Microsoft released the new Windows 11 22H2 this week, bringing a new Explorer sidebar design and layout, and several improvements to File Explorer. The new Explorer gives users more control over the links displayed in the File Explorer sidebar. Ashwin highlights the tabbed file explorer interface that many users have been waiting for.
The new Windows 11 22H2 also improves another file explorer area, the file manager’s sidebar. The sidebar lists links to various locations, such as quick access links, mapped partitions, optical drives, network shares, OneDrive, and user folders.
Additionally, Microsoft added separators to differentiate sidebar groups, as well as a new “Start” section at the top. There’s also a link to Microsoft’s OneDrive file hosting and syncing service. OneDrive is displayed by default regardless of whether it is a local account or a user who is not signed in to OneDrive.
If you uninstall OneDrive, the OneDrive entry in the File Explorer sidebar will also be removed. Start Quick Access lists the user folders, but when you expand “This PC”, the user folders are no longer listed in the group, all mapped local drives are listed, and the optical drive is displayed separately from the hard drive .
Group titles, like Quick Access, are no longer displayed. We don’t know if group titles will be added in future releases or gone forever.
Right-clicking on the item and selecting “Unpin from Quick Access” can remove user folders from the sidebar.
The functionality of the display library remains. Right-click an empty spot in the sidebar and select “Show Libraries” to add them. Then, you’ll find options to hide this PC and the network, as well as to expand all folders in the sidebar or just the current folder.
If you select “Show All Folders” in the right-click preferences Windows 11 adds a new desktop root entry in the sidebar. Click the arrow icon of the desktop root entry to collapse and display all sidebar folders and links.
There’s a very good chance that changes to the Explorer sidebar design and layout will be included in Windows 11 22H2, which Microsoft plans to release later this year.
Overall, the new Windows 11 22H2 version has received significant improvements to the File Explorer sidebar. Microsoft removed the user folder from this computer and added the group separator.