Windows 8: Windows Explorer improvements

Microsoft has just released a bit of information about improvements in Windows Explorer for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Before we get to the *new* let’s have a look at the old.

This is how things looked in the old days. Not much to look at, but more functional that typing commands at a command prompt!

Windows 3.1 brought with it improvements such as Drag and Drop.

Windows XP saw cosmetic changes that provided an overall improvement to the user experience.

Windows 7 was mostly cosmetic changes also. Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?

Not much has changed since Windows 3.1 other than visual improvements, however Microsoft has been hard at work analyzing telemetry data from hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Windows computers. Using this data they have been able to classify what commands are important, or used most by the end user. They found that the top 10 actions a user performs total over 81% of user activity.

Over the past several years Microsoft has been moving (slowly at times) many of their programs to an often chastised “ribbon” interface and that is the plan for explorer in Windows 8. Many will accept the change readily, others will adapt and move on, and a few will complain and find an alternative. We know, without a doubt, that MS will be using a ribbon interface, but you may not have considered the vast amount of research they’ve put into the design of the ribbon. Using the data above and more they have designed the ribbon to focus on the most used actions while not entirely forgetting the less used ones. I actualy like it!

Here is a graphic of the new explorer ribbon provided by Microsoft.

(click for full size)

Notice that they have indicated how often a particular command is used? Once you look at it for a few moments you can see that a tremendous amount of consideration has been put into button placement and end user experience. I’ll say it again, I like it!

Here is what the full window will look like.

I think it’s a nice step in the evolution of how we manage files. You can read the full article by Steven Sinofsky at the Building Windows 8 blog.

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About the Author

David Hartsock

Executive Editor/Owner/Admin of Daves Computer Tips and all-around good guy - Dave's interest in computers began in the early 1980's during the Apple II era. In the early 1990's the PC began to replace proprietary and mainframe devices in Dave's industry so he began to learn and experiment with the PC. Through DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and now Windows 10. Dave became the "go to" guy for friends, family, and coworkers with computer problems. Daves Computer Tips was born in 2006 in an effort to share these experiences with others in an easy to understand, plain English, form.


  1. What a tour through time! Even as old as a DOS machine seemed before anybody ever thought of a gigabyte or a gigahertz, they were pretty fast for what they were able to do. I still have a special place in my heart for XP since we got to know it so well, although I primarily use Windows 7 now. It sure would be nice if Microsoft brought back the Windows Repair option that XP had that you could run even when Windows would not boot to the Desktop. I hope to get a beta copy soon that I can run in my Virtual Machine to check it out.

  2. It is the search function in 7 that is broken. It just does not find some files! I really hope they fix this and cannot understand why there is no fix in 7 yet! e.g. create a file called xxxyyy.txt. Now search for yyy in that folder using the Explorer Search bar – it won’t find it!