Windows 8 adding ribbon to Explorer


Microsoft is adding the ribbon toolbar t o its file management system, Windows Explorer. (TOBIAS SCHWARZ/REUTERS)

The changes will come with Windows 8, Microsoft’s upcoming operating system, and Windows division manager Steven Sinofsky said in the post adding the ribbon to the file manager will help create a consistent interface and let users have easy access to their most-used commands.

According to Microsoft’s own user data, Windows users tend to use Explorer for the same 10 functions a whopping 82 percent of the time. (Copy, cut and paste alone account for over one-third of the functions performed in Explorer.) Those functions would be highlighted in the ribbon.

The new tool will have four tabs — Home, Share, View and Manage — each housing specific functions.

The ribbon hasn’t met with approval from a lot of Windows users since the company introduced the navigation feature in Office 2007. Power users find the interface particularly irksome, since some functions now require more clicks and steps.

To appease power users, Sinofsky said that Microsoft is adding keyboard shortcuts for all the ribbon features as well as more options for customization in Explorer. The company is also bringing back the “Up” button, to let you jump one level up in the folder hierarchy.

“This is far and away the most requested improvement to Explorer, and a great opportunity to bring back some of Windows Explorer’s heritage features,” Sinofsky wrote. Microsoft also announced Monday that it is planning to natively support mounting virtual hard drives (VHD) and ISO archive files in Windows 8.

Microsoft has been fairly chatty with users about the features in Windows 8, but it will be a treat to see what they unveil at next month’s BUILD conference.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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