How to remove Quick access from File Explorer in Windows 10

Quick access is the new default location when opening File Explorer and it helps users by listing links of the most frequently accessed files and folders. This content is grouped by "Frequent folders" and "Recent files", and by default, settings can display up to ten folders and twenty files.

Although quick access is a good little feature in Windows 10, it may not be for everyone, so in this new how-to guide, we will go through the steps to remove it from the navigation pane in File Explorer.

Step 1

Warning! Before removing quick access, make sure to set File Explorer to access "This PC" by default. If you don't do this, after changing the settings you'll get an error like in the image below.

To do this, open File Explorer, navigate to View, click Options to access "Folder Options", and on the "General" tab, change Open File Explorer to "This PC".

Keep in mind that removing quick access doesn't clear the File Explorer history, as such this is a good time to disable Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folders in Quick access, and click the Clear button to erase the File Explorer history.

Then click Apply and OK.

Step 2

In this step we will give the local administrator accounts full control over ShellFolder, which will allow us to modify the registry keys located in this particular shell folder.

  1. Open the Windows Registry as an administrator by launching the Run command using the Windows + R keyboard shortcut, typing "regedit", and hitting Enter.
  2. Navigate to the following registry path: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID{679f85cb-0220-4080-b29b-5540cc05aab6}
  3. Now you need to change the permissions of ShellFolder, right-click ShellFolder, select Permissions, then click the Advanced button.
  4. At the top of Advanced Security Settings for ShellFolder, change the ownership of the folder to "Administrators". To do this, click Change, click Advanced, click the Find Now button, and from "search results" select "Administrators", then click OK, OK again, then Apply, hit OK, and hit OK one last time to close the ShellFolder Permissions box.

Step 3

With step 2 completed, we can now change the settings to remove quick access from File Explorer.

Inside "ShellFolder", double-click Attributes, and change data value from a0100000 to a0600000, and click OK.

Warning! Making changes to the Windows Registry can cause errors and other serious problems. Make sure to make a full backup of your PC before proceeding.

Step 4

You can now either restart Windows 10 or open the Task Manager, find and select Windows Explorer, and click Restart from bottom-right corner.

Now try to open the File Explorer and if everything worked as planned, you shouldn't see quick access on the navigation pane anymore.

If you want to see quick access again, simply follow step 3 again and change the data on Attributes from a0600000 to a0100000, and click OK.

Do you like the new Quick access feature in Windows 10? Leave your option in the comments below.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

69 Comments
  • !
  • 'Quick Access' just looks like renamed option of what I see as 'Favorites' when am on Win 7 laptop.
  • The fact that the Registry Editor icon isn't updated makes me a little sad. 
  • Why? It's perfect the way it is now - it's an experts tool, and not meant to be used by the ordinary users, hence it doesn't need any "fireworks". It needs to work and be functional, like it always been.
  • I mean somehow it's been neglected since Windows 98. :/
  • I hate quick access
  • It's basically the Favorites folder.
  • It does look nice without the Quick access.
  • Its nicer without the one drive, haha
  • It is sad, that is not simply turn on/off button right in settings...
  • yeah, having to edit the registry and potentially breaking Explorer is not a solution, it's a workaround
  • In fairness though, removing the "quick access" link from file explorer isn't really something that NEEDS to be done.  There is already a UI option to default to "This PC" and options to not track folders/files with quick access.  I don't see the point of editing the registry to remove the quick access link when you can just not click on it.  I don't use the links for browsing the network (I know the names of my computers so I don't need explorer to help me browse to them), but I don't try to modify explorer to hide the links I don't use.  I just don't use them.
  • That does NOT achieve the same objective.  I tried that first.  When that didn't get rid of Quick Access, I scoured the web and found the same instructions described above and that worked like a charm.
  • I don't like quick access
  • I think they must provide a switch to toggle quick access on or off.....
  • Quick access is nice, recent files is not
  • In step 3 when I change the attributes to "a060000" it says " cannot edit attributes: Error writing the values new contents".
    I followed all the steps to the letter... Any solution or work around??? I need quick access gone...
  • Make sure you're using an administrator account and make sure Administrators has full control over the ShellFolder. Thanks,
  • I am using an administrator account. But how to check if administrator account has full control over the shell account??? Please do explain
  • That is what the Step 2 does, to gain full control of the shell folder. You might have not done this step completely, try to go back to Step 2.
  • I had same problem I got it working by right clicking ShellFolder Selecting permissions select administrators from the top list then make sure Full control is checked off for administrators click ok then you should be able to set the Attributes key
  • thx! worked out for me! What can be done about file explorer from the start menu, it still shows recent folders. thx
  • excellent tip, was having the same problem (error) and your solution solved it in a snap, thanks!
  • The instructions are missing a step.  Reserch how permissions on Windows work and you will find what is wrong.  This is something you really should know how to do if you're gonna be mucking about w/ advanced settings and such.
  • What I would like for this, to be able to add a folder not to watch for. So if I open documents from one folder they will not show up. I share my computer with people in my home, but, I have some private Excel and Word docs I would prefer others or myself see when Windows Explorer is opened, so If I can set it to ignore one or 2 folders, I would use this feature..
  • "Excel" & "Word Docs" ........
  • If the people at your home are children or with little technical know-how... you can change the attributes in the file properties. Though Docs and Excel file are too boring for anyone to open and read but unwanted modificatiion is the real terror. Change its attribute to both 'read only' and 'hidden'. And uncheck 'show hidden files' in view tab of folder option. EDIT:  I understand now what you wanted to say, sadly you will have to install 3rd party softwares to hide or protect your file/folder.
  • How many times "Someone" tried to get this done?
  • I would like to see naked women instead of icons in windows explorer
  • But how do I install the only feature I ever wanted natively built into the file explorer... TABS!
  • I did that day one after the update.  It's ridiculous that we have to resort to a registry edit to get rid of a so-called "feature".
  • I mean, yeah you could go through all the trouble to remove it... or you could just take a few clicks and set Explorer to open to This PC instead by default. In explorer go to the View tab and click on the Options button.  The very top setting on the General tab will be Open File Eplorer To: Set it and forget it.
  • You'd have to really dislike Quick Access to go through the bother of this method.
  • God...those icons. Terrible. What is this .Windows 95?
  • I just wish there was universally away to disable all indexing and mru lists. I do it manually as I use new programs but it is a pain. I never want an application to track the history of what I am doing.
  • I use quick aceess so I have no problem with it being there in the File Explorer... and the rest is just one click away. AND I don't understand the complaints about the looks of the icons since I don't stare at them all day long to really care about their looks. As long as they are utilitarian, that's enough for me since all I do is just glance and click at them.
  • Qual o intuito de remover algo que facilita....
  • It is fasinating to study humans who don't like change or those who like to tweak their machines until they are unsuportable.
  • When saying that in Windows 10 "Microsoft is adding a number of changes to File Explorer", one should also mention that it's probably the lowest number of changes to their main file management tool in any Windows version ever! (not counting 8.1) I am honestly underwhelmed by the effort they put into an updated explorer shell for desktop apps.
  • hey guys,,i want to ask a question
  • that,what to do if windows 10 update is not showing
  • I seriously hated the Win 8 sidebar and all the silly magic stuff, all that actually ruined the Windows experience, coming from Win 7. Now i'm hating the quick access. I think Microsoft do it on purpose, to kill the enthusiasm. So instead of exploring the new features of the new OS, users actually spend most of their time searching ways  to switch off/disable the newly upgraded nuisances in every new microsoft product. Such irritating nuisances are always preferred over the finest features, e.g.  the Aero Glass effect was removed for whatever goddamn reason. Somebody is trying to eat Microsoft from insideout.
  • Alas, your fix breaks drag and drop functionality in the navigation pane. All of a sudden, I couldn't drag files from the right to the left Explorer pane or within the left pane anymore. It took me a while to track down the change that caused this bug, and it turned out to be this registry change :\
  • Same here! Can't drag 'n' drop files to navigation pane after this 'fix'. I reverted back using your instructions and drag 'n' drop works again!
  • And the thing is i could not change the attribute value since it is alerting me that you cannot change this value. Can i have a solution on this ?
  • Having made the changes which work fine on my user account I cannot access File Exe on my wifes user account? Help please!
  • I've changed the quick access through the options not to track new recently visited files/folders and tried to remove certain folders that I do not want to be there... but I have this BLANK document pinned at the bottom of the list that I can't get rid of, so annoying!  Is it there just say: "this could be a place for your new tracked documment"? 
  • Thanks for this awesome workaround! I HATE this 'Quick Access' item. Yet another shining example of how Microsoft tests things internally rather than with real first-time users. One correction with these instructions, though... in step 2, part 4, before the final "hit OK," you forgot a critical step -- click the checkbox for 'Full Access' under the Administrators permissions group. If this isn't checked, you'll be getting an access denied error. Thanks again!
  • Guys please please help me adjust this. I can't figure out how but would love to adjust the trees in the navigation bar the way I like it. I actually like the Quick acces tree there, but would like to add some trees. Anybody any idea where to find them in the registry?  This is how that tree is now/how I would like to have it:  o Quick acces (exactly as I like it) This PC C: D: Downloads Desktop o Desktop (Please help me adjust this tree!) OneDrive (no shortcut from this on my actual desktop WHY ARE YOU HERE!?!?!?) MyUsername (link to overview of pictures, appdata, documents, music, favorites, etc, Also not on desktop. Why here?? Would like this though as seperate tree) This pc (Is a shortcut on my desktop, so that's fine) Libraries (WHY HERE!?! again :) ) Network (Nope, shouldnt be there. Please where is this in the registry?) Configuration (Same.. where to find it?) Trash can (should be there) Map that is actually on my desktop 1 Map that is actually on my desktop 2 o MyUsername (Please help me find the right registry location for how to add this one) o This PC (And please how do I add This PC as singular tree here?)