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Add Tabs To Windows Explorer [Tabbed Browsing]

Tabbed Browsing is one of the fastest way to browse, every browser from Firefox to Internet Explorer now makes full use of tabs. But sadly Microsoft has not included tabbed browsing feature for Windows Explorer in the upcoming Windows 7 and missed it out in Vista too. Luckily, you can now add tabbed browsing feature in Windows Explorer by using a 3rd party tool if you are on Windows XP or Windows Vista(32-bit).

Previously I discussed why Nomad.NET application was a good choice because it supported excellent tabbed browsing feature, but you won’t need it anymore. QTTabBar is a free add-in for Windows Explorer that adds tabbed browsing feature without changing touching anything else. With tabbed browsing, you can now browse your files and directories much more faster than before.

Once you install this tool, it will require you to log off and then login again to make it work. It won’t add the tabs by default even after installation, if you are in Vista you will have to right-click the taskbar(press Alt to bring it up) and uncheck Lock Taskbar option, then check both QTTabBar and QTTabBar Standard options. Finally hit Alt + M hotkey to switch between QTTabBar and taskbar.

QTTabBar  - windows explorer tabs

The above screenshot is taken from developer’s website

It also speeds up browsing by showing you the whole directory structure when you click the arrow icon(which is displayed every time you hover your mouse cursor over the directory). Various plugins are supported that add more features to the add-in.

Download QtTabBar

If you are using Windows XP, it requires minimum .NET Framework 2.0 to run. Enjoy!


  1. For me QTTabBar crashes Windows 7 Explorer regularly and locks up the computer.

    I can’t believe this basic functionality hasn’t been added to Windows 7 or 8. In Ubuntu 12.04 Nautilus File Manager you have the option of Split View and Tabs straight out of the box – I can’t even begin to describe how horrible it is to manage multiple Windows Folders across 3 monitors without tabs and only those stupid popup thumbnails to switch between windows.

    I seriously consider switching to Ubuntu an advantage because of this missing functionality.

  2. Unfortunately this program does not work for me.
    I have: Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit Service Pack 1

    After installing and configuring it, I can’t browse the folders properly. I won’t follow shortcuts, browsing libraries doesn’t work.

    There also doesn’t appear to be an uninstall.

  3. Yes, it’s a really nice add-in. I used it when I was on WinXP, besides, you can change the skin… since I’m using Vista (and now Seven), I haven’t used it…

    The only one defect, I found, was that it slows down the first run of a folder.

  4. Nice extension for my old Windows Explorer. You may also find UltraExplorer an awesome alternative which support tab browsing with many essential bars.

    • Yes UltraExplorer is great too, but wouldn’t it be better if you can get tabbed browsing right from within the Windows Explorer? This is what makes it so awesome.

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