How to Have Tabs in Windows Explorer in Windows 10/11 (Free)

Read here how to boost your productivity by enabling tabs on your Windows File Explorer just like you have on your Internet browser.

Most people don’t know, but it is possible to have tabs in Windows 10 and 11 File Explorer just like we have in our Internet browsers for years.

Since this functionality is not built-in in Windows, we need a light freeware called QTTabBar to do the job.

With QTTabBar, you can have a single Windows Explorer folder icon in your taskbar, and all the folders you open will show up in tab browsing just like this:

Tabbed browsing in Windows Explorer with QTTabBar

To have multi-tab browsing in your Windows Explorer, you just need to do this:

In Windows 10

  1. Download QTTabBar ver 1043 version and install it on your PC
    Download: QTTabBar
  2. After installing it, double-click on any folder to open Windows Explorer and select View. On the View tab, click on Options:

  3. A menu will pop-up; enable QTTabBar as in the picture below:
    How enable QTtaBbar in Windows Explorer

This will enable tab browsing on Windows Explorer. If, for some reason, you can’t see the tabs in your File Explorer, restart your PC, and it will appear.

You can also choose to enable QT Command Bar so you can access QTTabBar options, which gives tons of options to make your File Explorer richer, for example, changing your folder background color.

In Windows 11

  1. Download QTTabBar ver 2048 Beta 2 and install it on your PC
    Download: QTTabBar

    If you see a warning by Windows SmartScreen, click More info, then Run.
  2. After installing it, you will see the tabs enabled by default in File Explorer as in the picture below:

If the tabs don’t show up, try running QTTabBarEnabler which comes with the installer package.

To open QTTabBar options in Windows 11, so you can have more functions available as changing your folder background color, just right-click on the empty space next to the file explorer tabs and select QTTabBar Options. Alternatively, you can also press Alt+O on File Explorer.

How to Fix Installation Errors on QtTabBar

You likely encounter installation problems if you try installing QtTabBar on Windows 11.

If you see error messages such as “Standard error output is not empty” or “there is a problem with this windows installer package,” turn off Windows Defender real-time protection (or your third-party antivirus) and try again.

To turn off real-time protection on Windows 11:

  1. Enter Security on Windows Search and open Windows Security.
  2. On Windows Security, click on Virus & threat protection:
  3. Under Virus & threat protection settings, click on Manage settings:
  4. Now turn off Real-time protection:

After installing QTTabBar, you can enable Real-time protection, and it will run fine from now on.


Tabbed browsing is a huge productivity booster, and you only need to install QTTabBar to have it also on Windows Explorer.

If you use Windows, install the 1043 version, and you will be fine. Windows 11 users must install the 2048 beta version to have file explorer tabs.

If you have any problem during installation, you can fix it by turning off Windows Defender real-time protection and then turning it on again after the installation is complete.

If you want to keep boosting your productivity on Windows, you can make your Windows 10 search faster or learn how to disable web results in Windows 11.

Laerthe Côrtes

Laerthe Côrtes

My first desktop computer, back in the 1990s, opened a whole new world for me; since then I am a heavy PC user (who will never get used to smartphones.) I worked for five years in the PC software industry, and my favorite version of Windows is still Windows 95.

About Us

No matter who you are, if a seasoned computer user or someone who can’t do much more than browse the internet, my mission is the same – to help you find a solution to the problem plaguing your PC, or, at the very least, to give you a direction of what to do next.

Legal Information

Some of our posts contain affiliate links to help keep this website running. This means I recommend products and services I personally use and I may receive a commission if you purchase them.

Must-Have Software List

You might also like