Here’s the Deal
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NetRW's tree mode is incredibly buggy. And, rightfully so... The NetRW and its Tree view have a very specific use-case. It is designed to be used as a tethered explorer for the pane that it occupies. Using - to switch from an open buffer to NetRW allows you to choose which file is displayed within that pane. Project Drawer Tree Views have their place, and the best experience I've had is using NetRW+Vinegar along side another Project Drawer / Tree View File Explorer. The former allows you to quickly and easily select a new file to open, while the latter gives you an easy to digest overview of the project. Both work well together. NetRW is designed for the former, and even the maintainers are expressly against using Tree View and/or using it as a Project Drawer. The Oil and Vinegar vimcast has been referenced to death by many as a great in-depth article on NetRW and Vinegar. See More
Joseph Dalrymple's Experience
NetRW works fine in Tree view (:Vex and then press "i" a few times) See More