Windows 8: The all-new Windows Explorer

Windows explorer is one of the most fundamental tools that has undergone several changes since the first version of Windows was released. It is one of the most widely used desktop tools and hence Microsoft has ensured that explorer is revamped fully in Windows 8 with the new ribbon interface.

Objectives of the new Windows explorer

  • Provide optimized file management: Since 80% of the commands are related to file management tasks, the common commands should be easily accessible by the end user.
  • Prioritize frequently used commands: Ensure that the most used commands are easily accessible at the right time. Group the commands logically to ensure the end user is not confused.
  • Backward compatibility: Ensure that the explorer is still consistent with the explorer developed during the Windows XP period.

The Ribbon Interface

The Ribbon interface in Windows 8 explorer is analogous to the Microsoft Office based ribbon. It consists of a menu and some core tabs that appear along with contextual tabs. The core tabs are always visible and the contextual tabs allow the user to perform actions based on the type of object they have selected. The system is capable of exposing 200 commands without nested pop-ups or dialog boxes or menus.

Features of Ribbon interface

  • Display the most important commands in a visually accessible location.
  • The most used commands of copy, paste, delete, properties and so on are given a prominent location in the ribbon.
  • Users can group commands and view details with expanded tooltips and live previews.
  • Learning curve for new users is largely reduced due to the fact that all applications like Office, Paint and Windows Live Essentials use the same ribbon interface.
  • Every command in the ribbon has an associated keyboard shortcut.

Home tab

Copy, Paste, Delete, Rename, Properties and Cut are some of the major functions used over 80% of the time by end users.

Share tab

Sharing files with others is the primary function of all the controls placed within the Share tab. You can email recipients by creating a zip file, burn data on optical disks and print/fax documents.

View tab

As the name suggests, View tab is all about how your files are displayed as icons and how much details should be presented along with the file.  A live preview gallery is included to choose icon and file display changes accordingly in preview mode. The group by and sort by commands enable organization of files. To get a better view at file and folder details, the Add Columns and Size all columns to fit can be used.

The folder options in previous versions of Windows have been enhanced using the Show/Hide group that enables you to show or hide file extensions by selecting the file name extensions checkbox. The lists of hidden files are displayed easily using the hidden items check box.

Now that you have seen the Windows 8 Explorer, what do you think about it? Are you going to complain against it since it uses a relatively new interface or embrace technology as it changes.

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

Related Posts

A picture that reveals that 1.24% of Surface owners are already using the Surface Go....

Mark your calendars, folks! Microsoft, at its briefing at the IFA 2017 conference...

Microsoft late last evening released a new Windows 10 Redstone 3 preview version for...

  1. I’m gonna embrace it! I feel that I would be more organized with most functions in front of me (on home tab) and the other tabs close by. I can’t wait to ditch my current windows explorer (Vista).

  2.  Windows Explorer provides a graphical interface for accessing files.It has been part of windows since windows 95 and is still a key utility in modern releases of windows..and lets you move, delete, rename and create files and folders..

Leave a Reply