I have to use Windows 10 when I’m teaching, and I’ve found that the new Quick Access option in File Explorer is confusing the hell out of my students.
Quick Access is like the old ‘Recent Places’ in Windows 7, except that in Windows 7, you control whether you see those recently accessed files and folders or not. In Windows 10, the ‘Quick Access’ function displays recent places by default, and they always appear at the top of the navigation tree. Essentially they are duplicating some of the files and folders shown under ‘This PC’, making my students wonder:
- Which version of a file or folder should they use?
- And if they do use the handy Quick Access area, why doesn’t it show ALL of their files and folders?
- Have those other files and folders been lost?
For beginners, this duplication only leads to confusion and makes understanding how to save and retrieve their work even harder. For this reason, I told them to ignore Quick Access and go straight to ‘This PC’.
Why? Because only in ‘This PC’ will you find all the files and folders stored on your computer.
Sadly, it’s hard to ignore Quick Access when it’s the first thing you see and you have to scroll way down the screen before you can even see ‘This PC’. To solve this problem, I went searching for a way to tame Quick Access without requiring the powers of a super geek to do it. And here it is:
Open File Explorer.
Click the File button [or tab] on the File Explorer toolbar as shown:
You should now see a menu of options. Click ‘Change Folder and search options’ as shown:
You should now be looking at a popup menu of Folder options. The first option on the General tab is ‘Open File Explorer to:’ Quick access’. To change this option, click the small arrow next to ‘Quick access’ as shown:
You should now be looking at the two available options – Quick access and This PC. Click the option for ‘This PC’ as shown:
Now, File Explorer will automatically go down to ‘This PC’ whenever you open it.
Quick Access is still there, and it’s still saving a ‘history’ of every folder you’ve opened and every file you’ve created or edited. In other words, the confusion continues.
To stop Quick Access from continuing to duplicate your movements, you’ll have to stop it from saving that history. With Folder options still open, go down to ‘Privacy’ and untick the two options shown there:
File Explorer will no longer track what you do on your computer, but your past movements are still there, in Quick Access. To clear everything out of Quick Access you have to clear out the history as shown below:
Once you click the ‘OK’ button, all of the File Explorer history will be gone from Quick Access, and it won’t come back!
There doesn’t appear to be any way of getting rid of the Quick Access option entirely, but at least now it won’t duplicate every thing you do on your computer, and you will be in control of what you see on File Explorer. 🙂