Steve April 15, 2021
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File Explorer in Windows 10 is an essential program that is widely utilized by users of the operating system. While Microsoft updates it from time to time, the changes are usually minor, and related to icon redesigns. This is probably why user concepts of File Explorer surface frequently, re-imagining what the program could look like, should Microsoft decide to fully redesign it at some point.

Today, we are taking a look at a new and sleek user concept for File Explorer created by Reddit user u/Alur2020 that has hundreds of users salivating on the Reddit thread. Have a look below.

A user concept design of File Explorer in Windows 10
Click to enlarge

The first of two images for the design presents a sleek File Explorer that embraces Fluent Design concepts while maintaining a minimalist look. Key points include the usage of Microsoft’s new icons, as well as tags in the pane on the left. As can be seen, this can be utilized to mark and color-code your files and folders, making them easier to spot and presumably, group.

Similarly, another noticeable feature is the addition of tabs, which not only enhances productivity-focused scenarios but also gives it a more browser-based feel which most users will be comfortable with adapting to. It is important to note that Microsoft announced Sets back in 2017, which was supposed to be a new idea for tabbed interfaces in Windows 10. However, the project was shelved in 2019 and doesn’t seem to be a part of the Sun Valley update for the operating system later this year too, based on current information.

Other interesting tidbits include minimalist icons, as well as the settings and profile buttons on the top. Overall, the look is familiar but enhanced to increase productivity and general sleekness.

A user concept for File Explorer in Windows 10
Click to enlarge

The second image deals with the UI you get when you open a folder. As can be seen, clicking on an item opens the options at the top where the user can decide what they want to do it with it. This uses the same minimalist icon design seen in the pane on the left.

Talking about the pane on the left, perhaps the most noticeable thing is nested folders. Essentially, users can click on a folder and get a view of the children folders in it. This is especially beneficial if you want to quickly shift between nested folders without having to go back to the root directory again and again.

Overall, the File Explorer user concept has received extremely positive response on Reddit with most lauding it as the best design that they have seen so far. With over 1,500 upvotes so far, many have also directed praise at how organized it looks and is not “blown up”. Minor nitpicking is aimed at keeping the settings and profile buttons too close to the minimize button, but feedback has been generally positive and constructive so far.

It is important to note that while this is a user concept, it would be interesting to see if Microsoft takes inspiration from it and implement some of these features and UI enhancements at some point in the future, especially given the positive feedback seen so far.

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