The addition of the Ribbon to Explorer in Windows 8 wasn’t exactly a popular decision—there were outcries from loads of people about how it would make the whole experience bloated and waste space. Here’s the simple solution.

Hit the Win+R keyboard shortcut to bring up the Run box, and then type gpedit.msc into the dialog and hit Enter. Browse down to the following section:

Computer Configuration –> Administrative Templates –> Windows Components –> Windows Explorer

Once you’re there, find the option on the right-hand pane for “Start Windows Explorer with Ribbon minimized” and double-click it.

Set the radio button to Enabled, click OK, and close it.

Now whenever you open up a new Explorer window, the Ribbon will be minimized by default.


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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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