face palm: In a discovery reminiscent of the famous old maxim that something is not a bug but a feature, an apparent bug has been spotted in Windows File Explorer that actually improves the program’s performance when enabled.
Windows File Explorer doesn’t offer the smoothest experience. It can be slow, laggy, and clunky, with some people complaining that the problems are even worse in Windows 11 compared to Windows 10.
But X, formerly of Twitter, user @VivyVCCS has spotted an apparent bug in File Explorer, giving it a stellar speed boost. All you have to do is enter full screen mode by pressing F11 and then exit the mode by pressing F11 again.
Did you know that you can speed up Explorer by making mistakes?
It turns out that toggling full screen mode (F11) on and off cuts load times noticeably!
I wish that was the performance we get right away.
(Yes, the navbar breaks. However, the navbar shouldn’t cause that much of a step backwards.) pic.twitter.com/GObybf1C8q
– Vivyâ¡ (@VivyVCCS) September 3, 2023
Once the error is activated, it boosts File Explorer performance. You should notice that the contents of folders load immediately when you switch between them, as does the preview of the files’ thumbnails. The improvements are present on all drives, no matter how slow the devices are.
Enabling the bug comes at a price though: it destroys the navigation bar, although it’s arguably worth it for the extra performance it brings.
For those who don’t bother to press the F11 key twice every time they open File Explorer (or just keep forgetting to), developer Schalk Burger created an automated hotkey script github This will automatically activate the error when the program is opened.
One Redditor wrote: “I tested it on a music folder with 1800+ subfolders and 25,000+ files: everything opens instantly, great. This is the performance we had in Windows 7 Explorer.”
Neowin writes that the trick works on all versions of Windows 11 including canary builds and early versions. It’s unclear if the bug also occurs in Windows 10, but at least one commenter using Microsoft’s older operating system said they didn’t notice a speed improvement in File Explorer after pressing F11 twice.
Since this is essentially a bug that blocks the File Explorer navigation bar, you can expect Microsoft to provide a patch to fix this issue in a future Windows update. Hopefully this will improve the program’s performance as well – but don’t hold your breath.