Microsoft is bringing back this excellent File Explorer feature I bet you didn't know existed or had been removed

 File Explorer from Windows 11.
File Explorer from Windows 11.

What you need to know

  • It appears that Microsoft will bring back the ability to drag and drop an item from File Explorer into the address bar.

  • The functionality is available starting with a recent Beta Channel Insider Build of Windows 11, though you have to enable the feature through ViVetool.

  • Microsoft removed the ability to drag and drop content into the address bar of File Explorer when it shipped an updated File Explorer in Windows 11 version 23H2.

Microsoft is bringing back a File Explorer feature that many have missed but there's a chance you haven't used before. In the latest Beta Channel Insider Build of Windows 11, you can drag and drop an item from File Explorer into the address bar. The functionality requires some tinkering using ViVetool, but things look promising for the feature making a return.

The change was spotted by PhantomOcean3 on X (formerly Twitter), who also shared a video of the feature in action.

You may be surprised to hear that the feature needs to make a return, since dragging and dropping items into the File Explorer address bar was available for a long time in Windows 11. But Microsoft removed the feature when it shipped a new File Explorer with Windows 11 version 23H2.

The list of what's new with File Explorer on Windows 11 version 23H2 is impressive, including a new header, new details pane, a redesigned Home page, and improvements to sharing. The new File Explorer does, however, lack the ability to drag and drop items into its address bar. It seems that may not be the case with future versions of Windows.

Windows 11 24H2 will first ship on ARM PCs before rolling out to everyone later this year. Perhaps we'll see that update bring back dragging and dropping in File Explorer to the address bar. If not, we could see the feature in a future version of Windows.

Restoring removed features

Windows 11 Taskbar closeup
Windows 11 Taskbar closeup

This isn't the first time that Microsoft took away functionality and then brought it back. The company infamously took away the ability to drag and drop content into the Taskbar when it shipped Windows 11. That feature has since been added back into the operating system, but us users aren't always so lucky. For example, you still can't move the Taskbar on Windows 11 to the side or top of your screen.

I suppose saying Microsoft "removes" these features isn't entirely accurate. In many cases, Microsoft builds a new experience from the ground up, and it doesn't always add in all the functionality the predecessor had. In effect, end users lose a feature, but it's not like someone at Microsoft is laughing maniacally over taking features away. Microsoft prioritizes certain features based on telemetry data, user feedback, and its overarching vision for Windows. Sometimes the company has to work on the most important features right away and add things in later.

We've seen similar situations with the Taskbar, Start menu, and other parts of Windows 11. Of course, there are times when Microsoft removes features, such as the Windows Subsystem for Android, but those are usually taken out for different reasons.