Microsoft reveal Windows 8 Explorer changes

Microsoft reveal Windows 8 Explorer changes

Microsoft have released a new video and this time they are talking about upcoming changes being made to the Windows Explorer functionality…

They set out some new goals for this version of Explorer:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

As anyone who has been following Windows 8 development knows, the Ribbon UI has been greeted with Massive doses of skepticism online.

They address that.

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.

You can watch the full video here:

Some of the interesting parts of the article:

Stats on Command usage in Windows Explorer

Command Usage in Windows Explorer
Command Usage in Windows Explorer

As they say:

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.

A graphic of the new Explorer

New Windows 8 Explorer
New Windows 8 Explorer

The Home tab of the new ribbon

Home Tab
Home Tab

A new File Menu:

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.

New File menu
New File menu

and there a whole bunch of context dependent menus that show up etc..

Oh a couple more things..

Very informative graphic about the types of screen resolutions out there. You are probably reading this post on a wide screen monitor…

Screen resolutions
Screen resolutions

And they have brought back the UP button in Windows 8.

Up button Windows 8
Up button Windows 8

You can read the details at the Windows 8 Blog


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    • Rodney Jenkins
    • August 29, 2011

    Microsoft are doing a great job at communicating with their readers…

    • Ben
    • August 31, 2011

    PLEASE add this new Explorer to Windows 7 ASAP

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