How to Disable Quick Access in File Explorer on Windows 10

Windows 10 introduced the Quick Access view to File Explorer. Whenever you open a File Explorer window, you’ll see a list of frequent folders and recently accessed files, as well as show frequent folders under the Quick Access item in the navigation pane. But you can disable all that if you don’t want to see it.

Quick Access works something like the old “Favorites” list in previous versions of Windows, letting you pin your favorite folders for easy access. That’s handy, of course, but many people don’t like that Quick Access list getting automatically populated with folders they use frequently. Many also prefer not to see a list of frequent folders and recent files every time they open File Explorer—or at the least, to have File Explorer open by default to “This PC” instead. If you fall into either of these groups, then read on as we show you how to get control of the Quick Access feature.

Make File Explorer Open to “This PC” Instead of Quick Access

Whenever you open a File Explorer window, you’ll see the Quick Access view, which provides access to frequently used folders and recently used files. If you’d prefer to go the more traditional route and view “This PC” instead, you can. “This PC” is more like the traditional My Computer view on older versions of Windows that displayed connected devices and drives. It also displays your user account’s folders—Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

To make File Explorer open to the “This PC” view, click the File menu, and then select “Change folder and search options.”

In the “Folder Options” window, click the “Open File Explorer to” dropdown and select “This PC” instead of “Quick access.”

And before you ask: no, Windows still doesn’t provide an easy way to have File Explorer automatically open to a folder other than Quick Access or This PC.

Stop Showing Favorite Folders or Recent Files in Quick Access

The Quick Access list takes the place of the old Favorites list. It really works the same—letting you pin favorite folders—but adds frequently-visited folders automatically to the list. You can turn that off, though, and use it just like the tried-and-true Favorites list if you want.

In File Explorer, click the File menu, and then select “Change folder and search options.”

In the “Privacy” section at the bottom, disable the “Show frequently used folders in Quick access” option.

You can now add your own favorite folders to the quick access list by dragging-and-dropping them there or by right-clicking a folder and choosing the “Pin to Quick Access” option. To remove a folder from quick access, right-click it and select the “Unpin from quick access” option.

 

Note that disabling showing frequently used folders removes them from both the Quick Access menu in the navigation pane and from the main Quick Access view you get when you open File Explorer or click the Quick Access folder.

While you’re on the “Folder and Search Options” window, you can also disable the “Show recently used files in Quick access” option to prevent the main Quick access view from displaying recent files.

If you disable both frequent folders and recent files from Quick Access, the main Quick Access view will only show favorite folders that you have pinned there.


The Quick Access view also appears in the traditional Save and Open windows. Tweaking any of the options we’ve covered will affect how Quick Access works in those windows, as well as in File Explorer.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.