Is there a way to make File Explorer catch all the folders opened by various apps?


forkleaf

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This is my biggest gripe after upgrading to Windows 11.

Let's say there's already a running instance of File Explorer, and then you open a new folder via Everything Search or you click "Show in folder" on your downloaded file on Firefox, that new folder is going to make a new instance of Explorer instead of putting itself as a new tab in the already running Explorer. On Windows 10, I used to use this app called Groupy that catches all folders you open. I was expecting that Windows 11's Explorer would work this way.

Is there any hack you can use to make Explorer behave the way I want?
 
Windows Build/Version
Version 23H2 (OS Build 22631.3737)

My Computer

System One

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    Windows 11
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    Laptop
You can't do that with File Explorer, maybe you're looking for app like below.

 

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You can't do that with File Explorer, maybe you're looking for app like below.

I think you misunderstood. I'm not looking for something that monitor file changes. I can do that with Everything Search anyway. I simply want File Explorer to have one instance only. Any new opened folder should be added as a tab.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
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    Laptop
Why not right-click a folder in File Explorer and choose Open in new tab?

1718832540369.png
 

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    Win11 Pro RTM
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    Laptop
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    Dell Vostro 3400
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    Intel Core i5 11th Gen. 2.40GHz
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    256GB SSD NVMe
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    Windows 11 Pro RTM x64
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    Dell Vostro 5890
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    Intel Core i5 10th Gen. 2.90GHz
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Why not right-click a folder in File Explorer and choose Open in new tab?

View attachment 99586
I know that but that's not what I'm talking about.

I use Everything (by voidtools) instead of the native search. Each of the folder you open here will open their new instance of Explorer.
everything sample.png

There are also apps that open folders for different reasons. This is on Firefox. It lets you go to the folder where you downloaded a file.
firefox sample.png

All these folders you open outside of File Explorer will make their own instances. What I want is for the File Explorer to catch them and add them as new tabs instead.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
Hi, welcome to the forum.

File Explorer doesn’t work like that as far as I know, it doesn’t behave like a web browser. Maybe you have to go back to groupy.
Unless there is a REG hack I don’t know about.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 Build: 22631.3880
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    PC/Desktop
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    Sin-built
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4th Gen?)
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    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
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    32.0 GB of I forget and the box is in storage.
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    Monitor(s) Displays
    4 x LG 23MP75 1 x 24" LG M38H 1 x 32" LF6300 TV Monitor 1 x Wacom Pro 22" Tablet
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  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 22621.2215
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    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LENOVO Yoga 7i EVO OLED 14" Touchscreen i5 12 Core 16GB/512GB
    CPU
    Intel Core 12th Gen i5-1240P Processor (1.7 - 4.4GHz)
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR5 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    Graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    optimized with Dolby Atmos®
    Screen Resolution
    QHD 2880 x 1800 OLED
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    M.2 512GB
    Other Info
    …still on a horse.
This does not directly address your issue, but it's as close as I can think of...

When you open a second instance of File Explorer, or if another app opens it, you can drag that Window to another instance of File explorer to dock that Window as an additional tab to the first one.

So, while it may open in a separate window, you can certainly add it to another instance as a tab if you so wish.

Simply drag the tab to the Window you want to add it as a tab to.

Put another way, File Explorer allows for the tearing away of tabs or dragging of tabs to a window to add one windows as another tab to an existing File Explorer window.
 

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  • OS
    Win11 Pro 24H2
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    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Kamrui Mini PC, Model CK10
    CPU
    Intel i5-12450H
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    32GB
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    No GPU - Built-in Intel Graphics
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    Logitech MX Master 3
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    1Gb Up / 1 Gb Down
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    Edge
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    Win11 Pro 23H2
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    Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 2
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    Intel i7-1255U
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    16 GB
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    Realtek® ALC3306-CG codec
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    Backlit, spill resistant keyboard
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Quite honestly, one would think that Microsoft would add this as an optional setting. If they want us to have a clean desktop and taskbar, it would certainly be a welcomed addition to the settings. This has baffled me ever since they brought in Tabs.

Perhaps change to a 3rd party file explorer if there is one that can achieve this. I don’t know much about any of them.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 Build: 22631.3880
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Sin-built
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4th Gen?)
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
    Memory
    32.0 GB of I forget and the box is in storage.
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC 6GB
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4 x LG 23MP75 1 x 24" LG M38H 1 x 32" LF6300 TV Monitor 1 x Wacom Pro 22" Tablet
    Screen Resolution
    All over the place
    Hard Drives
    2 x WD something Something 8TB HDD's / 2 x WD something Something 4TB HDD's / 1 x EVO 1TB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB SSD's / 1 x EVO 250 GB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB (External Hub) / 1 x EVO 1TB (Portable Backup Case)
    PSU
    Silverstone 1500
    Case
    NZXT Phantom 820 Full-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 Elite Class Dual Tower CPU Cooler / 6 x EziDIY 120mm / 2 x Corsair 140mm somethings / 1 x 140mm Thermaltake something / 2 x 200mm Corsair.
    Keyboard
    Corsair K95 / Logitech diNovo Edge Wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech G402 / G502 / Mx Masters / MX Air Cordless
    Internet Speed
    100/40Mbps
    Browser
    All sorts
    Antivirus
    Kaspersky Premium
    Other Info
    I’m on a horse.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 22621.2215
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LENOVO Yoga 7i EVO OLED 14" Touchscreen i5 12 Core 16GB/512GB
    CPU
    Intel Core 12th Gen i5-1240P Processor (1.7 - 4.4GHz)
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR5 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    Graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    optimized with Dolby Atmos®
    Screen Resolution
    QHD 2880 x 1800 OLED
    Hard Drives
    M.2 512GB
    Other Info
    …still on a horse.

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 Build: 22631.3880
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Sin-built
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4th Gen?)
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
    Memory
    32.0 GB of I forget and the box is in storage.
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC 6GB
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4 x LG 23MP75 1 x 24" LG M38H 1 x 32" LF6300 TV Monitor 1 x Wacom Pro 22" Tablet
    Screen Resolution
    All over the place
    Hard Drives
    2 x WD something Something 8TB HDD's / 2 x WD something Something 4TB HDD's / 1 x EVO 1TB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB SSD's / 1 x EVO 250 GB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB (External Hub) / 1 x EVO 1TB (Portable Backup Case)
    PSU
    Silverstone 1500
    Case
    NZXT Phantom 820 Full-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 Elite Class Dual Tower CPU Cooler / 6 x EziDIY 120mm / 2 x Corsair 140mm somethings / 1 x 140mm Thermaltake something / 2 x 200mm Corsair.
    Keyboard
    Corsair K95 / Logitech diNovo Edge Wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech G402 / G502 / Mx Masters / MX Air Cordless
    Internet Speed
    100/40Mbps
    Browser
    All sorts
    Antivirus
    Kaspersky Premium
    Other Info
    I’m on a horse.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 22621.2215
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LENOVO Yoga 7i EVO OLED 14" Touchscreen i5 12 Core 16GB/512GB
    CPU
    Intel Core 12th Gen i5-1240P Processor (1.7 - 4.4GHz)
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR5 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    Graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    optimized with Dolby Atmos®
    Screen Resolution
    QHD 2880 x 1800 OLED
    Hard Drives
    M.2 512GB
    Other Info
    …still on a horse.

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC12WSHi7
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P, 2100 MHz
    Motherboard
    NUC12WSBi7
    Memory
    64 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    built-in Realtek HD audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 990 PRO 1TB
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Clears
  • Operating System
    Linux Mint 21.2 (Cinnamon)
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    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC8i5BEH
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8259U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Iris Plus 655
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard - Cherry MX Clear
This does not directly address your issue, but it's as close as I can think of...

When you open a second instance of File Explorer, or if another app opens it, you can drag that Window to another instance of File explorer to dock that Window as an additional tab to the first one.

So, while it may open in a separate window, you can certainly add it to another instance as a tab if you so wish.

Simply drag the tab to the Window you want to add it as a tab to.

Put another way, File Explorer allows for the tearing away of tabs or dragging of tabs to a window to add one windows as another tab to an existing File Explorer window.
I was about to make a screen recording earlier demonstrating this to make a point of what I wanted to happen but the app I was using crashed. But yeah, I want things to be automatic. I'm gonna try all the suggested apps/tools from github and report back.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
The OP want’s File Explorer to behave like a web browser:
If you have your default web browser open and you click a webpage shortcut on your desktop, the link will open in the current open browser as a new tab, it wont start a new instance of your web browser.​

It is not too much to ask, in my opinion, to have File Explorer behave in the same way as an open web browser. It's such a simple task to ask for. You could be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft would have thought about and added this when they created Tabs for File Explorer.
Not to mention that most web browsers can be set to open the last tabs used when reopening the web browser. I would appreciate this feature in File Explorer, also.
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 Build: 22631.3880
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Sin-built
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4th Gen?)
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus VI Formula
    Memory
    32.0 GB of I forget and the box is in storage.
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC 6GB
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4 x LG 23MP75 1 x 24" LG M38H 1 x 32" LF6300 TV Monitor 1 x Wacom Pro 22" Tablet
    Screen Resolution
    All over the place
    Hard Drives
    2 x WD something Something 8TB HDD's / 2 x WD something Something 4TB HDD's / 1 x EVO 1TB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB SSD's / 1 x EVO 250 GB SSD / 2 x QVO 1TB (External Hub) / 1 x EVO 1TB (Portable Backup Case)
    PSU
    Silverstone 1500
    Case
    NZXT Phantom 820 Full-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 Elite Class Dual Tower CPU Cooler / 6 x EziDIY 120mm / 2 x Corsair 140mm somethings / 1 x 140mm Thermaltake something / 2 x 200mm Corsair.
    Keyboard
    Corsair K95 / Logitech diNovo Edge Wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech G402 / G502 / Mx Masters / MX Air Cordless
    Internet Speed
    100/40Mbps
    Browser
    All sorts
    Antivirus
    Kaspersky Premium
    Other Info
    I’m on a horse.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 22621.2215
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LENOVO Yoga 7i EVO OLED 14" Touchscreen i5 12 Core 16GB/512GB
    CPU
    Intel Core 12th Gen i5-1240P Processor (1.7 - 4.4GHz)
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR5 RAM
    Graphics card(s)
    Graphics processor is an Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    optimized with Dolby Atmos®
    Screen Resolution
    QHD 2880 x 1800 OLED
    Hard Drives
    M.2 512GB
    Other Info
    …still on a horse.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
it's kinda jarring since you can see the folders open and close ...

Yep, this is something best handled by the operating system, but sometimes workarounds are all we get.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC12WSHi7
    CPU
    12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P, 2100 MHz
    Motherboard
    NUC12WSBi7
    Memory
    64 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    built-in Realtek HD audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3219Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160 @ 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 990 PRO 1TB
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Clears
  • Operating System
    Linux Mint 21.2 (Cinnamon)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Intel NUC8i5BEH
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8259U CPU @ 2.30GHz
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Iris Plus 655
    Keyboard
    CODE 104-Key Mechanical Keyboard - Cherry MX Clear
QTTabBar, maybe???I think @Edwin uses it. Maybe he can tell you if it will do what your want.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 23H2 22631.3880
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1tb Solidigm m.2 nvme+256gb SKHynix m.2 nvme /External +512gb Samsung m.2 sata+1tb Kingston m2.nvme
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 22H2 19045.3930
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
Between StartAllBack and QTTabBar, it's all you need to make Explorer function in a necessary manner.

0007037.jpg
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS ROG Strix
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS VivoBook
One small thing is driving me nuts...,
I can't figure out how QTTabBar's folder jump list is able to bleed through Fences' frontend layer! 🤷‍♂️
Rather, I can't figure out how to prevent it from happening!

0007039.jpg 0007040.jpg
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS ROG Strix
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS VivoBook

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