Windows File Explorer has come a long way since the days of XP, but even with the Ribbon interface, there’s one significant feature that’s truly lacking: a tabbed interface to access multiple directories from a single window. If you’ve been using Chrome, IE or other modern browsers, you know the convenient and effectiveness of tabbed browsing. Sadly, when you want to open multiple folders in Windows File Explorer, you always have to right-click the directories and open them in a new window each time. This is certainly a darned inconvenient and insensible way to get things done quickly. Now thanks to a free Windows utility called BrightExplorer, you can get a tabbed interface to access any number of directories from one single window. Let’s take a look at BrightExplorer at work.
BrightExplorer Tabs for Windows File Explorer
You can download BrightExplorer and run through the installation as you normally would with any fresh install. An installation wizard will help you with the process and thankfully, you don’t have to worry about any unwanted extensions or tools sneaking their way into your PC unknowingly.
Once installed, you’ll notice the BrightExplorer icon activated in the notification area. Just click on the notification to open up your File Explorer. The first thing you’ll notice is that BrightExplorer displays a tabbed interface right at the top of the window. Below the tabs you’ll notice a Open Favorites button. Below the two items, you’ll find your usual File Explorer interface with the Ribbon UI and left navigation pane. Basically, the tool integrates itself into the File Explorer, although it does have its own icon for opening it.
To open multiple directories in the same window, just open a new tab and click on a directory. You can now switch between the different open directories by selecting the desired tab. Clicking a blank tab will automatically open up the C Drive. Just as you would with tabs on a browser, you can detach individual tabs to open in a new window by clicking and dragging them.
BrightExplorer also features a special pane where you can bookmark your favorite files and folders. To access the panel, just click Open Favorites at the top of the screen. Then drag and drop items you frequently access into the panel for use later on. Also, a search button helps you quickly find items in the panel, which is especially handy when you have too many items favorited.
While BrightExplorer is a free utility, the tool has some handy add-ons that you can pick for a decent price. The add-ons do come pre-packaged with the utility though. Unlimited Favorites is an advanced Favorite bar that lets you bookmark your favorite file locations in a logical tree format. Drag of Tabs to Favorite Group unlocks more tabs that can be formed into a favorite group. Detach Tabs lets you detach tabs from BrightExplorer. All three add-ons can be purchased at $3 each by right-clicking the icon in the notification area and choosing Add-ons.
You can close BrightExplorer and open it again later to access all the tabs you previously used. Or if you’d rather open fresh new tabs, you can exit BrightExplorer and re-open again when needed.
Overall, BrightExplorer is a handy program that makes working with files and directories in Windows File Explorer super easy. It may not be the most polished looking tool, but until something better comes up, I’m going to stick with this one and get things done more easily.
Do check out BrightExplorer and tell us if you found the tool to be useful.