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How to Customize Windows 10 Quick Access?

by Lisa Hayden
How to Customize Windows 10 Quick Access

How to Customize Windows 10 Quick Access

Windows 10 was a major upgrade from earlier versions of the OS introducing new features and replacing others to enhance productivity as well as the overall user experience. One of such improvements is the Quick access in file explorer. In this guide, you will learn the importance of Windows 10 Quick access and the various ways of using and customizing the feature to create a personalized user experience.

What is Windows 10 Quick Access?

Windows 10 Quick access is a section of the file explorer that displays a list of your recently accessed files, folders that you frequently use and pinned folders. As the name suggests, it brings folders that you use frequently within your reach, saving you time and the challenge of having to browse through folders each and now and then.

Opening Quick Access in Windows 10

Use the ‘Win +E’ keyboard shortcut to get into the File Explorer. You may do so by clicking the Start Menu and then file explorer icon (yellow folder).

Windows 10 file explorer is preset to open to “Quick Access”, the topmost directory of the explorer navigation menu.

If the file explorer is set to open to another directory, you can click “Quick access” located at the top of the left side pane of the file explorer 
LaunchQuickAccess

The area is divided into two sections:

  1. Frequent Folders - up to 10 frequently visited and user pinned folders.
  2. Recent Files - up to 20 files that you have opened recently order with the most recent at the top.

The list of folders and files in quick access are automatically updated by Windows, which keeps a record of your file and folder activities. However, Windows 10 allows users to customize Quick access in various ways to suit their preference.

Change the Default File Explorer Directory

You can reset the explorer window to open to “This PC” rather than “Quick access”. To do so:

Open File Explorer on your PC and go to the “View” tab. At the right-most edge of the view ribbon, expand the “Options” arrow and click “Change folder and search options”

FolderOptions


This will open the Folder Option window. At the top of the options, click the arrow next to “Open File Explorer to:” and select “This PC”.

Another way to open the Folder option is clicking the “File” menu at the top of the File Explorer window and then selecting “Change folder and search options” from the resulting menu <AlternativeMethod.png>.

Click “Apply” and the “Ok” at the bottom to save the changes 

ChangeDirecrory

Now restart the File Explorer to see whether it opens to “This PC”. 

You can control what the content shows in the Windows 10 Quick access view. This involves removing files or folders, clearing quick access history and hiding content in quick access view.

Pinning/ Unpinning Folders in Quick Access View

If you have, a folder that you would like to access easily you can pin the folder to permanently appear in the frequent folders section.

Open the folder location in File Explorer, right-click the folder and select "Pin to Quick access" from the resulting context menu.

PinFolder


The folder appears automatically in Quick access. It is important to note that the folder is not copied to Quick access, only a placeholder is created.

To remove a pinned folder, open quick access in file explorer.

Right-click the folder you want to remove and then click "Unpin from Quick access" 

UnpinFolder

Again, note that the folder is not deleted from its original location.

Removing a Recent File from Quick Access

You may want to remove a file from the list of recently accessed files to preserve your privacy or for whatever reason.

Right click the file in the Quick access "Recent files" section, from the context menu click "Remove from Quick access".

RemoveFile

The file will be removed from the list of recent files but will remain in its storage location.

Clear History and Hide Content in Quick Access

This option removes all the frequent folders and Recent files that Windows has populated in quick access but retains the pinned folders.

Go to "View > Options > Change folder and search options" to open the Folder settings window.

Click the "Clear" button at the bottom under the "Privacy" section.

If you want to hide the Quick Access content completely, uncheck the two options under the "Privacy" sections.

ClearHistory

Click "Ok” and then "Apply".

This will clear all the recent files and frequently accessed files from quick access apart from the pinned folders 

ClearQuickAccess

Clear everything from the Quick access view, repeat the process to unpin folders above and unpin all the pinned folders.

CleanQuickAccess

How to Remove Quick Access from File Explorer Navigation

You have noticed that clearing Quick access history will only remove the folders and files in the view pane but the directory remains in the navigation pane. Unfortunately, Windows 10 does not offer the option to remove the quick access feature completely. However if you want to remove the feature from file explorer navigation pane, you can still do so by modifying the system registry file.

Use ‘Win + R’ shortcut to launch the run tool, type 'regedit' and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.

Approve the request when the UAC prompt appears.

Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" keys.

On the right-side pane, look for "HubMode" DWORD value 

HubMode

If the value is missing from the list, create a new one. Simply right click an empty space on the right side panel, select "New > DWORD Value" and rename the new value to 'HubMode' 

NewValue

Now double click the value and edit the value data to ‘1’ 

EditHubMode

Close the Registry Editor and open the file explorer to confirm that the feature is completely removed.

RemovedQAccess

To add Quick access back to the File Explorer navigation, edit the data value of the HubMode back to ‘0’.

Conclusion

The Windows 10 Quick access is undoubtedly a helpful feature that allows users to access the folders they use frequently with ease. The tool keeps files that you have recently worked on within reach and enables you to pin favorite folders in one place saving the time you would have used browsing through multiple folders.

The above article shows you how to customize Quick access in Windows 10 to enhance productivity as well as your privacy. You can as well remove the feature from the File Explorer navigation to maintain a clean interface.

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