Microsoft is currently rolling out new File Explorer features through Insider Preview Build 23403 Windows 11 with a big focus on streamlining work.
One of the more interesting features of this package is File recommendations (opens in new tab). As the name suggests, the file explorer starts with suggestions which files you should open in the home tab. It seems that Microsoft made this tool for business users, at least initially. The tool will only recommend cloud files associated with a particular account, “owned by the user or shared with the user”. You must also be signed in to your Azure Active Directory account for it to work. In addition, the company limits the number of people who are currently allowed to try File Recommendations. Microsoft says it wants to monitor feedback closely “before it is passed on to everyone.”
Less restrictive are the new file explorer access keys. They are simple one-key shortcuts for ‘fast [executing] a command.” For example, pressing the “O” key will open a file, while pressing the “B” key will set it as your desktop wallpaper. To use this feature, you must first press a file in File Explorer, then press the menu key on your keyboard to bring up the access keys.If you don’t have a menu key, pressing Shift and F10 at the same time does the same thing.
Moving past File Explorer, the rest of the features affect other native Windows 11 apps, namely the language side of things. For starters, Live Captions will be available in more languages, including Japanese and French, as well as other English dialects such as Australian English. Speaking of which, the Voice Access app now supports those different dialects. When activating the app “you will be prompted to download a speech model” for a specific dialect. Microsoft has also redesigned Voice Access to make it more streamlined and easier to use. Each command now has a description that explains what it does, along with an example of how it can be used.
For the rest of the build, it’s all a collection of minor tweaks; nothing really important. Changes include a VPN icon that now appears in the system tray if you have one active, a new “quick copy” copy button [2FA] codes in notification[s]”, and some bug fixes. If this piques your interest, you can try out Preview Build 23403 by joining the Dev Channel of the Windows 11 Insider Program (opens in new tab).
It’s worth noting that Microsoft has been revising File Explorer for a while now. It’s not known exactly what it will have, but we have a few hints like File Explorer is being redesigned to make it easier to use. However, it will probably be a while before we see the final product. If you don’t feel like waiting until then, be sure to check out our list of the best file managers for windows.