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Windows 8 Explorer shows off new features

Microsoft has revealed some information on how Explorer will look in Windows 8. Click here for a sneaky peek.

Microsoft has explained what moving files around will look like in Windows 8, and there are a few interesting treats in store for Explorer, as well as a few annoyances that hopefully will be zapped.

Writing on a developer blog, lead program manager Ilana Smith has explained what users can expect to see when Windows 8 goes into public beta next month.

Conflict resolution

One bit of good news is that the file conflict system has been given a refresh. So if you try to copy files into a folder that already contains identically named files, Windows 8 will check the file size and date modified to see if the files are actually identical, and give you a checkbox option to skip moving those files across. Handy, because as the post mentions, "Making a choice between two identical files is usually pointless."

If you've got a big file transfer to do but not much time, you'll be glad to know Windows 8 pauses copy operations if your PC sleeps or hibernates, and will resume at your say-so once you've kicked it awake. Nifty.

 

Ribbon-tickling

Windows XP fans who despise the ribbon that adorns the top of so many Windows applications will be delighted to learn it will be hidden by default in Windows 8. It's still there though, lurking beneath the surface like a scary piranha.

Smith says 23 per cent of those tested maximised the ribbon if it was minimised, but the benefit is that by default you get a cleaner-looking interface.

The Start menu is seriously pared down in Windows 8. But all your custom shortcuts will still be possible, thanks to a new button in Explorer called 'Easy Access', which lets you pin a folder to the Metro Start screen. Explorer will also do a better job of showing your photo thumbnails the right way round, because it now respects EXIF orientation data for JPEGs.

You'll be able to try all these things out once Windows 8 goes into public beta next month. But if you can't wait, we've devised a handy guide to installing Windows 8 alongside your existing operating system right now. Gracious!

Are you looking forward to Windows 8? Or are you clinging to your current version like it's a life-raft made of Explorer windows and captained by Clippy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.