How to fix File Explorer tabs missing in Windows 11?

Question

Issue: How to fix File Explorer tabs missing in Windows 11?

Hello, I've heard that in Windows 11 you can now have File Explorer tabs but I simply can't see them – they are not available for me. Please advise on how can retrieve them. Thanks.

Solved Answer

Microsoft has released the first feature update for Windows 11 version 22H2, also known as the 2022 Update in October. This update, delivered through a cumulative update for Windows 11, introduces a range of new features, including the highly anticipated File Explorer tabs. This feature has been teased by Microsoft for years and is now finally available to to the broad public with Windows 11.

This new feature looks and feels like tabs on any modern web browser and allows users to navigate through several different folders without having several windows opened at the same time, which makes this feature an extremely welcome addition to any user. File Explorer tabs should be available to everyone who installs the KB5019509 update.

Unfortunately, some users said that File Explorer tabs are missing from Windows 11, even though they claimed that they have the recent updates installed. In most cases, the issue lies within corrupted update or incorrectly installed update – this can be easily corrected in several ways, including reinstalling it.

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In some cases, the only way to resolve missing tabs in File Explorer is by using the bootable installation media and using the Upgrade option in the process. We provide more details below.

How to fix File Explorer tabs missing in Windows 11?

Method 1. Make sure all Windows updates are installed

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As mentioned, only users why have the most recent update installed that includes the feature can access File Explorer tabs. You might have missed the update or it might have failed before. If that's the case, running Windows update should resolve the situation:

  • Click Start and select Settings
  • Go to the Windows Update section
  • Click Check for updates and wait
  • Go to the Advanced options and install optional updates
  • Reboot your system.

Install the latest update

Method 2. Uninstall the most recent update

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You can try uninstalling the most recent update that did not include the desired features and then installing it again. Note that this option is only available if Windows saved the previous version files.

  • Open Settings and go to Windows Update
  • Select Update history and pick Uninstall updates
  • In Control Panel, make sure you sort all the updates by date
  • Select the KB5019509 update and click Uninstall at the top
  • Follow on-screen instructions to finalize the process
  • Restart Windows and then initiate the update process once more.

Uninstall update

Method 3. Use the in-place upgrade tool

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If the solutions above are not working for you, you can use Windows ISO to install all the latest Windows features. For that, you need to download the special tool from the official Microsoft website. Before proceeding, make sure you temporarily disable or uninstall a third-party antivirus and disconnect any unnecessary peripherals such as printers, scanners, or phones (leave the mouse and keyboard, of course).

  • Visit the official Microsoft website and download the Windows installation media
  • Double-click the installer and select Yes when UAC shows up
  • Agree to the terms and click Next
  • Select Upgrade this PC now and select Next
  • Windows will now download all the necessary files – it might take sometime
  • Agree to terms once again and click Next
  • Before installing, make sure that you are happy with your choices (otherwise, you can click Change what to keep option)
  • Click Install to begin the upgrade process.

Perform in-place upgrade

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About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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