Windows Explorer

What Does Windows Explorer Mean?

Windows Explorer is the file manager used by Windows 95 and later versions. It allows users to manage files, folders and network connections, as well as search for files and related components. Windows Explorer has also grown to support new features unrelated to file management such as playing audio and videos and launching programs, etc. The desktop and the taskbar also form part of Windows Explorer. The look, feel and functionalities of Windows Explorer have been enhanced with each version of Windows.


Starting with Windows 8.0, Windows Explorer has been called File Explorer.

Techopedia Explains Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer replaced the programs File Manager and Program Manager that were used before Windows 95. In addition to file management, Windows Explorer also provides shell services as well as manages the desktop, the Start menu and the taskbar.

Windows Explorer should not be confused with Internet Explorer. The former is a file browser, whereas the latter is a Web browser. There are different ways to run Windows Explorer: one is by holding down the Windows button on the keyboard (the button with the Windows logo) and then pressing the “E” key. Another way is by clicking the Start menu and then “Run” and then typing in “explorer” in the dialog box that appears.

Starting with Windows 8, the Ribbon interface was introduced to Windows Explorer, now called File Explorer. This feature provides users with all the commands needed for file access and file management.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.