How To Stop Windows 10's File Explorer From Showing Recent Files & Folders

Windows 10 shows you the Frequent folders and Recent files sections by default when you open the File Explorer. While this feature can be useful if you need quick access to your frequent resources, it might also be a bit of an annoyance if you're using a shared computer, for instance, and don't want other people to see what you're working on. Luckily, this feature can be disabled if you don't need it, so read on to learn how to do this.

How To Hide The Recent Files And Frequent Folders Sections

The first thing to do when getting rid of the recent files and frequent folders displayed in the File Explorer is identifying them and making sure they are not pinned. You can identify the pinned items by the small pin icon shown under each item. For instance, in the image below, the Desktop, Downloads, Documents and Pictures folders are pinned. The other items are not, which means they can be hidden from sight.

Important: Even if you disable the two sections, items pinned to the Quick access toolbar will still be displayed, so make sure you unpin them if you want them not to be shown. For a quick guide on how to pin or unpin items to the Quick access section from Windows 10's File Explorer, check this article: How To View, Pin & Unpin Items To The Quick Access Section Of File Explorer In Windows 10.

To stop Windows 10's File Explorer from showing these two areas, you must first get to the Folder Options section. There are two easy ways of doing this:

  1. Go to the View ribbon section and click or tap the Options button.
  2. Right click or tap and hold on the Quick access section on the File Explorer sidebar and select Options

Once you're in the Folder Options section, disable the Show recently used files in Quick access and/or Show frequently used folders in Quick access options at the bottom of the window.

If you only wish to clear the files and folders displayed there but keep the sections enabled, simply click the Clear button.

Click Apply and OK after changing the settings to make sure they get set.

That's it! The recent files and frequent folders should now be gone from view and you should now see the File Explorer populated only by the pinned items.


Another day, another Windows 10 tutorial, right? Now that you know how to hide recent files and frequently used folders from File Explorer, you should be able to make better use of this option offered by Windows 10 and easily configure it according to your preferences.

We'd love to hear what other issues you're encountering with Windows 10, so drop us a comment below and we'll do our best to help you out!