Windows 10’s File Explorer has a new “Quick Access” view. Whenever you open a file browser window, you’ll see a list of “frequent folders” and recent files. This list of folders also replaces the old favorite folders list.
Microsoft is trying to be smart here, automatically suggesting lists of folders and files you frequently use so you can access them more quickly. But FIle Explorer can still work the old-fashioned way if you change a few options.
Make File Explorer Open to “This PC” Instead of Quick Access
Whenever you open a FIle Explorer window, you’ll see the Quick Access view, which provides access to frequently used folders and recently used files. (File Explorer was previously named Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows, but was renamed to File Explorer in Windows 8.)
But you might want to see the “This PC” view instead — it’s more like the traditional My Computer view on older versions of Windows that displayed connected devices and drives. It also displays your user account’s folders — Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos. This was the default view when you opened a File Explorer window on Windows 8.
To make File Explorer open to the This PC view, click the File menu, and select “Change folder and search options.” Click the “Open File Explorer to” box at the top of the window and select “This PC” instead of “Quick access.”
No, Windows still doesn’t provide an easy way to have File Explorer automatically open to another folder of your choice when you click its taskbar icon.
Restore Favorite Folders to the SIdebar
The Quick Access list takes the place of the old Favorites list at the top-left corner of your File Explorer window. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s actually just a slightly redesigned Favorites list. It contains favorite folders you can choose, which are the “pinned” folders. These will always appear in your Quick Access list. Windows also automatically adds frequently used folders to this list, presumably to help Windows users who never customize the Favorites with their most-used folders.
To make the Quick Access list function like the old favorites list, you just need to prevent it from showing the frequently used folders. To do so, click the File menu and select “Change folder and search options.” Under Privacy at the bottom of the window, uncheck “Show frequently used folders in Quick access.”
You can now add your own favorite folders to the quick access list by dragging-and-dropping them there. To remove a folder from quick access, right-click it and select “Unpin from quick access.” It’s still called the “Quick access” menu, but it functions identically to the old list of favorite folders.
Customize What Appears in Quick Access
When in the Folder and Search Options window, you can also choose to uncheck “Show recently used files in Quick access.” This will prevent the main Quick access view from displaying your recent files.
You could have File Explorer automatically open to a Quick Access view that just shows frequently accessed folders, or disable both options and FIle Explorer would automatically open to a Quick Access view that just displayed your pinned favorite folders.
The Quick Access view also appears in the traditional Save and Open dialogs, replacing the old Favorites list that only listed your favorites folders. Tweak the above options and it will function identically to the Favorites list on previous versions of Windows.