The behaviour you are describing is caused by a bug in netrw, which is the plugin handling the file browsing.
Updating to the latest version of the plugin fixes this behaviour.
To do so, just download the latest version of netrw, open it in vim and source it. Doing so will extract the plugin into your
~/.vim directory, where it will be loaded before the system's buggy version.
Download the file:
Open it in
In vim, source it:
Afterwards, close vim. Then, enjoy browsing directories again.
Update: On one box, this gave me an error about not being able to close the last window. Had no effect on the plugin, which worked flawlessly afterwards.
2nd Update: This version of netrw expects a version of vim with the clipboard capability.
You can check if your version has it by running
vim --version. The output will probably have
-clipboard in there, which means the capability is not enabled.
To get a version compiled with clipboard support, install any version of vim with a GUI, which will also replace your normal
vim with a version with clipboard support. I used vim-gtk as a test case.