Microsoft was working on a “Sets” feature that would bring tabs to File Explorer and other applications. Sets didn’t arrive in the October 2018 Update and now looks canceled. But you can get tabs in File Explorer today.
Install Stardock’s Groupy
Stardock offers an application named Groupy that adds a feature like Sets to Windows today. It’s a paid application that costs $10 alone, but Stardock offers a month-long free trial. It’s also included with Stardock’s Object Desktop suite of software.
Like the Windows feature Microsoft was working on, Groupy adds tabs to many different applications. You even can mix and match the applications, merging tabs from multiple applications together in one window. You can drag and drop windows onto the tab bar to turn them into tabs, or drag tabs away from the bar to turn them into separate windows—much like working with multiple tabs and windows in your browser.
Like Stardock’s other software, this is a polished experience. Stardock has been updating it and released version 1.2 on May 7, 2019. It also runs on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, so even Windows 7 users can take advantage of this feature.
Microsoft’s SmartScreen once blocked the Groupy download for us, but VirusTotal says the file is fine and Stardock has been a trustworthy company for years. If you see a SmartScreen warning while downloading and installing Groupy, it’s safe to ignore.
Use an Alternative File Explorer
Rather than grabbing a program that adds tabs to all applications on your system, you could just install and use an alternative file manager. These use the same file and folder views used in File Explorer and Windows Explorer, so everything works similarly. But third-party file managers build their own interfaces around the standard file manager view, and many of them include tabs.