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Get the Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon on Windows 7

One of the new features in Windows 8 Developer Preview is the Ribbon interface in Explorer. BExplorer (Better Explorer) is free and gives you the Ribbon style UI on your Windows 7 or Vista system.

Windows 8 Ribbon

First, download BExplorer from the open source project site CodePlex. Better Explorer will download and install .Net Framework 4.0 Full before you can begin using it.

Install Bexplorer

Once installed, you can start using the new Ribbon UI. It works much the same as the Ribbon in Office and other software that has it. The first thing I always do with any Ribbon menu is move the Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon.


Better Explorer provides two new tabs – Home and View. The Home tab has features like Cut & Paste, Copy and create new tab options. The tabbed feature lets you work in several directories at once. This is very handy for the power user.

Home Tabs

The View tab lets you sort files and folders by Type, Date, Format and more.

View Tab

You can minimize and maximize the Better Explorer Ribbon when you need more screen real estate.

Minimize BE Ribbon

Don’t worry about Better Explorer taking over you whole system’s UI. You just use it when you want it. For easier access pin it to the Taskbar.

Pin to Taskbar

Better Explorer is still in the early stage of development — Currently Alpha. You’ll experience some bugs and not all of the features listed are available. For instance, when you go to the Options screen, several are listed, but you can’t use them. But if you’re a fan of the Ribbon UI, this free download is worth a try.

Related Article: Use Office Web Apps to Edit Documents Online

BE Options

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6 Responses to Get the Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon on Windows 7

  1. Ziggy January 3, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    Hi Folks and Happy New Year from Oz…

    Nifty and practical tool, Brian. For those who like to muck around with Windows Explorer replacements, follow the link provided to see what others are using. People certainly do get fired up on this topic…

  2. Brian Burgess January 3, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    Thanks Ziggy. I actually used to write for How To Geek. I wrote under the Mysticgeek screen name.

  3. Misho January 3, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    Great idea. But in my case (Windows 7 Ultimate x86) it doesn’t work. I have successfully installed it, and when I run it, the system is busy for a second or two, and the BE newer shows up.

  4. Misho January 3, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Ok, I applied the reg file and now it works! 🙂

    • Geeko February 12, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Mine is not working. I was able to successfully download the file and when I try to open it nothing happens??

  5. Derek January 3, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    I really like the UI of BExplorer and I’ve used a couple of different file manager replacements (xplorer2, XYplorer). I’d love to see an option to replace the default file manager like both xplorer2 and XYplorer have. I’ve tried to muck around with the registry to do it manually but I haven’t been successful. If anyone has any ideas on how to do that on Windows 7 x64, I’d love to hear about it.

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