After a long wait of almost one year, three months, and two weeks, Microsoft has finally addressed an issue causing File Explorer to open automatically and take focus away from other apps on Windows 11. This fix is rolling out with Windows 11 KB5033375 (December 2023 cumulative update).
This issue was first reported by hundreds of users in the Feedback Hub in October 2022 when Windows 11 Moment 2 shipped with an updated File Explorer design. So, what is this bug all about? According to my testing, this bug causes File Explorer to suddenly open in the foreground when doing any activity unrelated to File Manager.
File Explorer’s focus steal bug can be extremely annoying as it can happen at random intervals and, in worse cases, every hour. It doesn’t matter what apps or programs you’re focused on, as the File Explorer automatically tries to grab focus at random intervals. This can happen in the middle of a document or presentation.
Our readers have described the problem as a nightmare, as it might look like your computer has been hacked and somebody is trying to open folders.
Windows 11 December update fixes File Explorer
In the release notes of the December 2023 update (KB5033375), Microsoft has quietly acknowledged that it has fixed an issue that causes File Explorer windows to appear in the foreground.
“This update addresses an issue that affects File Explorer windows. When you do not expect them, they appear in the foreground,” the release note reads.
Microsoft has also confirmed to Windows Latest that the File Explorer focus steal bug is now ‘resolved’.
This bug had been a significant source of irritation, prompting some people to consider switching to other operating systems.
One frustrated user reported in the Feedback Hub, “For crying out loud, it’s been over a year since people started complaining about this, and it is still happening. This time, it stole focus while a C-Suite was presenting, and they could not get back to their presentation, as they did not know what was happening. This caused them embarrassment. They have asked if they should dump Windows and go to ChromeOS.”
It’s worth noting that Microsoft never officially confirmed this bug in its Windows 11 22H2 or 23H2 support documentation, although it was acknowledged in the release notes of Build 23403.
Microsoft first fixed the underlying issue, causing File Explorer to unexpectedly jump into the foreground in their March 2023 Insider preview builds. After several months, the fix finally arrived for everyone in December.
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