Tabs have become a mainstay in web browsers, so much so it's hard to imagine how we managed without them. It's taken a little longer for the interface convention to make its way into other applications. Take Windows Explorer, for example, where it'd see a lot of use. Fortunately, we don't have to wait for Redmond to act — a third-party app is available that adds this exact feature to the venerable file manager.
Called "TabExplorer", all that's required to get it working is a download and install. Once it's done, it'll start automatically, placing an icon in the notification area and opening a configuration window. For me, the window was minimised, so if it doesn't appear, be sure to check the task bar. You'll then need to enable the tabbed interface and optionally, set it to start with Windows.
No restart is required — the tabs will be added immediately to any open Windows Explorer windows. I opted to enable the colour option, as it makes it easier to differentiate the tabs. Clicking a tab results in a slight flicker as the program transitions from one window to the next.
The tabs function pretty much how you'd expect them to. They can be dragged and reordered, closed via an "X" button on the right-hand side of each tab and right-clicked to display additional options. You can clone, rename and even re-open closed tabs. A small button with a down arrow on the far-left side provides a drop-down that shows you all currently opened folders so you can jump to one immediately.
After 30 minutes of use, the TabExplorer process had only grown a megabyte, to 16MB, but I'll be keeping an eye on it as I use it — despite being handy, I'm not willing to sacrifice too much memory to keep it running.
Give it a try yourself — it's a free download and other than a "Tweet or Facebook me!" dialog box after its first run, there doesn't appear to be any adware.