How to Refresh Folder Items in Windows 11

File refresh

With the ‘Refresh’ option in context menu missing, here’s how you can refresh items in File Explorer on Windows 11.

Microsoft has redesigned the File Explorer in Windows 11. The Toolbar at the top has been replaced with an uncluttered Command Bar, there is a new context menu and other major and minor changes. But what appeared to have perplexed users is the missing ‘Refresh’ option in the new Context Menu.

Most of us have been relying on the ‘Refresh’ option in the context menu to refresh files and folders in the File Explorer for years. But, with it gone, we now have to look for other available options. Here are all the ways you can refresh in the File Explorer.

1. Refresh Using the ‘Reresh’ Icon Next to the Address Bar

The ‘Refresh’ icon next to the address bar has been there for a long time and luckily no changes have been made to it in Windows 11. It’s the quickest way to refresh using the GUI (Graphic User Interface) in the Windows 11 File Explorer.

To refresh in Windows 11 File Explorer, navigate to the location whose items you want to refresh, and click on the ‘Refresh’ icon.

The central location of the ‘Refresh’ button does make the task easier, but there’s a keyboard shortcut to refresh as well.

2. Refresh Using the F5 Keyboard Shortcut

Many users prefer keyboard shortcuts over GUI methods to execute tasks, for quick results. You can refresh the items in the File Explorer by simply pressing F5 on your keyboard. The F5 key is most likely to be placed in the top row of the keyboard. Also, you can use the CTRL + R keyboard shortcut to refresh the active File Explorer window.

The F5 keyboard shortcut to refresh is not just applicable to the File Explorer but throughout the system. It’s universally accepted and should work fine for other apps as well, both built-in and third-party.

3. Refresh Using the Legacy Context Menu

Although Microsoft has redesigned the context menu, it hasn’t completely done away with the old version (Legacy Context Menu) of it, which can still be accessed. And, the legacy context menu has the option to refresh the current window.

To refresh using the legacy context menu, right-click in the empty space of the folder whose items you want to refresh, and select ‘Show more options’ to launch the legacy context menu. Alternatively, you can directly press SHIFT + F10 to access the legacy context menu.

Next, select the ‘Refresh’ option from the legacy context menu.


These are the three ways you can refresh the folder options in File Explorer on Windows 11. Although the context menu option is complex and time-consuming, you can always employ the F5 keyboard shortcut to refresh.