How-To

How to Customize Quick Access Folders in Windows 11

Windows 11 Featured

Quick Access in File Explorer provides quick and easy access to frequently used folders. We’ll show you how to customize Quick Access in this guide.

Quick Access in File Explorer provides quick and easy access to frequently used folders on a Windows 11 PC. Folders you use often are dynamically added, but you can also pin other folders to your Quick Access area.

Today, we’ll show you how to customize Quick Access by pinning folders and how to unpin folders, hide Quick Access, and permanently remove the Quick Access feature from File Explorer.

Quick Access folders in File Explorer

How to Pin Quick Access Folders in Windows 11

To pin a folder to Quick Access in File Explorer, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains the folder you want to add.
  3. Right-click on the folder and select Pin to Quick Access.
    NOTE: You can also drag and drop the folder to the position in the Quick Access list where you want it to display.
  4. Select Pin to Quick Access in File ExplorerThe folder you selected displays under Quick Access in File Explorer with a thumbtack icon next to it.
    NOTE: You can reorder the Quick Access list by dragging and dropping the folders within the list.
    Pinned folder in Quick Access

How to Unpin Quick Access Folders in Windows 11

If you have a folder you’ve previously pinned to Quick Access and you don’t want it there anymore, you can unpin it.

To unpin a folder in Quick Access, follow these steps.

  1. Right-click on the folder under Quick Access in the left pane.
  2. Select Unpin from Quick Access.
    Select Unpin from Quick Access in File Explorer
  3. The folder is removed from Quick Access. It may reappear in Quick Access as a dynamically added folder if you still access it often. But it won’t be pinned anymore.

How to Hide Quick Access in Windows 11

By default, File Explorer opens to Quick Access, but you can change this behavior and show This PC instead of Quick Access. This PC is a way of viewing files and folders in File Explorer view from older versions of Windows that displayed connected devices and drives and your user account folders, like Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

If you don’t want to use Quick Access, you can hide it in File Explorer. To make File Explorer open to “This PC” and hide Quick Access, follow these steps.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click the See more menu (three dots icon) on the toolbar and select Options.

Select Options in File Explorer

  1. On the Folder Options dialog, make sure the General tab is active.
  2. Select This PC from the Open File Explorer to drop-down list.
  3. Click OK.
    Open File Explorer to This PC
  4. You will still see Quick Access in the left pane, but the right pane will show Folders and Devices and drives.

File Explorer open to My PC instead of Quick Access

How to Stop Showing Dynamically Added Folders in Quick Access

In addition to showing pinned folders in Quick Access, File Explorer dynamically adds folders that you use often and changes the list as you access different folders.

If you only want to see pinned folders in Quick Access, use the Options in File Explorer. Follow the steps below.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click the See more menu (three dots icon) on the toolbar and select Options.Select Options in File Explorer
  3. On the Folder Options dialog, make sure the General tab is active.
  4. In the Privacy section, uncheck the Show frequently used folders in Quick Access box.
  5. To make sure there are no other folders visible in Quick Access other than your pinned folders, click Clear next to Clear File Explorer history.
  6. Click OK.
    NOTE: You can also uncheck the Show recently used files in Quick Access box to hide the Recent files list.
    Disable Show frequently used folders in Quick Access
  7. Now only your pinned folders display under Quick Access in the left pane and under Folders on the right.No frequently used folders in Quick Access
  8. In the image below, we’ve disabled both the Show recently used files in Quick Access option and the Show frequently used folders in Quick Access option.No Recently used files showing in File Explorer
  9. Any settings you change for Quick Access also affect the view on the traditional Save As and Open dialogs.Save As dialog in Word with Quick Access

How to Reset Quick Access Folders in Windows 11

If you’ve pinned a lot of folders and you also have a lot of dynamically added folders in Quick Access, you may want to reset the list and start from scratch.

There are two ways to reset the Quick Access folders in File Explorer.

How to Reset Quick Access Folders from Within File Explorer

To reset Quick Access folders while in File Explorer, follow these steps.

  1. Copy the following location and paste it into the address bar in File Explorer:
%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations

Go to AutomaticDestination folder in File Explorer

  1. Locate the f01b4d95cf55d32a.automaticDestinations-ms file under the AutomaticDestinations folder. You can copy the file name from here and paste it in the Search box in File Explorer, as shown below.
  2. Select that in the file list and press the Delete key to delete it.

Delete file to reset Quick Access

  1. Close all open Explorer windows.
  2. Open a new File Explorer window. All the folders that you manually pinned and the dynamically added folders are gone.

Quick Access folders reset in File Explorer

How to Reset Quick Access Folders Using the Command Prompt

If you prefer using the Command Prompt, you can easily reset Quick Access using the del command.

To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Close all open File Explorer windows.
  2. Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog.
  3. Type: cmd in the Open box and click OK.

Open Command Prompt

  1. Copy the following command.
del /f /q "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations\f01b4d95cf55d32a.automaticDestinations-ms".
  1. Right-click on the prompt line in the Command Line window. The command is automatically pasted.
  2. Press Enter.

Delete file to reset Quick Access using the Command Prompt

  1. Open File Explorer.

Just like the File Explorer method, all the folders that you manually pinned and the dynamically added folders are gone.

How to Permanently Remove Quick Access Folders in Windows 11

If you really don’t like Quick Access, you can permanently remove the feature from File Explorer.

You must be logged into a Windows account with administrative privileges before removing the Quick Access feature.

NOTE: The Registry Editor is a powerful tool that can render your system unstable or even inoperable if misused. This is a simple change and if you follow our instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. But make sure you back up the Registry and back up your computer before making changes.

You should also make a System Restore point before continuing so, if something goes wrong, you can always roll back.

To permanently remove Quick Access from File Explorer, follow these steps.

  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type: regedit in the Open box and click OK.

Run the Registry Editor

  1. Click Yes if the UAC message displays.

User Account Control (UAC) dialog

  1. Copy and paste the following location into the address bar at the top of the Registry Editor window.
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
  1. In an empty area of the right panel, right-click, select New, and then select DWORD (32-bit) Value to create a new string.

Create a new DWORD value in the Registry Editor

  1. Type: HubMode as the name for the new string.

Rename new DWORD value in the Registry Editor

  1. Double-click on the HubMode string.
  2. On the Edit dialog for the string, type: 1.
  3. Leave the Base option on the default setting of Hexadecimal.
  4. Click OK.

Edit Value dialog in the Registry Editor

  1. Restart your computer or sign out of your account and sign back in for the changes to take effect. The Quick Access feature is now gone from File Explorer.

Quick Access removed from File Explorer

  1. To enable Quick Access again, go back into the Registry Editor and delete the HubMode key you created. Restart or sign out and back in to restore Quick Access.

Improve Your Productivity with Quick Access

Quick Access is a very handy feature if you use File Explorer to access your files and folders. Customizing it can improve your productivity and allow you to concentrate on your work.

If you’re having trouble with File Explorer in Windows, we have seven fixes you can try.

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