Ever stared at your computer screen, wishing for a cleaner, more personalized desktop environment? We’ve all been there. Quick Access stands out as one of the most pervasive features of the Windows 10 operating system. While handy for some, it might be a nuisance for others. Let’s dive into what Quick Access is and how to remove it.

What is Quick Access?

Quick Access is a feature introduced in Windows 10, designed to improve user navigation and file retrieval within the File Explorer.

Origins and Functionality:

Before Windows 10, users were familiar with the “Favorites” section in the File Explorer, which allowed them to bookmark specific folders and files for quick retrieval. Quick Access replaced this “Favorites” section but elevated its utility. Instead of just bookmarking files and folders, Quick Access automatically populates with recently accessed or frequently used files and folders.

How it Works

Upon opening File Explorer in Windows 10, Quick Access is typically the default view. Here’s what you’ll see:

  1. Recent Files: At the top, you’ll find a list of recently opened files. This list provides a quick way to revisit the latest documents, spreadsheets, photos, or other files you’ve opened.
  2. Frequent Folders: Below the recent files, you’ll find frequently accessed folders. These are directories you visit often, allowing for faster navigation back to places you visit regularly.


Although Quick Access makes automatic suggestions, users have the flexibility to pin or unpin any file or folder. This means if there’s a folder you always want to have readily available, you can pin it, and it’ll stay in Quick Access, regardless of how frequently you use it. Conversely, if there’s an item you don’t want appearing in Quick Access, it can be unpinned.


For those concerned about privacy – especially if sharing a computer – Quick Access might display sensitive or personal files. However, these can be easily cleared or the feature can be configured to not display recently accessed files.

Steps to Remove Quick Access

For users who want a more streamlined File Explorer experience or simply prefer not to have their recent and frequently used files displayed prominently, removing Quick Access can be advantageous. Follow these clear-cut steps to either disable or remove Quick Access from your Windows 10 File Explorer.

  1. Open File Explorer:
    Click on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar or press the Windows key + E simultaneously.
  1. Navigate to File Explorer Options:
    Once File Explorer is open, click on the “View” tab located at the top. 

From the ribbon, navigate to the right and click on “Options” to open a drop-down menu. From there, select “Change folder and search options.”

  1. Adjusting Settings in the General Tab:
    The above action will open the Folder Options dialog box. By default, you’ll land on the “General” tab.
  • Changing the Startup Behavior: If you don’t want File Explorer to open Quick Access by default, locate the dropdown menu labeled “Open File Explorer to.” Change the setting from “Quick Access” to “This PC.” 

This ensures that when you open File Explorer, you’ll see your PC’s drives and main folders instead of Quick Access.

  • Managing Privacy Settings: Scroll down to the “Privacy” section. Here, you’ll find options that control what appears in Quick Access. To prevent recent files from showing, uncheck the box labeled “Show recently used files in Quick Access.” 

To prevent frequently accessed folders from appearing, uncheck “Show frequently used folders in Quick Access.”

Once you’ve made your desired changes, click “Clear” to erase the current history of Quick Access, ensuring that previously accessed files and folders don’t appear the next time you open File Explorer.

  1. Apply and Confirm:
    After adjusting your settings, click on the “OK” button at the bottom of the Folder Options dialog box to confirm your changes.

By following these steps, you can either entirely remove Quick Access features or fine-tune them to better suit your personal preferences.


Quick Access, while being a potent feature in Windows 10 designed for user convenience, isn’t a one-size-fits-all tool. It excels at ensuring that your recent and frequently used files are just a click away, streamlining the navigation process within File Explorer. However, the very features that make it advantageous for some might make it seem cluttered or intrusive to others.