How to Hide or Unhide Recent Files from Quick Access in File Explorer on Windows 11

Files list

Easily remove or clear recently accessed files from showing up in File Explorer or the Start menu.

One of the many convenience features of Windows 11 is the Recent Files feature. Windows 11 lists the last 20 files you have accessed under the Recent Files section in the Quick Access directory automatically for you. The OS does this so when the need arises, you can quickly get to your recent files.

Now, the issue with this feature is, anyone can view these files. If you share your computer with your family or peers, they can see which files you have accessed if they visit the Quick Access directory. This can lead to unwanted exposure of confidential or personal information. Windows 11 also lists recent files and also apps under the Recommended Section in the Start Menu.

Do not worry as there are numerous ways you can use to hide or disable this feature if you see fit. This quick and easy guide will take you through the necessary steps required to make it happen.

Hide or Unhide Recent Files and Frequent Folders from Quick Access

First, launch the ‘File Explorer’ by clicking on the Folder icon on the Taskbar.

The File Explorer opens in the Quick Access screen by default, but in case it doesn’t, click on the ‘Quick access’ option at the top of the left pane to open it.

From the Quick Access screen, click on the ‘Menu’ button (three dots) in the File Explorer toolbar area.

Click on ‘Options’ from the menu items.

A new window will appear called ‘Folder options’. Under the Privacy section, you will find the two options saying ‘Show recently used files in Quick Access’ and ‘Show frequently used folders in Quick Access’. Uncheck both boxes and click on ‘Ok.’


When you want this feature back, just head over to the Folder options menu again and check the two boxes and hit okay. Now the files you’ve accessed recently will begin to appear again.


Clear Recent Files and Frequent Folders from Quick Access

If you don’t prefer to disable this feature once and for all, there is an option to clear the Recent Files section manually for one time while you keep the feature enables for ease of access.

Go to File Explorer > Menu > Options to launch the ‘Folder options’ window. Then, under the ‘Privacy’ section, click on the ‘Clear’ button.

This will delete all recently accessed or created files from the Recent Files section in File Explorer.


Remove File(s) from Recommended Section Start Menu

The Start Menu in Windows 11 also shows recent files and along with it, the recent apps that you’ve used. If you don’t want anyone to know about your activity, you can remove recent files and apps that appear here as well.

To remove a single recent file or app from Start Menu Recommended section, you can right-click on the particular file or app and select the ‘Remove from list’ option from the context menu.

This will remove that particular file or app from the list. You have to repeat this process for every file or app you wish to remove.

Alternatively, you can simply disable recent files and apps from showing in the Start menu and nothing you do on your PC will ever show up in the Recommended section.

First, press the Windows key and click on ‘Settings’

Now, click on ‘Personalization’ from the left panel.

Scroll down and click on the ‘Start’ option from the available items.

The third option will be ‘Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer.’ Click on the toggle switch next to it to turn it Off.

Now your recently opened files and apps won’t appear in the Start menu.


These are the methods you can use to hide or unhide Recent Files from the Quick Acess directory and also the Start Menu. We hope this guide serves you well.