How to Enable Classic File Explorer Ribbon on Windows 11

Do you miss the classic file explorer ribbon now that you have Windows 11?

Microsoft went all in and made many changes to the user interface in Windows 11. Long-time Windows 10 users noticed the difference as soon as they downloaded the latest version of the operating system.

Apple’s macOS heavily influenced the Microsoft team in terms of design. Windows 11 features rounded window edges and centered icons right in the middle of the taskbar. The overall look of this revamped version is sleek and elegant.

With that said, Windows 10 users loved some features which are sadly not available in Windows 11 right now. Classic File Explorer ribbon is just one of them. But don’t worry because there is a way to get it back and still use the latest version of the operating system.

In this guide, we will learn how to enable the classic File Explorer ribbon on Windows 11 quickly.

So let’s begin!

Enabling Classic File Explorer Ribbon Menu

Windows 11 has a brand new File Explorer ribbon that goes well with the minimalist theme of the operating system. But as you can see, it looks a lot smaller. It means fewer options are readily available for users.

Many of us have been using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 for years and have gotten pretty used to the classic File Explorer ribbon menu. It was functional and had useful options that were just a click away. Luckily, we can enable the classic File Explorer ribbon on Windows 11. Here is what to do.

  1. The first thing you need is the run box. Use the Win + R keyboard shortcut and launch it. When you see the run box, type in ‘regedit and then tap Enter.
Windows 11
  1. This action will open the Registry Editor. Your next step is to type the following value: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions.
Windows 11 registry editor
  1. Once you find the value, right-click on Shell extensions and then select New > Key. Of course, you have to give a name to this new key. Type in ‘Blocked‘. When you do this, select the Blocked key.
Windows 11 new key
  1. Find the Edit section in the Registry Editor and select New > String Value from the drop-down menu. Your new value needs a name. You should call it {e2bf9676-5f8f-435c-97eb-11607a5bedf7}. Remember to leave the value data empty.
Windows 11 new string value
  1. After completing this action, close the Registry Editor, and then restart your machine. Launch your File Explorer, and the classic ribbon should be there.
Windows 11 classic file explorer ribbon

The classic ribbon is not showing up even though you did everything right? Don’t panic because this happens occasionally. You have to complete some extra steps that will take just a couple of minutes.

Additional Adjustments

The method described above should work, and you probably have a classic File Explorer ribbon right now. But it is best to be prepared for anything, so we are adding this section in case the classic ribbon is not showing up for you.

  1. What you need to do now is change the folder view. Click on the Start button and select File Explorer. Then locate the button for more options on the ribbon. 
Windows 11 classic file explorer ribbon
  1. Find Options in the menu. It will open a new window on your screen. 
Windows 11 classic file explorer ribbon
  1. All you need to do now is find the Launch folder windows in a separate process option and enable it. Finally, click on OK.
Windows 11 classic file explorer ribbon

Some of you might find it impossible to access the Folder options straight from File Explorer. But you can get there by using the Control Panel. Microsoft didn’t remove it in Windows 11.

Now that you have completed all the steps, you probably want to see the result. To do that, you need to restart your computer first. This final adjustment should enable the classic File Explorer ribbon.

Reversing the Changes

Remember that this tweak is reversible, and you can always get the new File Explorer ribbon back. So if you at any point want to have the Windows 11 design back, you can do so easily. Follow the steps we described in the previous section, and that’s it.

However, there is one change you need to look out for. You have to remove the string value {e2bf9676-5f8f-435c-97eb-11607a5bedf7}. Simply use a right-click and delete it. Then you will be all set, and the changes will be reversed.

Windows 11 classic file explorer ribbon

This tweak is not Microsoft official, and nobody can predict how long it will work on Windows 11. It might be gone by the next update. It is also worth mentioning that you will lose the share command once you complete the steps. 

One thing is for sure – the classic File Explorer ribbon won’t make a comeback as a part of Windows 11. Perhaps Microsoft will add it as an option further down the line. But this small tweak is a great substitute if you miss the old explorer ribbon.

This ends our guide on how to enable the classic File Explorer ribbon on Windows 11. If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

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