How to Fix: Quick Access to work like Favorites

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Tim H. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I just upgraded to Windows 10 recently and one thing that bothers me when I'm using File Explorer to browse my files is the 'Quick Access' section. Previously in Windows 7, this section was called 'Favorites', and contained only the shortcuts that I wanted listed. For example, I could go into c:\users\my user name\favorites and add a shortcut to my taxes folder. Now that I've upgraded to Windows 10, I'm stuck with Quick Access which not only shows my previous Favorites, but also includes a bunch of other junk - such as recently opened files and folder that I don't want listed there. This makes my Quick Access (which is actually my old 'Favorites') list longer than it needs to be, and much more difficult to find what I'm looking for. How can I make Quick Access perform more like the old style Favorites did in Windows 7? "

My response:

I was wondering the same thing and I agree with you - I don't want Windows 10 showing me the most recently used files I opened inside of Quick Access, as I find that to be an invasion of my privacy (especially if someone ever decides to use my PC). I use my Favorites in a similar manner as you describe, and I don't appreciate the extra 'junk', either.

Here's how to make Quick Access in Windows 10 perform more like the Favorites did in Windows 7:

  1. Click Start and type in "File Explorer" (no quotes); wait for the File Explorer icon to appear and click it.
     
  2. A File Explorer window will appear. Go to the top left of the window and click the File tab, then select "Change folder and search options".
     
  3. The Folder Options window will appear. The first item listed at the top says "Open File Explorer to" - select "This PC" from the pull down menu. This will make it so that the "This PC" section of File Explorer is active every time you open up a File Explorer window, rather than the Quick Access. This was the default behavior in previous versions of Windows.
     
  4. Next, look near the bottom of the window under the Privacy heading. Clear all the boxes so that they are not check marked - specifically, the ones that say "Show recently used files in Quick access" and "Show frequently used folders in Quick access".
     
  5. Click Apply, and then OK.
     
  6. If you want to edit what's listed in your Favorites folder, highlight the text below using your mouse:

    %USERPROFILE%\favorites

    Right click over top of the highlighted text and select Copy from the dialogue menu. Then, go to the Start Menu and press CTRL + V; this will paste the command (above) into the Start Menu, then press Enter on your keyboard and your Favorites window should appear. You copy and paste or drag and drop shortcuts into this window as you see fit.

Now you can test the changes. Click Start and type in "file explorer" (no quotes) and press Enter. A File Explorer window will open up and your most recently used files and folders won't be displayed under the Quick Access heading. Also, "This PC" will become active, instead of Quick Access.

I hope that helps.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

thedoorway's picture

Hi Dennis,

Thank you so much for all the good info you provide on your website. We all appreciate it.

Quick Access in Windows 10 is even easier to use than that. To begin with, Step 1 could simply be "Windows Key + e" instead of going through the Start Menu and typing, for those who are willing to use a keyboard shortcut. Windows Key + e directly and immediately opens the File Explorer, formerly called Windows Explorer, if I remember correctly, or, generically, the file manager.

I really like using Quick Access because I have many folders on an external drive that I use frequently, and having them listed there in the order I wish is very handy.

Anything currently on your Quick Access list that you don't want there can be easily removed by simply right-clicking over that item and selecting "Unpin from Quick access" from the pop-up menu.

Any folder or item that you want to put on your Quick Access list can be easily added by right-clicking that item within File Explorer and selecting "Pin to Quick access." You can do this at any time as you're working in File Explorer.

Also, you can reorder the items in your Quick Access list to your preferences by simply dragging them and dropping them where you want them. While dragging (with the left (main) mouse button, if your mouse is set for right-hand use), you'll see a black horizontal bar showing you where it's going to drop the item, so you know it's going where you intended. Once that bar is in the right place, release the mouse button.

Easy peasy.

Dennis Faas's picture

Believe it or not, I don't have a Windows key on my old IBM Model M keyboard. As such, your instructions would be problematic for some users - which is why I suggested going the 'long way' :)

mcleod55's picture

You can also just right click mouse and pin it to task bar and it's always in sight.