Microsoft to overhaul Explorer in Windows 8

Office-like ribbon and the 'up' button to return
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Microsoft continued the firm's reveal of Windows 8 features on the Building Windows 8 blog with an inside look at planned changes to the Windows Explorer file manager.

The software giant acknowledged that many Windows users had long ago "given up" on Explorer and were using an alternative file management add-on. GP Software's Directory Opus, recently hitting version 10, is one such utility designed to replace the lackluster file explorer in Windows.

As with previous posts in the Building Windows 8 series, Microsoft engineers shed some light on what existing users were doing based on the anonymous usage statistics collected by the company.

"The telemetry data here shows that 54.5% of commands are invoked using a right-click context menu, and another 32.2% are invoked using keyboard shortcuts while only 10.9% come from the Command bar, the most visible UI element in Explorer in Windows 7 and Vista," said Microsoft Windows Team boss Alex Simons.

Vista and Windows 7 irritated many users by removing the 'up' button that was formerly present in Windows XP. Microsoft said that the firm would put the most common features used in Explorer where they could be most easily accessible.

The firm showed off plans to include an Office-style 'ribbon' at the top of the file explorer. Keyboard shortcuts will also be brought back for 'power users' while the 'quick access toolbar' will also be customisable.

Simons also introduced the upcoming WiIndows 8 Explorer in a video on the blog post.

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