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Microsoft is getting serious about fixing Windows 11’s slow, freezing, crashing file explorer

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Windows Insider recruits are like a box of chocolates, as you never know what they’re going to get. For example, some users noticed that the new Outlook was automatically installed in the latest beta channel build. This was not disclosed in the release notes although a senior Microsoft official confirmed that this is expected behavior.

In the list of announced changes there are also some important improvements and fixes that many will probably appreciate. Microsoft seems to be making a conscious effort to improve File Explorer performance in Windows 11.

Back in 2021, when Windows 11 was new, Microsoft acknowledged there were problems and promised better performance in 2022. Again in 2022, Microsoft’s Panos Panay reiterated that the company’s new operating system is designed to deliver the “highest quality.” Earlier this year, the tech giant also detailed the performance improvements it has delivered over the past year.

The company notes that it has fixed a memory leak issue related to File Explorer Home, meaning load times should be faster. The release notes read:

  • We’ve made a few more improvements to help with home loading performance. Also fixed a memory leak related to Home that would grow every time Home was refreshed or accessed.

The latest Dev build, among other File Explorer improvements, notes multiple performance-related upgrades as well as crash fixes:

  • Fixed an issue where quickly opening two File Explorer windows could cause explorer.exe to crash.

  • Made a few more fixes to help improve File Explorer launch performance, including fixing a leak that would affect performance over time.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause explorer.exe to crash when navigating from home.

  • Fixed an issue where trying to open the gallery after adding new photos could cause a crash.

  • Fixed an issue where the tab progress wheel would get stuck and show File Explorer loading a folder when loading was already complete.

In case you are not aware, Microsoft has released a new file explorer that has been redesigned and is based on WinAppSDK (WinUI). However, there are several reports that suggest that it is quite slow in overall performance and responsiveness.

This also proved to be true when more in-depth testing was done against Windows 10. Amazingly, users recently discovered a bug in full screen (F11) recently which ironically spiked performance.

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