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Windows 11 Insider update offers explorer tabs and new widgets

Windows 11 Insiders now have a chance to test out the highly anticipated explorer tabs and new taskbar widgets. If the innovations were already to be expected with the 22H2 update, distribution will only start in the Dev channel for the time being. As the Redmond company finalizes the “Sun Valley 2” update (22H2) in the Release Preview channel, insiders can see the first features of the “Sun Valley 3” patch (23H2) coming in the summer or fall of 2023 is expected in the Dev-channel inspect.

This also seems to include the new Explorer tabs, which experts had actually expected much earlier. Even in the Dev channel, these are currently not being distributed across the board with Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25136, but are only being made available to a certain number of insiders.

In addition to the basic function of opening multiple explorer tabs in a single window, the left navigation area also gets a revised layout. According to Microsoft, it should provide even easier access to pinned and frequently used folders (quick access) and allow for better integration of OneDrive cloud profiles. Factory-attached folders (e.g., downloads, images, documents, etc.) should also disappear from the “This PC” area to focus on the SSD and hard drive partitions and other important folders.

Dynamic widgets in the taskbar

Outside of the Explorer tabs, Microsoft is experimenting with new taskbar widgets that provide information about sporting events, stock prices, and breaking news. These are intended to occasionally replace the previous weather display for important events. If there is no interest in opening the underlying widget panel, the view will switch back to the weather.

It remains to be seen whether the attractiveness of the Windows 11 widgets, which are often criticized as redundant, can be increased in this way. If you’re interested in the new features and want to try them out for yourself, you can now download Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25136 from the Dev channel. An overview of additional bug fixes can be found in the blog post the Redmond.