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How to Retrieve Folders and Files with Windows Quick Access

Are you looking for a Microsoft Word document you created the day before or a folder containing an Excel file you opened last week? You can fully access them in File Explorer by going to the correct location and sorting your files and folders by modified date. But there is an easier way that you can try on both Windows 10 and Windows 11, which is to use Quick Access.

Retrieve folders and files with Windows Quick Access

Just launch File Explorer, and the Quick Access section will appear in the left sidebar of the window. Here, you will see a list of frequently used folders as well as files that you recently accessed. By default, the Quick Access section will always stay in this position. Depending on how many folders and files you’ve been working on lately, you’ll most likely find what you need.

 Quick Access

Also, by default, you will see system folders like Documents, Desktop, Downloads, and Pictures listed in Quick Access. Besides that, any files you’ve used in the past few days will also be listed here. Windows shows up to 20 folders and the 20 most recently used files in Quick Access.

To change what items appear in Quick Access, you can manually add or remove folders. In Windows 10, right-click the folder you want to add to Quick Access. From the menu that appears, click “Pin to Quick access“, and the folder will appear in the list of the most frequently used folders. In Windows 11, you right-click the folder and select Show more options > Pin to Quick access.

Pin to Quick access

To delete an item from a Quick Access folder, right-click the item. From the pop-up menu, select “Unpin from Quick access“.

Unpin from Quick access

What about your favorite files? While the sidebar only shows folders, you can click Quick access to view each recent file. If you want to remove a file from Quick access, right-click it and select the “Remove from Quick access” option.

“Remove from Quick access

Remember that Quick Access is really just a shortcut that links to folders and files stored elsewhere. Any items you remove from Quick access will remain in their original locations.

If you don’t like or have no need to use Quick access, you can remove it. In Windows 10 File Explorer, click the “View” tab at the top, then click “Options“. Windows 11 users can click the ellipsis icon in File Explorer, then select “Options“.

Change the entry to

A small options window will open. From the “General” tab, you will see the “Open File Explorer to:” entry set to Quick access. Click that and change the entry to “This PC“, then click OK. Quick access still exists, but now every time you launch File Explorer, you’ll see this PC at the top.

We wish you always have a good experience with Windows!

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