Windows File Explorer Bug Ironically Boosts Browsing Performance

File Explorer
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

@VivyVCCS on X (Twitter) disclosed details about a newfound bug in Windows File Explorer that can significantly boost the app's folder browsing performance—alleviating one of the application's most infamous problems. The bug requires manual activation by the user, but it is arguably one of (if not) the easiest bugs to activate.

To initiate the bug (or hack), all you need to do is open File Explorer, press the F11 key once to open File Explorer in full-screen mode, and then press F11 again to exit full-screen mode.

That's it! Once the bug is in motion, you should notice instantaneous refreshes when swapping between different folders, even on different drives. The bug is software-related, so the performance improvements work on all drives, from the fastest and Best SSDs to the slowest hard drives. The only issue with this "bug" is that the navbar apparently breaks when activating the bug, but it is a small price to pay for the greatly enhanced performance.

If pressing F11 is too inconvenient, Schalk Burger created an automated hotkey script on Github that automatically activates the hack when you open File Explorer.

File Explorer used to be very snappy, especially on older operating systems, but for some reason, it has become increasingly 'clunky' in recent iterations of Windows like 10 and 11. This has been my experience and is harkened by the dozens of forum posts you can see online from users complaining about laggy File Explorer performance on Windows 10 and 11.

For now, at least, Microsoft has not mentioned whether they will fix the bug. But we wouldn't be surprised if they will once this new File Explorer hack gains more traction online. Hopefully, Microsoft will perform a performance update on File Explorer while fixing the bug.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • Ralston18
    On my system the F11 key opens the System window. And not at full screen.

    And subsequent F11 keys presses do not appear to be doing anything.

    No macros or other key configuration settings.

    What am I missing?

    Has the bug already been "fixed"?
    Reply
  • MWeiss89
    Ralston18 said:
    On my system the F11 key opens the System window. And not at full screen.

    And subsequent F11 keys presses do not appear to be doing anything.

    No macros or other key configuration settings.

    What am I missing?

    Has the bug already been "fixed"?
    Sounds like you have an active function key layer. Holding fn+f11 may toggle fullscreen mode.
    Reply
  • Ralston18
    That (fn+f11) worked.

    And it all does seem much faster.

    Now hoping that that "bug" does not get fixed....

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • Sippincider

    The only issue with this "bug" is that the navbar apparently breaks when activating the bug,

    Which means the bug WILL get fixed the next time MS moves all the UI stuff around (yet again).

    Or... it'll become one of Windows' many layers of barnacles, and will work sporadically for the next 25 years.
    Reply
  • Vanderlindemedia
    No speed difference here with F11 on 10 with "Details" turned on.
    Reply
  • RichardtST
    Made no difference at all on my Win10 system. Sigh. I was hoping it would solve the handle accumulation problem. My explorer accumulates handles for no reason and I have to reboot once a week or so just to clear them. Oh well. Windows being Windows I suppose.
    Reply
  • Newb888
    This bug, gaslighters will call it a feature and it works sort of .

    It doesn't improve performance when you're right clicking an folder and you must wait up to 5 seconds for the context menu to appear.

    Repeat this step again, it's only about 1/2 second.

    Windows just doesn't care about performance and even corporate users/IT admins might want to suggest their infrastructure shift to Linux as a result.

    And consumers are already moving away from PCs and switching to tablets and MAC PCs if they must use a PC.
    Reply
  • Newb888
    Sippincider said:
    Which means the bug WILL get fixed the next time MS moves all the UI stuff around (yet again).

    Or... it'll become one of Windows' many layers of barnacles, and will work sporadically for the next 25 years.
    I "disabled" auto updates. I have to return every 3 or 4 weeks and reset the delay updates option.
    Reply