Just a while back, Microsoft introduced File Explorer tabs in Windows 11 with KB5019509. This feature allows you to open multiple directories in a single Explorer window, but on different tabs, like Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.
A similar feature was first introduced in Windows 10 in 2017 with Windows Sets. However, that didn’t pan out, and Microsoft withdrew the feature. But with Windows 11, this feature has come to stay based on the feedback from Windows users.
That said, not everyone is a fan of the feature. Not only the tab functionality is currently faulty and has a few glitches, but not everyone is used to using tabs in explorer. Some would rather prefer the old-fashion individual windows for each directory.
If you would like to turn off the Explorer’s tab feature, continue reading.
Turn Off Tabs in File Explorer
Microsoft does not natively give you the option to disable File Explorer tabs. Therefore, you must use a third-party utility named ViveTool. ViveTool is a small utility designed to enable or disable features in the Windows operating system.
Perform the following steps to disable tabs in File Explorer:
Open GitHub and download the ViveTool Zip file by clicking on it.
Now extract the contents of the compressed, downloaded ZIP file.
Now run Command Prompt with elevated privileges and change the directory to the extracted ViveTool folder using the “CD /d” cmdlet followed by the complete path.
CD /d [PathToExtractedViveToolFolder]
Now run the following 2 commands one after the other to disable tabs in File Explorer.
vivetool /disable /id:37634385 vivetool /disable /id:36354489
Now restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
When the computer reboots, you can see that the tabs have been disabled, and all directories will now open in a new Explorer window. Moreover, the option to open a directory in a new tab will also have disappeared from the context menu, which was previously available.
You may now enjoy the older yet simpler File Explorer experience while preserving the rest of the modern features.
In the case you wish to re-enable File Explorer tabs, you can run the following cmdlets and restore the stock Windows 11 settings for File Explorer, and then restart the PC:
vivetool /enable /id:37634385 vivetool /enable /id:36354489
Running these cmdlets will bring File Explorer back to its original state.
Not everyone will fancy browsing different tabs instead of having multiple Explorer windows open and browsing all of them simultaneously. Therefore, the option to disable these tabs was needed, which ViveTool provides us with.
That said, we certainly hope that Microsoft also gives its users the option to choose whether they want tabs in File Explorer or not, so it can be enabled or disabled without having to download third-party utilities.