferred method of interactions by users with over half of all interactions being invoked by the right click context menu, but it does concern my why you would state this, “Our goal was not to hide features behind context menus that are not seen by the vast majority of customers.”, when it is obvious by your own metrics that context menus are the preferred method for interaction. If half of every users’ action are through these context menus why not improve them even further? Why if the vast majority of users are using context menus as their preferred interaction method would features in those menus not be ‘seen’ as you described? Wouldn’t that be a “clear opportunity to improve the Explorer user experience to make it more effective” just as described in the blog? It seems that the interpretation of the data to what was a “clear opportunity” was a poor one by the results shown so far.

    In the end, it’s not that the ribbon UI is bad or ‘disliked’ but instead that it is a poor choice for the task at hand. The ribbon UI has its place in specialized tools where several and different complex actions are required like in Office. Too a point if a bunch of explorer actions required repeatedly going back and forth between lots of different commands then the ribbon might be worth to be turned on, but that scenario is rare beyond rare and even when it does occur it only happens very sporadically and when it was completed it would be best to turn off the ribbon (which is the usage case I expect to see if this current ribbon is allowed in the final product). When it comes down to day to day tasks, it simply uses too much space to be left open, contains too many unnecessary elements for the average user, and in the rare cases that an action is needed it requires too much travel from the content to the action to be convenient.  

    It’s possible the actual UI that should have been created was a right click context menu similar to the ribbon concept but better optimized for that style as well as for adapting to the context of the content at hand. Furthermore the use of the system being aware the users habits could help forge the context menu into a perfect glove fit for each user’s needs rather than trying to throw every tool available at them. I could also see using Metro’s guidance through moving UI elements to help the user find what they actions they are looking for. For example instead of simply opening another menu next to a context point, a metro type transition could morph into the context desired; transforming the menu into what is needed. This would allow for depth into the context menu without losing the user’s focus as well as limiting the overall size of the pop up menu. And instead of being limited to simple text lists, the use of icons and animations would help convey information to the user. This type of interface could be just as powerful (if not more) than the ribbon, while remaining elegant, and true the style in the rest of the platform.

    I truly wish anything I said could make a difference, but unfortunately I think we’re kidding ourselves he we think we could. Even if a team were persuaded, the logistical timeframe is unlikely to allow for much change at all, to which I wonder is there a point this all this ‘discussion’ in the end. As to why I would bother myself with all this, it is because I am incredibly passionate about Microsoft and what they create; as I see so much potential (and success) in what they do; yet while I respect the enormous effort, work, and time that went into such a feature as this, I can see that it doesn’t reach the potential that it could, and I want to see Microsoft reach that potential and success it deserves rather than settle for anything less.

    Well, that…. and I want use a truly great UI myself. 🙂

  522. Thomas says:

    Regarding keyboard shortcuts, why did you remove Alt+D keyboard shortcut that was available up to Windows XP? It is a really common keyboard shortcut to bring focus to the address bar to type an adress without touching the mouse, and is quite common, as it is used in multiple programs (a lot of browsers, like Internet Explorer, for instance, use this shortcut).

    Since Vista, this keyboard shortcut doesn't do anything. Why did you remove this shortcut?

    Otherwise, great job, with the ribbons. I am quite sure we will need some time to adapt to it, but having such an easy access to some advanced functions (like accessing ACL's properties. This has become so much complicated since Vista!) will makes us power users and administrators save a lot of time…

  523. Dario D. says:

    I like! 😀

    Btw, if you want the TV behind Alex to not flicker, set the camera to a slower shutter-speed, like 1/30, if the camera has manual controls. (the vid is likely 1/80 or faster) Shutter-speed isn't to be confused with framerate… it only controls how long each frame is exposed to light.

  524. Smapdi says:

    What did the UP button ever do to you in the first place?

  525. Clippy says:

    Feature request: Bring back Microsoft Clippy. Now it could be used for the explorer, too!

  526. Ribbonless says:

    Jeesus – Ribbon ! Windows 8 is so dead. Look at the Office Ribbon – all the competitors I selling their Office with adwerst NO RIBBON! This should tell a lot to you. Hello – ribbon is useless. Please don't mess this up! Please please…

  527. Dan Eden says:

    Words cannot describe how awful this is.

  528. le moumou says:

    This is just terrible.

    Why would you expose so many buttons that won't be used anyway ? All popular functions are already easily available today in the windows 7 explorer, according to your own studies.

    Don't you think that the other features aren't used because they aren't so interesting and not because they are hidden ?

    The detail pane on the right sounds also bad to me.

    I hope this blog really makes you take all comments in consideration and that you will change your mind about these "improvements".

  529. bzodd says:

    What a nasty UI fail, OMG, get some decent UI designers and stop producing such a awefull bullshit.

  530. cbc says:

    Hey guys, if you don't like the ribbon, just hide it and keep using the context menu and the hotkeys (or your favorite third-party tool) ! Where's the problem ? No one will ever force you to use the ribbon if you don't want to. But let the folks who like it use it.

  531. @Nir Rotshtein

    1) When I do not use extensive editing of the documents (in excel or one note for example), I simply minimize the ribbon and use the shortcuts I've created on quick tool bar for the commands I use most (such as 'save as', 'format painter' etc.). This approach allows to have most real estate, completely uncluttered view and in the same time having the tools you need at hand.

    2) I believe that what you look for have been in Office 2010 (I think that it is so in 2007 as well) from day one. Go to 'File' -> 'Options' -> 'Customize Ribbon'. You are able to create complete tabs the way you want them to be as well as turn off those you don't need.

    3) I've mostly covered it in #2, but also take a look at the 'quick access toolbar'. Click on little arrow pointing downwards on the top left of the Office screen next to 'save' button and click 'more commands'. You can also get there from 'File' -> 'Options' -> 'Quick Access Toolbar'.

    I believe if you have not used these customization options – you will love Office even more.

    My experience with users upgrading from Office 2003 to 2007 or 2010 was mostly very positive. (imo) It's not even about little time to get adjusted, it is more about open-mindness and willingness to learn and improve one’s workflow that make people explore the new interface and eventually like it.

    Even though I consider myself 'a power user', in many cases I find myself very reluctant to explore the menu and see the possibilities of the program at hand. This I believe is the very thing that makes a big part of 'classic menu users' not liking the ribbon. And what's actually good about it (the ribbon) – you come through the commands and do get to know what you can actually do with the software. Eventually you get into it and finding using much more then you used too (this behavior I found common for most users I’ve interacted with).

    Again, if only Explorer Ribbon will allow customizations as in Office 2010 (or better bring them to a new level), I can't see how any 'power user' can be unhappy with it. Such approach would be able to make the majority of user base happy.

    As shown in this article, the considerations about valuable vertical space is taking very seriously and after closely comparing the explorer window in Windows 7 to the screenshot from Windows 8 I've realized that in present Explorer pretty much the only two buttons I use is 'create new folder' and 'change your view'. With the 'ribbon' approach I could use so much more commands when I need them, as well as minimizing it when I don't and do the 'basics' easily as well. To my surprise I've noted the way I would use 'ribbon' – I would have much more valuable vertical space then I do now.

    As for the design touches and metro UI:

    – Making ribbon more ‘metro like’ and making it look lighter is something I guess should be (and can be) done. However, (imo) the evolution is going in the right way/manner at present. After all, as Steven noted – most users want to use more, not less. So the functionality should be 1st priority, with the design come 2nd. It’s like first writing down a list of things you want on you webpage, then the design elements and how things would work together… with final design touches or even complete overhaul coming closer to the moment when the functionality is more or less ‘finalized’. Yes, it can evolve more or change during this stage as well.

    – It would be nice to see an option to just show icons (without the text), so that the layout gets a little reorganized/compact with this as well. Again, (imo) the more personalization/customization options integrated into the core of the program – the better it is. Think about being able to customize your favorite web browser exactly the way you like it to (adding and deleting toolbars, adding/creating new buttons, inserting extra blank space where needed,  scaling the elements to your preference etc.). The idea of ‘scalable interface’ that I’ve mentioned a post earlier comes to my mind here again…

    I hope my post helps some of the ‘ribbon haters’ to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

  532. Thanks for your hard work! I am loving the changes!

    I don't get why people are so negative towards the ribbon. I think it is a great improvement. If you don't like it you can collapse it and that will be the end of it. I however think I would more than likely take advantage of the ribbon. I do own both Mac OS X and Windows 7. While I like the simplicity of Finder, I think it is way to basic and it is harder to navigate than the Windows Explorer.

    Just few suggestions for the ribbon:

    1. I do like the Ribbon UI, but I'd like it to look simpler and going toward the direction of Metro UI. If not, Office 2010 style is good too.

    2. I think it will be a good idea to have ribbon collapsed by default.

    3. I'd request to have an option where ribbon could extend when mouse hovers over it for a short duration of time, and then collapse again when mouse hovers off.

  533. Diego says:

    I hope we can disable that stupid ribbon thing. I've always hated that, wasting space for the same old commands: stupid! Lookin' hours for that easy control that once was so clear: stupid. I f****n hate all that stupid ribbon thing.

  534. Ollebro says:

    No please. Don't add the menu system from Word! The way it looks in Win 7 is really nice but you could use the width better since almost everyone has a wide screen.

  535. wr says:

    qs7000, i'm working in support for years and i know how people can mess up when extensions showing is turned on. It is better to hide them and use antivirus software. Most users just don't understand and don't care what those extensions are for and delete them when renaming files and then i get a support call "something terrible has happened to my very important spreadsheet and it doesn't open anymore". You know, showing the extensions photo.jpeg.bat won't stop dumb users from opening it either. Maybe Windows should have some protection mechanism and emphasize files with double-triple extensions and say that this file could be dangerous.

  536. a says:…/8422.Figure-21-_2D00_-Real-Estate-comparison_5F00_2.png

    What's this? Close bottom bar in Windows 7 and then you can compare this ones.

    MS-DOS have the best UI, anyway.

  537. Adrian says:

    I now understand the meaning of Ribbon when I saw the iso mount in explorer video. Tabs use less space but it could be better. I made another concept:…/windowplorer.png

    Please watch

  538. taabello says:

    Great work guys.

    i especially like the fact that you can also minimise the ribbon if not needed.

  539. David says:

    The UI looks very childish and outdated, especially the back and forward buttons, please spaek to the IE9 UI Team to get some help

  540. Chen says:

    Microsoft logic: "Almost nobody uses the content bar – Let's make it bigger!"

    Seriously, this solves nothing.

    Real world problems i have with explorer:

    1. While dragging files i can't use the mouse scroll wheel.

    2. I want to see the total size of a folder! Instantly, just as for a file. People are so used to this feature missing that they don't even bother asking why it's not there.

    3. Tagging of files – all files. Let's say i have a folder of 50 PDFs or word documents i have to read, i want to be able to mark them as read/good/bad/etc/etc… And then sort/search based on this.

    4. Reliable search. The search today is such a joke i don't even dare to use it anymore. So many times have it said "no results" when i have the file just in front of me containing the exact search time i used.

    5. Better integration with source control, backup tools and other third party tools. Perforce for example is stuck in your context menu, when accidentally opening the menu it attempts to connect to the source server locking the whole explorer interface for 30 seconds. Other example is overlay icons, i think it was tortoise that had some blog post a while ago complaining that explorer only allowed 16(?) different overlays making it very hard to do any serious marking of files. Don't remember the exact details but something along these lines. This also comes back to tagging and searching of files. I want to search for versioned files. Impossible.

    The ribbon would be great for adding menus like this for third party tools but apparantly you won't allow this?!

    6. Built in pdf preview and search. Adobe refuses to create a 64bit version of their previewhandler and IFilter. So on windows x64 it's very hard to get those features, you have to mix third party tools. One for preview, one for searching and then still it only works with certain pdf files.

    7. I want to rename 10 files in a folder that requires admin elevation. => Have to log in as admin 10 times.

    8. Drag and drop from explorer to admin-elevated programs doesn't work.

    9. Preview and searching of more text files enabled by default. IIRC you have to manually add and enable common files such as .cs .js .cpp .sql .htm .css and most other programming text files to be previewed in the preview bar and indexed by the windows search.

    10. Preview pane reacts too slow. When i use the preview pane it is because i want to PREVIEW files QUICKLY. If i want to view a file i open the main application. Now when you step through files in the file list it takes almost half a second for the preview to update to the next file, even for small text files. I guess this is an artificial limit to not open every single file if you move over files quickly but the limit is set too high.

    11. Date modifed/created is cryptic, why not use natural language such as "2 minutes ago" "Last week", etc. Dropbox does this very nicely.

    12. Quickly switch between which detail-columns to display. If i'm looking at music i see length/rating etc. If i want to quickly see the size and date created of these files and then switch back to the music-look. How to do?! You have to go into select columns, tick and untick and ghaa!! IIRC windows xp had this feature, "optimize view for" or something like that.

    13. Indexing of network drives and external drives. And keep this index localy. I want to be able to browse and maybe even search my external drive even when it's not connected. "This file might be located on your external disc, please connect the disc if you see if the file is still there and access it".

  541. WOW says:

    Hate to sy it guys but it looks like you just took UI design back in time about 10 years.

    Some of the features are great (especially like the share functionality)… however the designers should be fired and quickly. It's a massively over complex solution that looks cramped, messy and extremely clunky.

    As another user said, the file browser should be kept clean and simple (much like a browser), and if you look at OSX file managers it's SIMPLICITY that makes things work. How exactly this classifies as 'STREAMLINING' when you are basically just chucking a million and one options on the screen at once I don't know.

    The windows phone 7 'metro' experience is beautiful and simple to use because of it's SIMPLICITY, this is where you need to be going, not in the complete opposite direction.

    I hate to say it but the idea of these features is very good, but the implementation is horrific. You will be putting a lot of people off that are already switching over to other platforms, and these are the people you need to be attracting. New users will see this all as way too over complicated, and power users will know how to easily do all of this with a simple menu selection and keyboard shortcuts… so you will be loosing both audiences by overcomplicating things like this.

    Have a chat with the WP7 ui designers and maybe there will be a chance to save windows… otherwise this route will just be the extra nail in it's cofin!

  542. Kay S says:

    Hi guys,

    nice features so far.

    But zooming  should be consistent across the MS Programms (slider in lower right) 😉

    Have a nice day

  543. Nicolas says:


    Great job Microsoft!

    I love these new ideas, the ribbon is just the coolest thing in Office.

    And implementing it in Explorer is a bright idea.

    Keep up the good work!

    You'll crush Apple who thinks easy of use is what users want.

  544. Raptor says:

    The single most annoying things in the Windows 7 explorer are the constant "are you sure you want to do this and that" -dialogs.

    Could you please add an option to get rid of all these dialogs completely? For example, by giving a possibility to answer "yes, I am sure, and please do not show this dialog ever again to me, including when I am using the explorer next time or after I have rebooted the computer".

    Another item: Please do not hide the "size" -column by default in explorer. That is far more useful than e.g. "file type" -column.

  545. Nicolas says:

    Ugly! How could users like such a goofy design!

    C'est une faute de goût !

  546. DanglingPointer says:

    Batch Rename and Find Duplicates (w.r.t MD5 or CRC checksums) would be great additions IMVHO.

  547. Paul Moloney says:

    I'm genuinely baffled how anyone can think this looks better than the Windows 7 explorer. And as this post details, even based on MS's _own_ metrics, this is a failure:…/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a


  548. DanglingPointer says:

    Custom grouping: GroupBy should provide the leeway to select bunch of files randomly and tag them with a color. (if it’s not an offense, check out mac 10.6.6 for reference)

  549. I think power users are over reacting about the Ribbon UI here. You know that the ribbon can by minimized if you don't like it. Besides, us power users use the right click anyway to do things we wanted to do because it's far quicker than using the menu bars (and that is true for every version of Windows since WIn95.) In fact, the  top ten most commonly used functions can be found using the right click.. What the Ribbon UI designed for this case is for touch and for normal users to discover new features, which MSFT did achieve here. However, until the higher resolutions on screens becomes the norm (especially on laptops where most of them have only 768 vertical pixels to play with instead of 1080 which is more suitable for the Ribbon UI), I think it's unlikely that a power user will have this Ribbon UI permanently on.

    Suggestion: If the navigation bar was white instead of the blue, it will create an illusion that the Ribbon isn't as big as it seems (especially if you replace the 3D icons on the navigation bar with Metro UI icons). On the other hand, it may appear ugly when minimized and appear inconsistent on other aspects of the UI (such as what it would look like on a “wizard” window for example).

  550. DanglingPointer says:

    One more suggestion: When we open the folder from the search page, the path to the folder is replace with the query-string. Can you guys change it to show the original path while retaining the search link in the back? Because we are not expecting the breadcrumb in the address bar but the actual path to the folder w.r.t the entry point of disk?

  551. DanglingPointer says:

    One more suggestion: When we open the folder from the search page, the path to the folder is replace with the query-string. Can you guys change it to show the original path while retaining the search link in the back? Because we are not expecting the breadcrumb in the address bar but the actual path to the folder w.r.t the entry point of disk?

  552. qs7000 says:

    Unfortunately the ribbon most of the time will reduce vertical screen real estate (unless collapsed) compared to Win7, as shown here:…/vx4b2z-140385

  553. Ribbon Hater says:

    The ribbon tabs are very difficult to follow. You have to sometimes navigate all of them to find out where a certain feature is hidden… sometimes I need to use two features very frequently and they are in different tabs, so I keep switching and that's time consuming. Shortcuts are confusing to have to memorize. Is there a way to customize your OWN ribbon with only what you need? I think you need to make the selected ribbon tab more obvious because in a lot of causes, I just don't know very quickly which tab is selected because the colors merge together. Use something more bold to define a selected ribbon tab. But then again I think many users will hate this suggestion as well!

  554. Arthur says:

    Great Job guys,

    Some comments:

    1. I would have imagine a smaller ribon that is not as high as the current one, that stand on 2/3 lines instaead of 4 currently.

    2. Please build smooth scrolling 🙂

    3. Make the sharing option consistent between explorer, mail, photo gallery (especially for photo sharing: attached file or online album)

    4. expose old versions of the files (backups) in the UI.

    5. Use aero like in Office 2010

    6. Try to have consistency in the back and forth buttons between IE, Explorer, Zune, WMP, etc…

    7. Get rid of the useless borders of the windows

    8. I think the select box should be enable by default

    9. build a great preview tool, something that respect the layout of the document and that is fast. I would say Quick Look on OSX is great 🙂

    10. Try to have some consistency in the UI between the touch interface and the classic aero interface (font, shape the icons, etc,…)

    keep up the good work !

  555. Dario D. says:

    Oh, one more thing I noticed: Why not have "Size" as one of the default "arrange by" tabs? In Details view there (looking at the video), the "Type" tab looks pretty big, and I'm not sure how many people will use "Date created". (I know SOME will use it, but, if it turns out to be a tiny audience, maybe they could be left to enable it on their own (system-wide?))…

    Also, will the "arrange by" tabs be visible in view modes other than Details? (if even just as an option) Vista had them visible in all view modes, and it was fantastic.

  556. Diego says:


  557. Recontra enojado says:

    Mr. Sinosfky… Have you lost common sense? Did you see that pictures? Did you really read that stupid telemetry thing? Did you ever see IE9? I can't believe it.

    I don't want to be a jerk with someone else's job, but this is insane. I was expecting something else. I was expecting a beautiful Metro UI or at least something minimalist. But this is insane…

    Sorry for my tone. I feel impotetn.

  558. Drew Alden says:

    Please, please, please for the love of god get rid of the automatic sort functionality added in vista / 7.

    A very common action is creating a new file via right click, pasting files via right-click as you've shown in your findings, and extracting a zip to a folder using something like WinRAR and the right-click menu.

    In XP, the newly extracted / created files would be sitting right there for you to use – an automatic F5 sorting refresh was not invoked. In 7 and Vista, files are sorted instantly and thus any new folder disappears into the stack of items and we have to go find it.

    THIS IS NOT CONVENIENT. Look at your research, take a poll, and learn from what worked – Windows XP's style.

  559. Mikel says:

    Are you kidding?

    And Ribbon again?


  560. Rohit Dave says:

    Its a great information with pictures. I like you strategy of understanding

  561. Matthias says:

    Please also bring back the "sort-headers" (introduced in Vista but sadly removed again in Win7):…/461

  562. mmm says:

    You must shift to Office 2010 ribbon. I hate this old style 2007 ribbon. Also Back/Forward/Up buttons need to be redesigned.

  563. Brian says:

    I like the ribbon if we can completely remove it from all explorer windows!

    The good news is the number of keyboard shortcuts that are going to be implemented.

    But looking at the pictures of this post, I'm afraid of one thing : is it the end of CTRL+C / CTRL+X shortcuts? Are these default shortcut keys to be changed?…/windows-8-file-explorer-end-of-ctrlc.html

  564. TH says:

    Looks nice and well-usable at first sight. 🙂

  565. LM says:

    OMG! Is that suppose to be a good design?! Not event taking into account aesthetics, the hole bar is messed up with elements on different sizes and some of them are not even used at all according to you own statistics!

  566. Thaerryn says:

    Please add COLOR Customization

    WHITE windows burns my eyes – I wanna use a dark grey with black fonts

    By extension many people would like to use their own preferred color in place of the white windows background

    pls !!!!

    pls !!!!

    pls !!!!

  567. Anon says:

    Up Button, yes. Option to launch the command line, yes. Getting rid of the useless statistics bar at the bottom: yes.

    Adding a giant menu ribbon with tons of useless buttons: No, just no! (Please add a 'do not show ribbon' option next to the 'minimize' one.)

  568. @Steven Sinofsky

    You know what other interface exposes >200 commands? Office 2010, you know what doesn’t look cluttered? Office 2010. This explorer however, looks cluttered, convoluted and put together by engineers, not designers; however you don’t need me to tell you that Office and Explorer are not the same beasts. I’m using Office to write this comment so before you think I’m one of those people who hate the ribbon I’m not, bringing the ribbon to Office was the best thing to happen to it and the refinements that have been made since show how good it was and still is.

    In you other comment you mention how people are asking for more features, which is very true, however you’ll also notice and hopefully realise that not every feature needs a UI behind it.

    To be honest you’re treating your customers like idiots, just because we don’t use a feature doesn’t mean we don’t know HOW to use said feature in other ways. If you want to know why no one uses the command bar it is because you’ve simply put the wrong buttons up there. In 7 today if I open the Documents Library the following in located in the command bar:

    Organize | Share with | New folder

    Not very useful I’m sure you’ll agree, all but two of the commands are hidden under the Organize menu. Why not instead surface library management buttons?

    If I select a word document the following is instead shown:

    Organize | Open | Share with | Print | Email | New folder

    Which of those are unique to the docx file I’ve selected? I’d argue none but to be fair we’ll say 3 (Open, Print, Email). Why not instead surface more context specific controls for that file?

    The problem is shown even more so when I select local hard drives:

    Organize | Properties | System Properties | Uninstall | Map network drive | Open CP

    Again surface more context specific buttons like you are doing in the ribbon now.

    What I’m trying to point out is that we don’t need a whole ribbon control to perform such simple controls. No one at the moment selects a bunch of files and navigates to Organize>Copy to copy a file so why do you feel they will suddenly do it in the ribbon? You have had 400 million customers last year and you’re telling me none of them know how to copy files because your telemetry shows that they don’t use the command bar to do it? So your solution is to surface those mundane controls because your users are so dumb that they don’t know about ctrl+c or right click>copy?

    If this ribbon is for Grandma then why are you screwing up your entire UI for small gains? Grandma is probably still running Windows XP for all you know, she shouldn’t be the basis for which to design a UI, she also shouldn’t be an afterthought but do NOT design for her. She isn’t your main customer, business users are, mainstream users are, soccer moms are; they believe it or not, already know how to copy a file. I repeat we are not idiots.

    You also keep insisting that the ribbon takes I'up less space, now the last thing I’ll ever accuse you guys of doing is fudging but that screenshot comparison is anything but fair, not only is the details view bigger than what comes as default on Windows 7 but in any other non-library folder Windows 7 will show more files. A dishonest comparison really and something I wouldn’t expect from you guys. It is what it is.

    If 16:9 is the push for Windows 8 then why add a top heavy control to every explorer window? A command bar expands horizontally, makes more sense to do that don’t you think?

    I also want to quickly touch on “Share with”; can you PLEASE change the name and make it pretty? Apple announces AirDrop and everyone goes crazy, they act like it’s a brand new feature and give it a thumbs up. Windows has had file sharing like that for years and no one cares, why? Because it’s called “share with” and the UI for sharing is boring. Make it pretty and people will use it, give it a brand name and people will talk about it. Simple stuff guys simple stuff.

    Why not make Homegroup the place where all files can be shared? Add the profile pictures, make it pretty and people will use it, I’ve tried many times to get homegroup setup around my house but it’s so boring that I resort to USB flash drives. I just never think, “hey, lemme press that ‘share with’ button up there to send this file over to my laptop”.

    I actually thought Windows 8 would be different, you promised a beautiful new UI and while I’m sure that is still around somewhere the ribbon isn’t the answer. Why don’t you at the very least work with the office team to use the very latest edition of the ribbon? You got a guy from the Office team commenting on the ribbon as if he has never seen it before. He works in the SAME company and has to resort to a blog post to point out design problems with your biggest product?! That shows perfectly that you are very much a disjointed group of engineers (and one designer :p). Office team pioneered the Ribbon you’d think that they would have had a say in how it would look, function, work, feel, etc.

    In a nutshell I propose you make the command bar more context sensitive, centre all the controls on said bar to match the title. Perhaps even make the bar slightly longer like you did with the “superbar” in 7, that way more controls can fit and potential squeeze in the odd icon or two.

    Finally (because this is over 1000 words already) minimising the ribbon as an answer to so called power users isn’t an answer at all. The QAT toolbar isn’t an answer at all (we are now forced to deal with 16×16 icons on a non-maximised window, seriously?)

    Please look around; the press are (already!) bashing this Ribbon and it’s not even beta, don’t make 8 another Vista. Btw have you guys wiped that from your minds, you don’t even mention it anymore on your blogs, I’d hoped you learned from the mistakes rather than simply pretending it never happened.

    I’ll leave now but with the final message of don’t design for Grandma, she doesn’t bring in the bacon, we do, she doesn’t talk to her friends about how great the OS is, we do, she doesn’t pre-order the OS so she can install it the day of its release, we do, she doesn’t go to her grandchildren’s houses to install the latest OS’s, we do that for her. No offence to grandma btw, love you 🙂

    We are the majority when it comes to Windows (by ‘We’ I don’t mean hard-core geeks, I mean customers who care enough to post on your blog, email you, etc). Please make us proud to use Windows.

  569. Mr. K says:

    For sure we can not say this time that Microsoft copy from Apple…

    But I wish they did so that we could have a nice looking explorer instead of this ugly things…

  570. Thaerryn says:

    the return of the "UP" button means you can again use "backspace" key to move to upper level directory ?

    I hope so because it's something I really miss in Win7

  571. sym says:

    Still that rounded corners! it doesn't look nice. why cant you find some nice ones for back/forward/up buttons. They are so out dated. At least make a new icon set available for the users like WP7-style. It hurts to see those ugliness still existing. ;(

  572. Todd B says:

    Good lord, get some designers before you do mock ups.

    That is one hideously ugly tool bar.

  573. Chris Warwick says:

    PowerShell please!

    I've been reading and enjoying these posts but haven't been moved to comment till now; but while reading this the "Cmd Prompt" item just had to be remarked upon!  Luckily it seems a whole bunch of people agree with me and have commented so already.  I'm adding my vote.  

    It would be great if it was customisable (as some folks have asked for) but at the very least let's bin cmd.exe and use the contemporary replacement.


  574. gil dotan says:

    hi, thanks for your efforts to improve windows,

    i have 2 things on windows explorer topic.

    * folder size!!!! it is so needed !!!

    mkv container information – today only avi is supported when mkv container will be supported ?

  575. James says:

    I never understood why so many applications are using this horrible, unintuitive ribbon interface. I have remained with earlier Office versions simply because I find it so slow and clumsy to use. There was nothing wrong with the traditional toolbar/buttons interface… it's fast, easy and does the job. Hunting around in the ribbon to find a simple menu action is not for me. So unless explorer can be configured to use the normal interface, WIndows 8 won't be for me!

  576. Looks nice, I like it very much.

    As far as my wishlist for the new Explorer goes, I would like to see the following features implemented:

    1) A more powerful rename-capability for multiple files. Explorer can handle multiple files but it can only rename them like this: filename (1), filename (2) , … , filename (n). It would be cool, if you guys could implement like an 'adavnced options' menu that lets the user specify the structure of the file names by letting them add certain expressions to the file name or the extension.

    For example: Photo[N] – [Date].jpg where [N] acts as a counter and [Date] inserts the current date and all marked files are renamed to Photo001 – 08/30/11.jpg etc…

    2) Every halfway decent file manager today has the ability to synchronize directories. Please build robocopy into it.

    3) Does the search mechanism in Explorer make use of regular expressions? That would also be very cool.

    4) A 'secure erase' option that lets the user specify how many times a file is overwritten with zeroes or random data before it is deleted. Of course it would then have to be removed from the shadow copies as well.

    5) I think it is a pain in the … to find out abouot a folder's size. Why not provide an option that shows the the folder size on demand? (like i.e. when someone marks some folders and then presses 'spacebar' – then the folder sizes could appear in the 'size'-column).

    That's all I can think of for now and I really hope some of my ideas find their way into the new product.

    Keep up the good work,


  577. Anonymous says:


    I do recall that the Office team is the one that gave us Windows Installer.  Thanks guys for showing us once again what you're good at – wielding power.

  578. Donal says:

    I would like to see much better SharePoint integration, e.g. if the folder I am looking at is in SharePoint, I want to be able to check out and check in the file as necessary.

  579. Neil Moss says:

    Sorry – but the ribbon is going to be nothing more than a barrier to adoption for me.

    Office 2007 is now 4 years old. Working my way around a UI which changes the location of features depending upon the width of the window is still a daily horror.

    Perhaps you could release a "super ultimate (retro) enterprise" edition which presents a UI familiar to your loyal users of the last 20 years just get on with the task in hand using the skills they've acquired in that time.

    Windows 8 with Ribbon? The Whoa-there starts now.

  580. Norway says:

    Ribbon in explorer looks very nice 🙂

  581. DanglingPointer says:

    Few more suggestions:

    – Native support for CVS, SVN and Git integration in explorer. Also, the ability to sync with SkyDrive (and/or sendto->SkyDrive).

    – Easy and intuitive file sharing: Other than the usergroup and same username on each PC, a network map can be shown (like the one in Network and Sharing Center of WindOS7) with each end-node (PC, Laptop or SmartPhone) clickable and based on the MAC or IP address, the machine should be granted the permission to access the asset. Similarly, the resource/asset can be shared to selected LiveID(s) to make it available over the Internet via P2P transfer.

    – (A little off-topic) Built-in support for torrents download via IE download manager and ability to create the download:…/create-download-in-ie-download-manager

  582. Jim says:

    How about adding tabbed UI like Internet Explorer?

  583. Linus Torvalds says:

    Will Windows 8 GPL? Forget IE, preinstall Firefox!!! Really your GUI sucks!

  584. Roy Simons says:

    Can't believe this post!  Lets dedicate valuable display real estate (Especially on a Netbook) to an oversized ribbon/toolbar that not many people use.  The best thing which ever happened to Explorer was to simplify the display!  Yes easy access to key commands and functions is important, but make them readily accessible.  Really hope the ribbon can be turned off.

  585. Gokul Singh says:

    Just wondering why the usage of copy is 11% and paste is 19%. Where are the folks copying from which they are pasting into explorer?

  586. 'Nonymous says:


  587. Jin says:

    Window 8 is shaping up to be a real beauty!

    @Roy Simons – Why dont you actually try reading the post instead of just looking at the pictures before making a comment?

  588. Jin says:

    Window 8 is shaping up to be a real beauty!

    @Roy Simons – Why dont you actually try reading the post instead of just looking at the pictures before making a comment?

  589. zmaher says:

    And why you don't use 2 panes (like total commander for instance)?

    Many users would find it usefull

  590. Stefan says:

    Windows 8 will only use ribbons. That killed my interest of Windows 8. Ribbons+widescreen=crap. Ribbons fill more than classic UI.

  591. Dylan says:

    Ugh. I didn't like the ribbon in Office, and I won't like it now. Keep Windows SIMPLE like it's always been. I'd hate to have to switch to solely running Kubuntu.

  592. Gerd says:

    Windows 3.1 was ok, Windows XP was also ok. Windows 7 is already worse. But these ribbons are the most idiotic stuff microsoft ever invented. I hate them in Office and for that reason I don't use Office anymore an prefer Openoffice. If now the ribbon stuff comes into Explorer this will be one more very good reason to use Linux.

  593. thenonhacker says:

    Here's my concept of the Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon,

    that adapts the OFFICE 2010 STYLE:

    See? It looks less cluttered. That's why I like Office 2010 than Office 2007.

    I removed the Up Button, because I can move to the upper folder using the address bar (that's true, since Vista).

    The problem with applying the Ribbon on Windows Explorer, is that Windows 7 Explorer what designed to be uncluttered and they chose lighter colors so that the emphasis is still on the content.

    On the original screenshot, there's too much emphasis on the ribbon.

    In my version, the emphasis is back to the files and folders you are managing.

    As a bonus, it's ONE STEP AWAY from looking like METRO UI.

  594. Dunstan says:

    In the video Alex says that the command prompt is useful for running batch files.

    Batch files!? Why not make PowerShell the default command prompt, and add a button to run .ps1 files straight from explorer?

  595. It is hard to balance between the folks who post/comment here and the average user.  maybe the ribbon is a great interface for the average user and it *does* have some benefits over the old menu system, but I still don't like it.  It takes too much space and offers eye cnady over functionality.  It hides important commands that, while not frequently used are vital to find quickly when needed.   This point is key to me and I suspect others here.  How frequently something is used is an important criteria but for admins there is a need to get quickly and easily to some features becuase we are troubleshooting or fixing a critial problem.

    I'd like to suggest the following:  Have an item on the home tab that is called "Commands".  When clicked it opens a box where I can start typing the name of a command.  As I type a list appears and narrows as I type more letters.  Make the match a contains type match not a starts with and enter exactly match.  When I have selected the command execute it or give me the options or move it to one of the special tabs like you do for libraries and show me its options.

  596. Steve Jobs says:

    I envy you… Love the idea of having ribbons.. Die Apple and Linux.. Hail Microsoft Windows  forever!

    – Jobs, Steve.

  597. Robert says:

    This is a wonderful improvement!

    "Copy path" and the open command prompts are absolutely fantastic!!

    Thanks for the preview!


  598. Enojado says:

    Enjoy Ribbon in Windows 8:…/2538.Mounting_2D00_a_2D00_new_2D00_ISO_5F00_7AB5E1E9.jpg

    Don't worry about all that empty and useless space.

  599. Anthony says:

    Where is the tabbed interface, just like internet browsers?

  600. DerekTP says:

    I thought the biggest mistake in Windows ever was renaming "File Manager" to "Windows Explorer" with Win95. It took "control" out of the hands of the user – instead of "managing" your system, the system was now an unknown, unmapped quantity that you had to "explore".  This paradigm leaves bits of the system which you may never "find", and means that Windows Explorer itself is not a "definitive" view of the file system, but just a "best guess" at what you've managed to locate so far.

    Introducing a ribbon (or indeed any additional UI) for me further deepens that disconnect with what's actually in my file system. Explorer used to be a "bare metal" tool – you could trust that it accurately reflected the reality of your filesystem, because it WAS your filesystem. By building in more and more functionality, it becomes an "application" like any other rather than a building block, and loses the inherent "trust" and certainty that a low-level tool can provide.

    I still use (and am happy with) WinXP and whilst I normally skip a release when upgrading Windows, I can't see myself feeling comfortable with a Win8 environment that loads so much "extra" onto tools that should be "simple" by virtue of their inherent simplicity and low-level interface (after all, a file is a file is a file!) rather than being made "simple to use" by adding more and more complexity.

  601. How long have you had to get this right? says:

    I think we've been patient guys, for long enough, and yet, again, the same old ugliness thrown together.

    WHAT are you waiting for!!??

    This is your opportunity to go for it, to DELIGHT us with a something new — something clean and simple and elegant — something consistant, contextual and beautifully functional.  And what do we get?  The same old Fisher Price ****.

    Listen to what your users are saying to you.  Unbelivable.

    So excited about 8, love metro, please don't spoil it with more of these lazy half measures, please.

  602. McNass says:

    Please keep it simple – a filemanager must be quick, less icons….

  603. Scott says:

    Just looks cluttered and unfriendly. I'm not a fan of the ribbon in general. It's just too cumbersome. They made the start menu worse in Vista and 7, not they're making this worse. I just hope there's a way to revert to the old style.

  604. Scott says:

    Edit: *now* they're making this worse.

  605. AllTheGoodNamesAreInUse says:

    Personally I will go for a windows 3.1 filemanager with a context menu. If they don't make one available, I will make 1 myself.

    I believe power users would jump at a fast, crap-graphics interface with freely customizable and bindable contextmenu interface. I will.

    Been planning it loosely since my venerable winxp was replaced with win7 last week, and my citrix provided 16bit-look-alike filemanager disappeared.

  606. Imo this is the ribbon control summed up in one, simple image.

  607. Jason says:

    Wtf, are you kidding me? That looks terrible. You're taking the crap ribbon from Office and working it into Windows? Time to move to another operating system…

  608. Please fix search. It has not worked since Windows 2000. I have developers who complain that they can't find their code. The persistent handler for ASP files only searches the HTML, not the code. If you try to find your database connect string you can't. As a sysadmin I sometimes need to track down error messages. I can't search for text inside of DLL and EXE files. You need a dumb (indexed) search for basic users and a power search for power users.

  609. Alex says:

    May be the MS guys should read this- you guys are just making it more and more complicated for the rest of us. Why not create a special edition for the 2%  power users and keep things simple for the rest of us? Sucks! Big time!…/we-agree-it-sucks-but

  610. AndyCadley says:

    Like it. Still have a few reservations about the amount of screen real estate taken up by the ribbon, but at least it's an improvement over what always seems like a big unused chunk at the bottom of Windows 7 Explorer windows.

    Going to have to add my +1 for replacing the old CMD command line with Powershell, it's a much more powerful tool and making it a lot easier to get to would be a major improvement. Running BATch files is so old school (even though Powershell can still run them too!)

  611. Tim says:

    Ribbon again? Ugh.  If Microsoft's goal was to finally look and feel as "Romper Room" as OS-X, bingo you win a prize.

  612. trukhinyuri says:

    Apple vs Microsoft  . (Explorer vs Finder)

  613. OhDear says:

    Great, more real estate lost. I hope we have the option to hide the ribbon completely and not just "minimize" it.

  614. Rich Hunt says:

    In figure 19, you display the percentage of users with various resolutions.  Could you add a comment about how this data is impacted by the use of setups with multiple monitors?  eg Do people who have 1280×1024 often have two screens, and thus higher overall real-estate?

    Like the addition of the ribbon.  I would echo @harishv 's second point (29 Aug 2011 9:12pm) about promoting short shortcuts, eg Ctrl-C, over the Alt-H-C-O alternatives that are new for the ribbon.

  615. j0x says:

    can you just get rid of the Navigation Pane? its taking too much space imo the ribbon is fine as long as i can autohide it and from the looks of the screenshot it can be autohide

    and also can microsoft make the search bar and the address bar fuse together like the omnibox of google chrome that is one heck of a feature imo that is trivial but will be more simplier looking and easier to work with

  616. Jason F says:

    The biggest complaint I have with explorer keyboard navigation in win7 is when you are using the keys to arrow around the files (what you call this area? the Contents Pane?) then moving to the address bar and back to the contents pane. Or back to the contents pane from anywhere else. Maybe its there in 7 and I've just missed it.

    My other gripe that I had forgotten about is how hard it was to pin "My Computer" to the task bar (and Win+E). They always defaulted to "Libraries" but in a corporate envioment where you are mostly working with mapped network shares "Computer" is a better default.

  617. Hi Everyone!

    I respect the Windows Team work, and the functionalies seems to be very interesting, but about the design… I don't know what to expect from Windows Team anymore…

    Where is the guy that created Metro UI, is he killed or something?

    I don't understand why you guys keep doing things so cluttered (and bad designed), and get so much angry in the people.

    In the top of this post reads: "we know this is an important subject so we expect a pretty engaged dialog on the topic."

    Ok. I think you alredy get what you want, so:

    1. Please take the time to read what users wrote about this cluttered "Ribbon".

    2. Most commens reads about: "We Want Metro UI"

    So: Why you don't want to implement Metro UI? I just want an explanation.

    People cares about the design. You know it! Do you expect to sell Windows 8 with this cluttered interface?? Really?

    I'm tired of waiting… You will ruin a company doing things like that…

    I'm feeling very sad and dissapointed.

  618. I really like @P Cause idea of a 'Commands' tab where we can start typing a command and have it filter like the Win7 start menu does for programs and files. This should be part of every ribbon experience so advanced users who know the name of the command have the option of jumping right to it.

  619. As part of the improvement process to Explorer you should include a tool along the lines of Unlocker ( so that when I get the message that a file is locked I have some options concerning what I can do instead of a fatal error.

  620. The Viking says:

    I would like to be able to have a button that opens either two explorer windows side by side aligned to the sides of the screen or two panes (or four panes with two for the tree and two for the files) inside explorer. This way I will not have to open two explorer windows every time i want to copy a file from place to place and that happens a lot :(.

    Thank you

  621. Adrian says:

    How about adding Macros and custom shortcuts?

  622. pcunite says:

    Thank you for asking for feedback and making us a part of what will become Windows 8. I skipped Vista entirely over the "UP" button. When 7 came out and it still did not have it, I found ClassicShell and was able to get my "UP" button back and you where able to make a sale. So, take us seriously when we moan 🙂 … Having said that I like what I see here … your giving crazy people like me choices … I can slim down to the QAT and minimize the ribbon. I think I'll be very pleased with this.

  623. Matt P says:

    Its still missing tabbed file browsing.  I want to work in multiple directories without multiple windows open.  nautilus has it, konqueror has it, dolphin has it.  when will this feature be delivered.

  624. So you wanna proofs???

    Here is another proof that EVERYONE loves Metro UI

    1,268,543 (1,039 today) of people canno't be wrong!:…/Omnimo-4-1-for-Rainmeter-158707137

    People, we have to raise our voices!!!

  625. Ian says:

    Not allowing add-ins to add a tab to the explorer bar is very poor.

    How well TortoiseSVN and TortoiseHg works will to a large extend effect if I like Windows 8.  Given how many people ask computer programmers they know about new versions of windows, I think you MUST get this right.    (Think bad to vista and how it was hated by “power users”, so can a unfair reputation given it was liked by a lot of normal users if they tried it)

  626. Adam Koncz says:

    I hope the user can HIDE the ribbon. Like permanently. It is cluttered.

    Its not like it matters. 20 years of windows and I still use Orthodox File Managers. Doing the same common tasks is 30 -40 % faster using  TotalCommander. I know. We measured it once at my workplace.

  627. Robert says:

    One of the first things I had to do when I got the new Office was to BUY the Addins so I could get the menu bar back.  The Ribbon, I am sorry to say, is TERRIBLE.  It reminds of why I hated WordPerfect so much and loved Word.  I suspect I will be buying the addins for Windows 8.  Why did you break something that wasn't broken in the first place?

  628. WayneD says:

    Add to my previous comments the addition of an Add-Ons tab, displaying buttons to installed Add-Ons, would also be extremely helpful.

  629. Adam Koncz says:

    It is a MISTAKE to make Windows 8 more touch friendly by default. It should have a touch mode but vast majority still use mouse to interact with the OS.

  630. Fernando says:

    hi,great work…

    just one thing is still missed,i think….

    when we enter a folder that contain both file and folder and we want to sort them by size ony files being sorted not the folders….and that is a little anonying…cause we must go to properties and see the size of each folder or hold the mouse on it for seconds….and that doesn't make scene when you have a lot of folders…

    is there any solution for this problem in windows 8?can both files and folders being sorted in any way?

  631. cimofj2 says:

    I wish Microsoft would address problems with Windows Explorer & Intenet Explore!!!!!

    I've had Vista & now 7 & in both Operating Systems Both programs have demonstrated annoying crashes!!!!!

    In Windows Explorer, attempts to RENAME or Make any other Property change seem to cause the problem!!!!!

    The crashes of IE (both 8 & 9) they are extremely random & don't seem to have a definite cause!!!!!

  632. CyberDog says:

    Very disappointed.  

    I've always found the Ribbon interface confusing and ugly. I can choose the tab, but then have to hunt through the sea of icons and check-boxes in order to find what task I'm looking for.  At least a standard Menu interface one can scan through the options in a simple vertical column format and find what one's looking for quickly.

    Even the "QAT" looks ugly. Bring back the good mix of "small icons and text" that older programs like Outlook Express offered, with separators and user-sortable options.

    Outlook Express was a fantastic mail client. Windows Mail was a step backwards, and now Windows Live Mail – with its discarding of the standard menu bar in favor of the Ribbon Bar – is awful.

    Windows 7 does a lot of things *really* well, and the team should be commended. And Windows 8 looks pretty good too.  But the adoption of the Ribbon Bar interface in more and more applications seems to be discarding years of good UI design in favour of a visual mess.

  633. Christian says:


    from Germany the same opinion like "Adam Koncz" said.

    Leave the oldscool one window explorer style, and do it like Total Commander, with two windows and tabs like every modern browser does.

    It's much faster for every type of work!

    Best regards

  634. Liam says:

    I think by using the address bar from Windows 7, the Up button is now obsolete. I would love to be able to drag and drop files/folders onto folder names in the address bar.

    I would agree Windows XP had a great Explorer – always customised mine to Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete and Move/Copy To commands, then removed text labels to remove clutter. I think Windows 8 Explorer is just trying to do too much. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

  635. This is "spin" says:

    I believe this is really about making Explorer more user-friendly to people coming to Windows for the first time, but being pitched to the advanced users as something that cares about the "heritage" of Windows.  I don't believe it.  The last several years Microsoft as been trying really hard to make Windows more user-friendly.  I think that's a great Idea, but it ultimately frustrates me (usually by burying advanced things further  and further down).

  636. Umber Ferrule says:

    Tabs a la QTTabBar. Please. Everything else is just fluff.

    I quite agree with the suggestion to have a Power User view.

  637. Robert says:…/Microsoft_ribbonizes_Windows_8_file_manager

    After reading this and Microsoft is saying there will be no fallback to the traditional menus, it looks as if I will be on Windows 7 until the absolute bitter end.  That Ribbon is terrible.  I am sorry.  This is a AVGN "what were they thinking?" moment here.  Again, it was not broken.  Fix is NOT needed.

  638. Context menus says:

    There's a reason so many users use the context menu….it's quick and they like it.  It makes no sense to say it's the most used way then go into a whole article about icons and tool-bars.  For me, using context menus in Explorer is so 2nd nature that I don't even think about.

    More and more I'm seeing MS try to make Windows easier for novices.  That's a great idea, but it ultimately frustrates me, someone whose used Windows since 3.1.  Couldn't you make 2 versions of Windows Explorer (a "simple" mode and an "advanced Mode") so that we could choose which one to live in???

  639. Ryan says:

    why would anyone bring the "up" button back when you can quickly choose where to go in the address bar?

  640. Adam Koncz says:

    Haven't you learned from the epic failure of IE 8. Make it simple. Make it clean.

    It is great that you care about heritage, but that is what make you lose the competition. Do something innovative.

  641. XXX says:

    …. HATE IT! hated ribbon since it was made… Windows XP is and will always be simply the best…

    IF i do end up getting a new windows OS im totally gonna pirate it cause it's shitware and not worth the price…

  642. I like the QAT customization! says:

    I really like the QAT customization!  Great idea!!  Thanks for letting us minimize the ribbon so it stays out of our way unless we want to see it.

  643. Zaxuhe says:

    Oh great more ram usage even from folders ¬¬

  644. Agree on a poweruser feature! This version clearly (to me) demonstrates when technical people are designing a GUI for non-techies. It fails. Why would a normal user wants so many buttons? What was wrong with just 2 panes where you could drag n drop between them? The ribbon also looks like it is designed for working with a mouse, is I was MS, I would worry about a good touch interface… just my 2 cents

  645. says:

    Now that we discuss Explorer… why is window theming of menus disabled if there is an owner-draw menu item???

    There is not a single logical reason why menus have to look ugly. How I draw my menu item is my own business.

  646. TAS says:

    I always tend to give positive critics towards Microsoft products. But this? This is very very big bullshit you are doing.

  647. RichardC says:

    Windows XP configured for productivity (i.e. configured like Windows 2000) 35 files:…/60443267.jpg

    We have a winner!  Pretty much everything that's on the ribbon can be achieved faster with shortcut keys or the right click menu so it's nothing but a hideous waste of space.

    The wall that's covered in pictures in the background of the video makes it quite clear that the Windows UI design team have no idea how to organise information and present it in a structured manner that allows for easy access.  The ribbon is exactly like that wall, with variably sized crap plastered randomly all over the place.

    Any chance of a second desktop environment focused on productivity instead of catering for retards?  Any chance of you ever listening to your users and giving them what they want instead of dictating to them how they should use their PC?

  648. I love Ribbon  but I prefer  tabs for folders on Explorer like to QTTABBAR (…/qttabbar)  for Windows XP

  649. I love Ribbon  but I prefer  tabs for folders on Explorer like to QTTABBAR (…/qttabbar)  for Windows XP

  650. I love the "Copy Path" clipboard function. Can we also have "Copy File Name" as well? Both are highly useful; as in multiple times per average day.

  651. I love the "Copy Path" clipboard function. Can we also have "Copy File Name" as well? Both are highly useful; as in multiple times per average day.

  652. Seriously? says:

    Laurie Voss summarized my initial thoughts pretty well:…/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a

  653. Phil says:

    I *despise* the ribbon!!  I am not a luddite, but really.. it was *so* much easier to find things on the old style drop-down menus…. really it was!

  654. CJS says:

    The Ribbon simply doesn't work. Why are Microsoft championing this awful control ?

    The Ribbon was used to poor effect in Office and has subsequently been used in places where it really does not apply, it looks like Microsoft are a one trick pony. There are enough employee's in Microsoft to be inventive so give us something new and innovative and don't re-hash poorly executed idea's where they don't fit.

  655. ribbon says:

    The ribbon is the most unattractive, illogical, complicated, unintuitive thing I've ever seen.

    Especially the label 'Home'. It makes me laugh.

  656. Chris says:

    Could you also includ Copy Folder Path into the Ribbon?

  657. wtf says:

    wtf? this is the most convoluted piece of shite. no wonder i switched to mac os x.

  658. lacon says:

    looks crazy and, at my point of view, useless.

  659. This is the Photoshoped image from the original one in this post and  re-inspired using Office 2010 Ribbon style to deliver the cleaner and better look for the already-cluttered Windows 8 explorer. Hope this style's not only for explorer but also for existing apps like word pad, paint, next windows live essential etc…

    Here is the image:…/ribbon001.jpg

  660. Roger says:

    Please allow the favorites to be pinned so they never scroll out of view. I hate having to futz around trying to get my Desktop in view so I can move/copy to it.

  661. Gutenbyte (Webdesign Lueneburg) says:

    I appreciate this design, and i'm sure you can shrink buttonsize or/and amount of buttons.

  662. says:

    The ribbon may have some benefits – they are hidden to me. I am not a power user and usually find my way around myself. Menu trees are ok – they have even been better before Office XP. Why ? Because I generally tend to need waiting time before the full menu appears.

    Maybe MS needs to make people more aware of the many possibilities of its programs, but leave personalization and customization as option for people.

    I am very happy with still being able to work with Office 2003 in my job, once I have seen the ribbon desaster on a 1024×768 laptop screen a few years ago. And – at that time – no option to get this ribbon away without help of third party software ???!!!

    I also develop MS access applications as part of my job – the ribbon surface would interfere with my own "UI" on forms.

    The browser Firefox currently follows a minimization path concerning menus – MS forces fixed ribbon area ????? I do not get it ????

  663. Josh Gordon says:

    FINALLY the up button returns! Thank you!

  664. Robert4WPF says:

    What is up with the comments?  I've had two different comments not show up after Posting.  I spent a lot of time on them; I should have typed it in Word first and copied them over I guess.

  665. @nowuniverse – While that looks better it doesn't take away from the face that the ribbon shouldn't be there in the first place. It has its place in Office, not in Explorer. Also what's the point, leaked images of Office 14 show a different revision of the ribbon control so instantly it'll be out of date because seemingly the Office team won't share.

    Btw why isn't anyone from Microsoft addressing the concerns? The two-way blog has gone decidedly quiet.

  666. Eric says:

    I think you have such amazing new feeatures and etc. But I'm still not sure about the new interface with tiles you showed before. Are you gonna show us more? I cant imagine about how's this related to the new interface.

  667. Now see the second version of my reinspired photoshop of what windows 8 explorer should be, and do you guys notice 4 changes from the original one of the team?  Cleaner, glassier, less clutter, gain one more file space in view while windows size is even shorter than the original one.

    Here is image:…/ribbon002.jpg

  668. Pistoleiro says:

    Now you just need an easy way to change the color on the control panel, because this blue baby is ugly.

  669. Love the ribbon UI! keep it up guys. Now I have a bit of a suggestion about the snap feature in windows 8. Perhaps you could have a corner snap feature witch will allow you to have a window take up 1/4 of your screen when you drag it into the corner. I tend to need to have more than two windows visible at once, and i find my self manually adjusting a couple of windows in order to fit another into view.

    And on the topic of dividing screen real estate, perhaps you can include a add column/row  feature into the explorer. This will allow people to have multiple locations open in one explorer window.

    E.g. Concept…/colume%20UI%20disigne%20basic.png

    I figured that the active column could be maid more visible by reducing the alpha of the icons in the inactive panels. As you can see this would be very efficient, and i think it would add a very nice feel to the explorer.

  670. Ui guru says:

    will Explorer 8 still be unable to globally set, say, file views to 'details'  and why oh why are they still hiding default file extensions .. lets talk security here… anyone ?

  671. Dominic says:

    When I click a file (any common type) it should pull up a tab that allows me to work with that file.  Pictures can pull a tab from photo gallery, documents; wordpad etc…

  672. Dominic says:

    When I click a file (any common type) it should pull up a tab that allows me to work with that file.  Pictures can pull a tab from photo gallery, documents; wordpad etc…

  673. Daniel says:

    Hello to all,

    i don't know if someone already mentioned it, but why is the button top left called "File" and not "Folder". I mean the entries in that menu is made for folders and not for files, isn't it?

    Was I the first one who noticed that?

  674. Mary Branscombe says:

    "Change Paste button to be left of Copy. Usability study says make more common things closer to the left and then it's also in the same place as Office for us that suffer from severe cases of muscle memory. :)"

    Big +1 on matching more of the Office ribbon layout/style for consistency (per my expectation that as usual we're not seeing the final interface styling at this stage).

    Also, since you've made my two most-used Explorer tasks much easier with this, could you confirm that the option to turn on checkbox select is still there? holding down the Ctrl key for complex multiselect is tiring, unergonomic and errorprone and checkboxes work perfectly

  675. Mary Branscombe says:

    "Change Paste button to be left of Copy. Usability study says make more common things closer to the left and then it's also in the same place as Office for us that suffer from severe cases of muscle memory. :)"

    Big +1 on matching more of the Office ribbon layout/style for consistency (per my expectation that as usual we're not seeing the final interface styling at this stage).

    Also, since you've made my two most-used Explorer tasks much easier with this, could you confirm that the option to turn on checkbox select is still there? holding down the Ctrl key for complex multiselect is tiring, unergonomic and errorprone and checkboxes work perfectly

  676. Mary Branscombe says:

    "Change Paste button to be left of Copy. Usability study says make more common things closer to the left and then it's also in the same place as Office for us that suffer from severe cases of muscle memory. :)"

    Big +1 on matching more of the Office ribbon layout/style for consistency (per my expectation that as usual we're not seeing the final interface styling at this stage).

    Also, since you've made my two most-used Explorer tasks much easier with this, could you confirm that the option to turn on checkbox select is still there? holding down the Ctrl key for complex multiselect is tiring, unergonomic and errorprone and checkboxes work perfectly

  677. Just Alex says:

    Are you mad, guys? You want me to browse folders through Word or Excel? Are you kidding? No way, I moving to Ubuntu.

  678. Test says:

    Ribbon will make more people to switch to other OS. The ribbon is the worst thing that MS has come up so far.

    Thanks you MS for alienating your users.

  679. Dear Microsoft,

    If Windows 8 is meant to be a redesign, from the ground up then I believe your initial paradigm is flawed:

    1. Optimize Explorer for file management tasks.

    2. Create a streamlined command experience.

    3. Respect Explorer’s heritage.

    Firstly, Rule #2 should be Rule #1.  Furthermore, it should be reworded so that it is not a goal, but a standard.

    Something like:  

    Windows Explorer is a smooth, user friendly way of navigating files at the tip of your fingertips  -or-

    Windows Explorer allows you full control the files & content of your device

    These statements become a DESIGN paradigm that allows standards to be further refined for devices that Windows 8 will be loaded in.

    A Table PC THESE DAYS is about smooth flowing windows/avatars/icons that have smooth transitions that are futuristic and, dare I say it, "magical".  You cannot ignore 4.7 million users in the other camp – alot of these users are non-technical people who do not want to be exposed to all 200 commands that you can do with a File Manager.   Your research already tells you that some buttons are not being used, and yet a significant number of your commands are being invoked by a context sensitive menu!!!

    This tells you that users want things done at their finger tips, let alone their mouse pointer/right click.

    Wny would you then add significant geographic realestate between where they are positioned and what they have to do?

    If I was a young boy wizard, I would be able to command my files by holding my magic wand… not having to drop my wand and go to a large, cluttered ribbon to search for a menu of buttons that MAY do the trick.

    You are all forgetting the User Experience from a non-technical point standpoint.

    The latest UI for Windows 8 looks superb… on tablets and smartphones, this will be done by fingers.  Why on earth then would you be designing interfaces where you must move your hand from one point to another?  Has your recent tablet innovation where you a keyboard split for left & right thumb operation not taught you anything about the ergonomics of User Input?

    Rule #2 can be about optimising the Explorer commands.  Your discussion paints the picture that significant work has been done on this part.  This is engineering and it seems to be where you all excel and focus your efforts.  But you must marry this with design – design is what makes your competitors more competitive.  And in that regard, your Rule #3 should be completely discarded.

    Your heritage is to the future users of Tablets and Smart Devices.  These are not devices that are going to have menus for people to discover function.  The device IS the function, so the choices should be so intuitive that the feature within reach of fingertips – not the ability to translate syntax/context from an icon/button or an arrangement thereof.


    The movie, Minority Report has been a landmark film showcasing alot of technology characteristics well before its time.  Handswips and gestures being the most memorable.

    If Windows 8 is truly going to offer a wonderful Windows experience on a tablet form factor, then the menus should be devised around that hand or index/middle finger/thumb combination.  


    Explorer Opens from generic icons for drive/compute/search.  I am looking for an Excel spreadsheet.  I know where it is.

    I hover over the Compure Icon with a Closed pinch action.  I expand my fingers and it opens up a Window with predefined folders, My Documents being one of them.  I point/press this folder and previously opened windows disappear and full screen shows me the contents of My Documents.

    The spreadsheet has sales targets for 5 executives but all are combined in one file.  I want to filter each spreadsheet just for 1 executive and save as 5 separate files.  I want to send a copy of the master file to my Manager.

    Copy:  Pointing with my finger on the Excel file icon, I wiggle it.  It produces a Circular Menu, colour coded.  It doesn't matter whether I release the touch or not, the menu stays.  I select COPY from the menu and it produces the second Copy With the File Name ready to Edit (not highlighted).

    Send:  I point to the file and the same circular menu comes up.  It has a Send function which I point to.  A fanned menu comes up with an email icon right next to my fingers.  I click on it.  Done

    Rename:  I again use the CONTEXT MENu to Copy.  A second Ring menu has an option for the number of copies, default to 1.  I point to this and swipe up.  It increases to 5.  I acknowledge by tapping the screen.  The menus disappear and the file is copied annotated with a "- 1.xlsx"

    I can't even begin to imagine how many ways you could trigger various menus from finger/mouse gestures.  But these ideas come from the fact that it is not confined from heritage methods or efficient engineering – it's about designing first from the user experience and how fun it can be to do mundane tasks such as File Management.

  680. Steve says:

    Yet again, this is loaded with fail.

    Keep trying, it makes you cute, but leave software development to the real coders.

    Now, go make a powerpoint of that 😀

  681. Dave Friedel says:

    The best innovation ever is the the "Up" button. It's annoying not having it in 7.  As a power user, I could care less about the ribbon.

  682. l_d_allan says:

    Please implement dual-pane viewers. This would be like the ancient, DOS-based XTree. I use the Explorer replacement PowerDesk, which hasn't been updated in a decade or so, simplly because it does a decent job of dual-panes.

    As a work-around with Win-7's Windows Explorer, I will often open two instances of WIndows Explorer, This works ok, but is yet another tedious step to do at start-up. Also, it can be difficult and a hassle to keep both visible when I have many windows open.

    Thanks for considering this.

    Or perhaps I don't know how to get Explorer into dual-mode? Or a good work-around? PEBKAC?

  683. @Mary Branscombe — Hi Mary.  Checkboxes still there and enabled by default when there is a pen or touch digitizer and you can turn them on the same way as always.

  684. Ravellar says:

    We need folder size column Please we beg of you

  685. Kuttyjoe says:

    After watching the video, all I can say is I love having features, but I'm never willing to sacrifice screen real estate.  The ribbon will probably serve novice computer users well but since I'm a production oriented computer user, I look for the fastest shortest quickest key command to do EVERYTHING.  If I have to mouse up to that giant ribbon bar thing, it's already failed for me.  I will disable it best I can.  And the way he demonstrated the shortcuts of first hitting alt, selecting a bar, then a letter should be called a "long cut".  Just using keys doesn't automatically make it a shortcut.  It's amazing how poor Microsoft is at UI Design.  

  686. Fred Williams says:

    Diddo Ravellar Folder size Column in Windows Explorer

  687. Dmitry says:

    DO NOT TRY to create OS both for tablet and PC. There is no way to provide good UX for both of them on one device. Can you see it by yourself in your videos?

    Also, I hope this ribbon UI can be turned off to free some RAM and get some speed.

  688. Richard says:

    I would love,love, love a folder size column in details view.

  689. Steve says:

    To l_d_allan,

    There's a free ware version. Having an extremely complex computer work life, I could not live without it. It does for Explorer what Firefox did for web browsing. Let's hope MS can catch up in a few decades. There is hope, win8 will support iso, something MS recently discovered existed.

  690. @nowuniverse

    your version looks really much better.

    @Steven Sinofsky

    will we ever have more than 16 overlay icons in the Explorer? Install dropbox and TSVN you are in trouble and some overlays are no longer shown. This sucks completely. Increase this limit please to 128.

  691. seltzdesign says:

    unbelievable. its like a post on how UI design DOESNT work.

    Its way too cluttered, contradictory and complicated. Just because i can see all the options i have doesnt make it any easier to use or understand them. My mum has just about got her head around copy & paste. She would never know which button does what. Those who do will know where to look for it or use shortcuts. 98% of people will get confused and overwhelmed.

    Have a read of John Maeda's book "The Laws of Simplicity" or any book on UI design and you will see why this will fail miserably. Do yourself a favour and stick with the Windows 7 one !!

  692. Klimax says:

    Comments for posts shows that no matter what you do somebody will be dissatisfied. One can observe three basic groups of posters – those who like,dislike and have no direct opiion(don't care that much)

    And their ideas are often wholly incompatible.

    As far as ribbon goes doesn't look bad and ability to minimize it is present…

  693. wr says:

    Only one of my 3 comments went through (not counting this way). If you (MS team) want to continue this "dialog" or just get all the comments, then this system must be optimized somehow..

    So i repeat. I see no "Map as network drive" option as well as "Show system files". Is it hidden somewhere in the Advanced options?

    For those bugging about space, you can put favorite buttons into Quick Access Toolbar, put it under the ribbon and then hide the ribbon. Should be another 4+ lines..

  694. anonolot says:…/this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a

    I agree with this guy. By your own research people that like computers DON'T like or use the command bar or the menu. SO WHY MAKE IT BIGGER?! I don't want Windows 8 if I'm forced to use that. Ugh.

  695. Ravellar says:

    Great job you guys! If you were to include tabs and or split views it would be unbeatable.

  696. dlite says:

    So your statistics show that 90% of the commands are given using context-menus and keyboard-shortcuts and your "Solution" is to increase the size of menus and buttons that next to no-one is using?

    How about removing _everything_ and moving even the address- and search-bars inside title-bar together with just the back – forward – up buttons?

  697. Mark S says:

    It's amazing that MS can get all of this fantastic data about usage, and so completely misinterpret it.

    7 of the top ten commands concern file management and only  two are available on the tool bar.

    That doesn't mean anyone wants the other 5 on the tool bar!  When you are manipulating files, you want the mouse, the selections, the commands, and your attention on the files, NOT THE TOOLBAR … that's why people use the context menu (as the data clearly shows).

    So instead, the toolbar is now a command bar, takes up way to much real estate, and is so packed with icons that it is impossible to navigate.  A simple menu bar with drop down menus is much better.

  698. Mark S says:

    It's amazing that MS can get all of this fantastic data about usage, and so completely misinterpret it.

    7 of the top ten commands concern file management and only  two are available on the tool bar.

    That doesn't mean anyone wants the other 5 on the tool bar!  When you are manipulating files, you want the mouse, the selections, the commands, and your attention on the files, NOT THE TOOLBAR … that's why people use the context menu (as the data clearly shows).

    So instead, the toolbar is now a command bar, takes up way to much real estate, and is so packed with icons that it is impossible to navigate.  A simple menu bar with drop down menus is much better.

  699. Kjell says:

    2011 and ribbons are still a bad idea.

  700. @Steven – Are you seriously going to ignore every comment and only answer to Mary Branscombe because she's a journo?

  701. Jason says:

    Way to make it mega complicated. Far out.

  702. Alex says:

    Also, and this is really simple: default to a list view with the file properties showing. Look how much time people spend drilling down to file properties. Answer: show the file properties.

  703. @thenonhacker

    Good job with the color change you've made on the ribbon.

    For those who have not seen the change:

    – Before:

    – After:

    What I would do additionally:

    – Make the scroll bar stand out less, making it smoother looking and lighter in color (maybe add a touch of transparency to it as well).

    – Take away the bluish glow on top of the window all together, making the whole explorer window in a smooth consistent color.

    – Update/change the icon set used to more streamlined. For example change the big red 'delete sign' to a trash can image. Don't go for the icon set from Windows XP though. 🙂

    – Start changing the 'old ribbon style' to Metro look.

    Basically, (imo) the new 'Ribbon Explorer' should change its look from present 'Office 2007' type to a blend of 'Office 2010 + Metro' look, with more emphasis on Metro elements (consistency of icons and buttons in Windows throughout the GUI should be taken into account).

    Get some designers from Office 2010 and Metro UI to bring some ideas to the table. And, hopefully, let the programmers make it possible to implement an easy way to personalize/colorize/customize the UI as well (the more the better).

    Office 2010 showed that ribbon can be attractive (a definite improvement in looks in my eyes). The ribbon used in Windows 8 could be or a ‘revision v3’, bringing even more to the table design & functionality wise.

    As for touch orientation approach:

    – The top of the ribbon (tabs etc.) could be horizontally scrollable for easier reach if needed (for example on tablets). Just like one have scrollable widgets on a mobile platform. Dolphin Browser HD ( ) also has some handy features related to working with touch interface on a limited size screen.

    – I hardly imagine a person managing hundreds of files on a touch surface (most likely it would be a 10” tablet). Tablet would need a more compact/basic explorer. ‘Scalable interface’ to a degree could help here too I guess. I think ES File Explorer (…/es-file-explorer.html) is a good example of pretty efficient design. In no way it is ideal; however one can easily do all the things necessary on a small device with a 4” screen size.

    – That is, I would imagine some form of ‘light/full’ mode switch could be implemented into Explorer ribbon to switch between a full blown customizable desktop version, and a very light and basic ‘tablet’ version which would be touch friendly and have only the most available features at hand (maybe with a possibility to swipe for example to the right on the ‘navigation panel’ which would lead to more options/bottoms exposed).

    – The UI of a ‘full’ Explorer view could have the same Metro Style as a ‘tablet view’ and as a ‘compact view’ when the ribbon is just minimized.

    ‘Ribbon bashers’ please be more productive and bring valuable content to the table. Also, try to stay open and honest with yourselves.

    Please, tell me, how on Earth is a boring looking outdated classic menu in Office 2003 can be more user friendly or faster to work with than ribbon in Office 2010, taken into account that every single bottom can be placed in it where you want it to be, with every single tab having your chosen name/position etc. You could literally create a ‘main tab’(s) with ‘tool tabs’ that you use specifically for a particular task/work or just on daily basis (that would otherwise be all over the classic menu) and hide the rest of the stuff completely. That is – all the functions you use will be right there always staring at you or be maximum one click away.

    Ribbon can be just as good for the Explorer as it is for Office 2010, of course one need to optimize it and shape it taking other considerations into account (such as overall GUI of the OS, Metro UI etc.). That’s what people are trying to do here.

    And yes, one more thing – please stop leaving in a cave. 🙂

    If you are happy with the way your room/flat or house look like – well, leave it as it is. If you are happy with Windows XP more then you are with Windows 7 – maybe you should just stay with XP? If you do want to change something then most likely there will be some learning curve weather you want it or not (unless you are quite good with intuitive knowing).

    I bet I could show any person using Windows XP how I could do the same thing at least as efficient or better/faster/easier in Windows 7 in about 90% of all the possible tasks at hand. Of course there will be tons of things that are simply not possible with XP in the same time. Just give a try to some educational video (such as ‘Windows 7 Essential Training’ from and I bet you would be at least curious to do a switch (again, don’t fix if it is not broken for you – nobody is pushing you anywhere).

    Read the reviews and look around – it is no coincidence that Windows 7 is considered by most (who actually used it) – the best ever OS created by Microsoft. Of course it is nowhere near perfect.

    We all hope Windows 8 will be near perfect.  Right now it is not the best time to understand why and how Windows 7 is better than Windows XP, it is time to help making the successor of Windows 7 to shape in the best possible way, bringing all the best from the past versions of OS, improving everything that is possible and slamming some new eye candy onto it (and all this while taking into account overall IT evolution, new form factors, cloud computing etc.).

    Keep this in mind and please, stay on topic. 🙂

  704. Ehsan says:

    Win 8 Team

    Do you find this ribbon explorer attractive and .. delightful ??

  705. sekhar padikkal says:

    @steven please think about the ribbon structure of office 2010.. dont save it for windows 9!!

  706. I just want to ask, "Does this new GUI play well in portrait mode?"

    I am in the same boat as @Chikn.  At home I have two PCs with two 22" widescreen monitors each.  At the office my workstation has three 24" widescreen monitors.  All of my monitors are standing on end in portrait mode.  1200 X 1920 resolution.  I have found this to be extremely useful for every situation except video playback.  I get to use more of my screen when viewing webpages, file documents etc.  When I use my tablet pc I usually keep it in portrait mode as well.  

    I would like to make a request on behalf of us portrait mode users.  In some future version of windows could you please make it easier to snap a window to the top and bottom half of a screen?  With windows 7 you can press Start – Right or Left arrow to snap the windows to the left and right of the screen.  However when you press Start – Up or Down arrow it will maximize restore or minimize.  I think snap up/down would be nice.  Even if it is similar to the current Start – Shift – Up or Down Arrow commands.  Perhaps Start – Ctrl- Up or Down Arrow to snap to top and bottom.  I don’t know.  You are the pros I just want to make the request.

  707. Just found the perfect description what would help me a ton to work faster with Explorer from Kyle R.:

    -> The uselessness of the preview panel. 99% of the time it's just taking up tons of space while offering the helpful 'No preview available' message. This leaves 'normal' users operating files in a tiny space where they are constantly horizontally and vertically scrolling. Many of the users I run into at work that have this pane open have a tiny space to actually see the file list, and just leave it that way because 'they don't know how it got there' anyway.

    While I would LOVE for W8 to implement the superior OSX style preview with the 'spacebar' key where you actually get a large preview when requested that provides the ability to display and read though almost everything imaginable, I know there is about zero percent chance of that happening. At least hide the small useless preview pane automatically if it can't do anything with the file. OSX's file management is terrible on just about every count, but there is no denying that the preview program is amazing. <-

    Additionally please finally preview those damn files that everyone as a designer or programmer needs, like OS X does out of the box: PSD, PDF, AI, PS – PHP, HTML, CSS, …!

    And also backup/index every file properly – just because you don't know a file extension doesn't mean that you shouldn't include them in full text in Windows Search and Windows Backup!

  708. And yes, I would LOVE for W8 to implement the superior OSX style preview with the 'spacebar' key where you actually get a large preview when requested that provides the ability to display and read though almost everything imaginable. There is no better way to do it – preview pane is just what it is – PAIN!

  709. Ribbon needs a little tweak says:

    If I open Home commands in ribbon, it should be possible to go to Share, and to View without clicking a mouse just by mouse overing them.

    This is the biggest mistake of the ribbon in Office, that you need to click on each one of the ribbon groups headings.

  710. Ravellar says:

    To Kjell who wrote “2011 and ribbons are still a bad idea.”

    Criticism is fine, but pointing out flaws without a solution is just crying 

  711. Tarek says:

    AMAZING! can't wait for Windows 8

  712. Nicco says:

    Not to be pessimistic but I really hope there is a way to turn off the file explorer ribbons for power users, that looks like a terrible mess that I'll never use.

  713. File search dialog says:

    Although Ribbon is quite controversial feature, I like it, especially after seeing the video.

    BUT – please fix the file search feature! It's almost unusable slow, even on a fast computer with Core-i7 and SSD. I use for file search Total Commander (it's faster even without using Windows indexing!) and in most cases I can find the requested file faster either using TC, or by remembering, where it was 🙂

    It's crucial to support partial file name search, even part in the middle of the file name, AND fast search in file content – I got for example very large Visual Studio project and I'm looking for all source files containing "MyFileSortHelper".

    Fix file search and I'm gonna buy Windows 8 Ultimate for sure 🙂 … after testing it in beta of course 😉

  714. ljury says:

    really?, using space for thing's that th users do really fast with keyboard shortcuts?, ¿why!?…

    really don't know what stuff to make windows 8 more interesting? :/?

  715. Jon says:

    I was hoping for something far more sophisticated in terms of folderand file management – the word ‘Explorer’ suggests something more exciting than a list of folders and files – we should have a 3D layered folder inspection and management system with a way to group and manipulate folders or files that is revolutionary which considerably speeds up workflow – looks like most of your developers are just sticking to the normal boring stuff and you will rely on a simple touch based interface ‘add on’ to justify selling the next version, am I wrong? prove it!

  716. Lisa Grant says:

    Great job you guys! If you were to include tabs and or split views it would be unbeatable.

    I would personally thank each and everyone of you if there were a folder size colomn