Windows 11 build 23475 reveals a redesigned File Explorer with a cleaner interface and intelligent address bar

Plus, introduces native controls for RGB peripherals, making it easier to customize your lights.
Jun 8, 2023, 10:59 AM UTC
10 mins read
Windows 11 build 23475 reveals a redesigned File Explorer with a cleaner interface and intelligent address bar
Modernized File Explorer Home. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is ushering in a new era of design with Windows 11, and the latest insider preview build 23475 reveal significant updates to the beloved File Explorer. Leveraging the power of Microsoft’s WinUI 3.x technology, the File Explorer now sports a more contemporary look, reminiscent of a web browser. With a unified navigation, address bar, and search bar, conveniently located in the same row just below the tabs, users will find enhanced usability and a streamlined interface.

One of the noticeable changes in the File Explorer is the relocation of the command bar. In this redesign, Microsoft has positioned it below the address bar, resulting in a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing interface. By refining the command bar placement, Microsoft aims to optimize user workflows and provide a seamless File Explorer experience. This change harmonizes the overall design language of Windows 11, ensuring consistency throughout the operating system.

The address bar, a fundamental component of File Explorer, has also received substantial improvements. It now adapts intelligently based on whether users are navigating local or cloud-based directories. This intelligent behavior brings added convenience and efficiency, as the address bar presents relevant options tailored to the user’s context. For instance, when exploring a OneDrive folder, users can seamlessly access features such as OneDrive backup directly from the address bar.

Windows 11 build 23475 reveals a redesigned File Explorer with a cleaner interface and intelligent address bar
Modernized address bar in File Explorer with OneDrive sync and quota flyout. (Image credit: Microsoft)

In addition to the File Explorer updates, Windows 11 build 23475 introduces native controls for RGB peripherals, including keyboards, mice, and monitors. This new functionality eliminates the need for third-party tools, empowering users to configure basic features like customizing the color of their lights directly within the Windows Settings app. Microsoft’s dedication to enhancing the user experience extends beyond the interface itself and permeates into the ecosystem of peripherals, enabling seamless customization and personalization.

Changelog of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23475

  • Modernized File Explorer Home and Address Bar
    • Now that File Explorer is powered by Windows App SDK, we are introducing a modernized File Explorer Home powered by WinUIRecommended files for users signed into Windows with an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account will be displayed as a carousel and support file thumbnails which is coming soon. Quick Access folders (available by default for users signed into Windows with a Microsoft account), Favorites, and Recent also bring in an updated experience with WinUI.
    • We are also introducing a modernized address bar and search box to File Explorer. The new address bar intelligently recognizes local vs. cloud folders with built-in status. For OneDrive users, you’ll notice the address bar now contains your OneDrive sync status and quota flyout.
  • Dynamic Lighting
    • Dynamic Lighting provides Windows users and developers with native control of Lighting Devices implementing the open HID LampArray standard. By adopting an open standard, and by working with our OEM and ODM partners, Microsoft seeks to improve the RGB device and software ecosystem for users by increasing interoperability of devices and apps. Included are APIs for Windows apps to control devices from the background and foreground, as well as a page in Windows Settings for users to customize how their devices behave.
    • To control and configure a HID LampArray device at both the per-device and all-device level, navigate to the new Dynamic Lighting page in Settings > Personalization > Dynamic Lighting.
  • Changes and Improvements
    • [General]
      • The feature where we now detect if the user is interacting with toasts or not and provide a suggestion to turn the toast banners off for such apps that began rolling out with Build 23466 is now available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel.
    • [Emoji]
      • The Unicode Emoji 15 is beginning to roll out to Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. Users will now be able to see, search for and insert new emoji from the emoji panel. Here are a few of our Emoji 15 designs which include more hearts, animals and one new smiley face.
  • Fixes
    • [Taskbar & System Tray]
      • Fixed an issue where the taskbar may not have shown the correct apps when using multiple desktops.
    • [Search on the Taskbar]
      • Fixed the issue where Narrator customers were unable to navigate down the left side panel of the search flyout.
    • [Start menu]
      • Fixed an issue where when using a Japanese display language, sometimes apps with names written in kanji would all show at the bottom of the all apps list, rather than displayed alongside hiragana and katakana app names.
    • [Notifications]
      • Fixed an issue where certain notifications were leading to an explorer.exe crash.
    • [Input]
      • We’re rolling out the fix for an issue where Korean touch keyboard sometimes finalizes characters unexpectedly in the search flyout on the taskbar.
    • [Backup and Restore]
      • Backups of a PC that was set up using a restore will now show up in subsequent restores.
      • Restore of solid color desktop backgrounds are now supported.
    • [Other]
      • Fixed issues that were causing voice access commands for moving settings sliders and selecting things on the taskbar to fail.
  • Known issues
    • [Dev Drive]
      • On a reboot, additional filters beyond AV might be attached to your Dev Drive. To check what filters are attached, please run ‘fsutil devdrv query <driveletter>’ in Windows PowerShell. If you are seeing more than your AV filters, you can run ‘fsutil volume dismount <driveletter>’ and then ‘fsutil devdrv query <driveletter>’. After those steps, you should only see your AV filters.
    • [Search on the Taskbar]
      • Navigating the search flyout on the taskbar with the keyboard arrow keys will not work as expected.
      • Text scaling may not work in the search flyout.
    • [File Explorer]
      • Insiders may experience a File Explorer crash when dragging the scroll bar or attempting to close the window during an extended file-loading process.
      • Thumbnail loading performance in Gallery for dehydrated cloud files and memory usage in large collections are known issues we are focused on improving. Please capture Performance traces in Feedback Hub for any performance-related issues. Rebuilding your Indexer can help if thumbnails are missing for cloud files; Search for “Indexing Options” and look in Advanced settings to find the rebuild tool.
    • Insiders who have the modernized File Explorer Home that began rolling out with Build 23475:
      • [NEW] File Type icons are displayed in place of file thumbnails for Recommended section (applicable to Enterprise users).
      • [NEW] Insiders signed in with an AAD account and try to navigate the Recommended section on File Explorer Home with the tab key on the keyboard may experience an explorer.exe crash.
      • [NEW] When navigating from another group to the Recommended section using a keyboard, focus does not appear on the group header or files appropriately.
      • [NEW] Files display file extensions with the Show file extensions setting disabled.
      • [NEW] Sync status icons for files backing up to a storage provider are not reliably displayed.
      • [NEW] In case of an authentication error on File Explorer Home, the ‘Please Sign-in’ button appears but clicking on it does not pop-up the authentication dialog.
    • Insiders who have the modernized File Explorer address bar that began rolling out with Build 23475:
      • [NEW] Windows Insiders may notice missing craftmanship polish with the modernized address bar and search box. The team greatly appreciates the use of Feedback Hub to help call out important details to address.
      • [NEW] Users might experience lost keyboard focus and missing keyboard shortcuts. The team implemented improved tabbing with keyboard shortcuts that will be available soon.
    • Insiders will have issues with the following commands on recommended files in File Explorer that began rolling out with Build 23403:
      • Clicking on the Share command will currently bring up the Windows share sheet (non-OneDrive).
    • [Notifications]
      • The copy button for quickly copying two-factor authentication (2FA) codes in notification toasts (first introduced in Build 23403) is currently not working in this build. A fix is coming in a future flight.
    • [Dynamic Lighting]
      • [NEW] On first boot after installing this build and connecting a device, the “Use Dynamic Lighting on my devices” toggle is off in Settings. Device LEDs may not turn on automatically. Turning this toggle on in the all-device Settings page and in the per-device page(s) should turn on your device’s LEDs. If this doesn’t work, try restarting your Windows PC again.
      • [NEW] All-device settings changes are not propagating to per-device Settings.
      • [NEW] Device icons are missing from the device cards in Settings.
      • [NEW] Switching user accounts can turn off device LEDs.
  • Microsoft Store Update
    • Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels running version 2305.1401.x.x of the Microsoft Store and higher will see the following improvements rolling out:
      • Install free apps and games from search results: The ability to install free apps and games from search results which began rolling out to Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channel at the end of March is rolling out to more Insiders starting today.
      • New designs for game and movie cards: Browsing the Microsoft Store is more delightful than ever with our new designs for game and movie cards. The cards give more room for artwork, adding more color to your experience and making it easier for you to spot your next favorite product.

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