Top 6 Ways to Fix File Explorer Tabs Not Showing in Windows 11

The updated File Explorer in Windows 11 features a tabbed interface that lets you open multiple File Explorer tabs within a single window and switch between them as necessary. This allows you to manage your files without cluttering your desktop with too many File Explorer windows. But what if these File Explorer tabs fail to show up on your Windows computer?

You no longer need to use File Explorer alternatives to benefit from the tabbed interface. This guide will walk you through some useful troubleshooting tips that should help restore the missing File Explorer tabs in no time. So, let’s take a look.

1. Install Windows Updates

File Explorer tabs are only available on computers running Windows 11 22H2 or later. Hence, your first step is to determine what version of Windows your computer is running. If your system is running an older version, use the following steps to upgrade to the latest one.

Step 1: Click the Windows button on the taskbar to open the Start menu and click the gear-shaped icon to launch the Settings app.

Step 2: Click the Windows Update option from the left sidebar and click the Check for updates button in the top-right corner.

After you update Windows to the latest version, File Explorer tabs will appear.

2. Restart the Windows Explorer Process

Windows Explorer is a system process that manages Graphical User Interface (GUI) for File Explorer. If this process is not running correctly, File Explorer may fail to display tabs on your computer. Most of the time, you can fix issues with the Windows Explorer process by simply restarting it. Here are the steps for the same.

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard to open the Task Manager.

Step 2: In the Processes tab, locate the Windows Explorer process. Right-click on it and select Restart.

Your Taskbar will disappear for a few seconds and then reappear. After that, open File Explorer on your PC and check if you can access tabs.

3. Clear File Explorer History

Windows File Explorer keeps a record of your previous activities and searches in order to serve you better. If Windows is having trouble accessing this data for some reason, File Explorer might malfunction. You can try clearing the existing File Explorer history and see if that helps.

Step 1: Click the Windows Search icon on the taskbar, type in file explorer options, and press Enter.

Step 2: In the General tab, click the Clear button next to Clear File Explorer History.

4. Run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter

Your Windows computer runs the System Maintenance Troubleshooter on a regular basis to clean up unused files, desktop shortcuts, and perform other maintenance tasks. This tool can help fix any irregularities with File Explorer and restore the missing tabs. Here’s how to run it.

Step 1: Press the Windows + S keys to open Windows Search, type control panel, and press Enter.

Step 2: In the Control Panel window, use the drop-down menu at the top-right corner to select Large icons. Then, click on Troubleshooting menu from the list of icons.

Step 3: Under System and Security section, select the Run maintenance tasks option.

Step 4: Click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to run the troubleshooter. After that, check if the issue is still there.

5. Check for Corrupt System Files

Another reason File Explorer might not show tabs is if some of the system files on your PC are corrupt or missing. SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) are two Windows tools that can help detect and repair any damaged system files. Here’s how to run them.

Step 1: Right-click on the Windows icon to open the Power User menu and select Terminal (Admin) from the list.

Step 2: Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt shows up.

Step 3: In the console, type the following command and press Enter.

SFC /scannow

After the scan is complete, you’ll see a message indicating whether or not it found any errors. You’ll also get instructions to fix the error if there is a problem.

Next, run the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scan by typing the following commands, and pressing Enter after each of them:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Note that DISM might connect to Windows servers to download system files if necessary. So, make sure you have an active internet connection.

Restart your PC after the scan is complete and check if File Explorer shows tabs.

6. Run a Malware Scan

If the File Explorer tabs are still missing at this point, your computer may be infected with malware. It’s a good idea to run a full system scan with Windows Defender to check for this possibility. You can also use a reliable third-party antivirus program to check for malware.

Maximize Your Productivity With File Explorer Tabs

One of the fixes mentioned above will get File Explorer tabs to appear on Windows. A third-party program on your PC might preventing the File Explorer to show tabs. You can try uninstalling any recently installed programs or perform a system restore to resolve the issue.

Last updated on 09 February, 2023

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