How to disable Quick Access in Windows 10 File Explorer

Quick Access is a new feature in Windows 10 File Explorer navigation pane. In Windows 8.1 Explorer Navigation Pane, you had Favorites, but now Quick Access seems to have replaced it. This feature is useful, as it helps users quickly navigate to locations which are frequently used by you, as well those, which were recently used by you.

Windows 10 users may have noticed that by default, File Explorer opens to Quick Access. Windows 10 allows power users to fine-tune the operating system to their liking, rather easily. It seems a majority of the user feedback to Microsoft centered around users demanding the choice to enable or disable different UI elements, easily. So if you wish, you can make File Explorer open to This PC instead of Quick Access.

If you wish, in the interest of Privacy, you can also disable Quick Access in the Navigation Pane, in a way. What you can do is stop Explorer from displaying the recently and frequently used files and folders there. Let us see how to do it.

Disable Quick Access – Do not show folders

To disable the Quick Access features, what you can do is disable showing of recently and frequently used files and folders in File Explorer.

To remove frequent folders and recent files list from Quick Access, open File Explorer, click on View tab in Ribbon and then click on Options, and then and then Change folder and search options, to open Folder Options.

Show recently used files in Quick Access

You’ll have to uncheck the following two check-boxes present under the Privacy section:

  1. Show recently used files in Quick Access
  2. Show frequently used folders in Quick Access

Click Apply and Exit. The action will instantly remove these two sections from Quick Access in File Explorer.

Clear Quick Access History

To clear your Quick Access history press the Clear button against Clear File Explorer History.

You can also Unpin the pinned items like Desktop, Downloads, etc. from the left side of the navigation pane.


In this way, you can prevent Windows 10 from displaying the recently and frequently used files and folders, in Quick Access and hence maintain your privacy.

See this post if Quick Access in Windows 10 is not working or broken.

If you need to troubleshoot any issues, feel free to visit our Windows 10 Forums.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Constantpush

    every time I right click anything in my quick access list my explorer restarts fast and closes all open windows, I cannot seem to find any info in this anywhere!!! please someone help!!

  2. Michael

    I would definitely suggest you do a System Restore to a time before this started happening. This will not affect any of your personal files, and it may solve the problem.

  3. Ramona Tse

    We had a problem using file explorer and quick access: the never-ending “working on it” message whenever we tried to access our files. The system never even got to the state where we could use the options menu to disable Quick Access… We ran McAfee Virus and found nothing, but Malware Bytes turned up many infections and resolved the problem!

    Our problems were caused by malware — and Malwarebytes took care of it. I’d advise anyone else having trouble to give this a try.

  4. shong

    how can i remove quick access from the side bar of the file explorer completely? i did the steps above to set file explorer to open on this pc and to stop tracking recently/frequently used, but that annoying Quick Access section is still there in the side panel and I just want it gone completely

  5. c smythe

    ok . . . but it is still there, occupying valuable real-estate, I want it and much other crap GONE.

  6. Greg

    I don’t have that because it happened more the n 10 days ago. Now what

  7. Chris

    Totally fixed my issue. Thanks!

  8. jp

    Click View, Navigation pane and uncheck Navigation pane

  9. Thoralf Dobs

    You can access the folder options faster if you just right click on “Quick access” and select “Options” , instead of using the View Ribbon ….

  10. Malachi

    This actually helped me more than the whole article! Thanks! (Nothing wrong with the article.. it was just a bit confusing. Right click “Quick Access” showed me the options and made sense.. now I could clear the history and make sure not to show me the recent files/folders anymore)

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