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How to Clear Recent Files History in File Explorer

Windows automatically logs all your frequently accessed files and folders. Here’s how to clear recent files and folders list in File Explorer.

Every time you open a file in Windows, it keeps track of and logs it. You can think of it as File Explorer’s ‘recent files history.’ Windows shows the frequently used files in various places, like the Start menu, File Explorer, etc., to help you access them quickly.

As helpful as it is, having frequently used files and folders show front and center can be inconvenient. If you don’t like this behavior, you can clear recent files and folders list in File Explorer and stop File Explorer from tracking recent files.

As with many things in Windows, there are multiple ways to clear recent files history in File Explorer. All methods achieve the same result. I will show two methods. The first uses the built-in File Explorer options, and the second uses the PC Settings app. Use the one you are comfortable with.

Related: How to remove Quick Access from File Explorer.

Table of contents:

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Clear recent files history from File Explorer options

You can use File Explorer’s “Folder Options” to delete recent files history. Here’s how.

  1. Open the File Explorer.
  2. Click the “Menu” icon.
  3. Select “Options.”
  4. Press the “Clear” button.
  5. Uncheck the “Show recently used files” option.
  6. Uncheck the “Show frequently used folders” option.
  7. Untick the “Show files from Office.com” option.
  8. Press the “Ok” button.
  9. Close the File Explorer.
  10. With that, the recent files history is cleared in File Explorer.

Steps with more details:

First, open File Explorer by searching for it in the start menu or pressing the keyboard shortcut Win + E.

In the File Explorer, click the “Menu” icon (three horizontal dots) on the top bar and choose the “Options” option.

Windows 10 users should click the “View” tab and then the “Options” button.

click options button

The above action opens the Folder Options window, where you can customize how File Explorer works in Windows. Ensure you are in the “General” tab and click on the “Clear” button under the Privacy section to clear recent files and folders in File Explorer.

click clear button to clear recent files history in file explorer

To stop File Explorer from tracking and logging your recent files, uncheck both the “Show recently used files in Quick Access” and “Show frequently used folders in Quick Access” options.

uncheck check boxes

Click the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons to save changes.

That is all. When you click the Clear button, File Explorer will delete recent files and folders list.

As I said, if you don’t want File Explorer ever to show recent files and folders, uncheck the two/three checkboxes under the Privacy section.

Related: How to clear File Explorer address bar history in Windows

Clear recent files in File Explorer using the Settings app

You can also use the PC Settings app to clear recent files history in File Explorer.

  1. Press “Win + I” to open Settings.
  2. Click on “Personalization.”
  3. Go to the “Start” page.
  4. Turn off the “Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.
  6. Reboot the computer.
  7. With that, you’ve disabled File Explorer’s recent files history.

Steps with more details:

Open the PC Settings app by pressing the keyboard shortcut Win + I. Alternatively, you can also click on the “All Settings” button in the Action Center.

In the Settings app, go to the “Personalization -> Start” page. On the right page, turn off the “Show recently opened items in Jump lists on Start or the taskbar and in File Explorer Quick Access” option.

When you turn it off, Windows will clear the recent file and folders in File Explorer and disable the feature. To make sure the changes are applied, reboot the computer.

turn off recent items in pc settings app

That is all. It is that simple to clear recent files history in File Explorer.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

Related: How to open multiple File Explorer instances in Windows.

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