Windows 11 version 22H2 includes a new Explorer sidebar design and layout that gives users more control over the links that appear in the File Explorer sidebar.
Microsoft this week released a new Windows 11 Insider build with several File Explorer improvements. Ashwin Highlighted file explorer interface with tabs alreadythat many users have been waiting for.
Another area of File Explorer that has been improved in the build is the File Manager sidebar. The sidebar lists links to various storage locations, including all mounted and mapped partitions, optical drives, quick access links, OneDrive, network shares, and home folders.
The first thing you might notice is that Microsoft added separators to better distinguish sidebar groups from one another. There’s also a new launch section at the very top with a link to Microsoft’s OneDrive file hosting and syncing service below it. OneDrive is visible by default, even for local accounts and users who aren’t signed in to the OneDrive app.
Uninstalling the OneDrive app on the system will remove the OneDrive entry in the File Explorer sidebar. The home folders are listed under Start in Quick Access, and if you expand This PC, you’ll find that home folders are no longer listed in that group. This PC lists all mapped local drives, showing optical drives separately from hard drives.
Group titles such as quick access are no longer displayed. It’s unclear if these will be added in later versions or gone forever.
All user folders can be removed from the sidebar by right-clicking the item and selecting “Unpin from Quick Access”.
The ability to view libraries is still there. Right-click an empty spot in the sidebar and choose “Show Libraries” to add them. There you’ll find options to hide This PC and Network, and expand all folders in the sidebar or just the current folder.
Windows 11 adds a new desktop root entry to the sidebar when you select “Show all folders” in the right-click settings. All folders and links in the sidebar can be collapsed and displayed with a click on the arrow icon of the desktop root entry.
Our colleagues at the German tech location desk modder revealed that the change will be included in Windows 11 version 22H2, which Microsoft plans to release later this year. There’s still a small chance the change won’t be included, but it seems unlikely at this point.
Microsoft has significantly modified the File Explorer sidebar in the latest Windows 11 Insider build. The company removed the user folders from This PC and added group separators. Some users may be missing group titles as they no longer appear for all groups.
Now you: Are you using the File Explorer sidebar? How do you feel about the changes?