How to Disable Recent Files and Frequent Folders List in Windows 10

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to protect user privacy by disabling recent files in Quick access in Windows 10.

Windows 10 introduced some new features that many might find embarrassing especially when someone is able to view your recent activities which you wanted to keep private.

With Windows 10, File Explorer (previously known as Windows Explorer) opens to the frequent folders and Quick access files pane by default. Every file or folder recently opened or accessed is displayed in this page.

For privacy reasons, some folks find these settings concerning.

To disable Recent files in File Explorer follow the steps below:

Windows 10 File Explorer

The first step is to log on to your Windows 10 machine and open File Explorer. File Explorer is accessed from the folder icon next to the start button on the bottom task bar.

When File Explorer opens, click the View tab, then Options as shown in the image below.

Windows 10 Quick access files

Turn off Quick access below under Privacy:

  • Show recently used files in Quick access
  • Show frequently used folders in Quick access
windows 10 quick access privacy

While there, also click the Clear button to delete the File Explorer history of existing listings.

On the same dialog box, change where File Explorer opens. Instead of opening to Quick access, change File Explorer to open to This PC as shown in the highlighted image below.

file explorer open to this PC

Click OK close out and save your changes.

Doing this will prevent Windows 10 computers from showing your frequently or recently used files and folders, which may become a privacy issue.

To re-enable, go back to the Folder Options panel and click the Restore Defaults button and click OK.

That’s it!