4 ways to remove “Recent files” in Windows 11 File Explorer or Start menu

In Windows 11, you will see recent files at the bottom of the Start menu or in “File Explorer”.

In the Start menu, this is called “Recommended”. These are recently opened files. It actually works the same as browser history. All opened folders or files in Windows are displayed in it.

There are a few options if you don’t want the recent files to be displayed in the Start menu or in File Explorer.

You can delete the contents of the recent files. The recent files section is displayed, but you can empty the recent contents of files and folders. In addition, you can set that this recent files section should not be shown in the explorer anymore.

It is also possible to remove the contents from the list of recent files in the Start menu (Recommended section) or File Explorer.

Finally, by adjusting the Windows registry, you can remove “Recent files” in File Explorer or empty the Recommended section in the Start menu.

How to remove recent files in Windows 11

Remove recent files in File Explorer

Should you want to delete the contents of the Recent Files list in File Explorer, you can do so in the following way.

Open the File Explorer. Click on the three horizontal dots to open the menu. In the menu click on Options.

File Explorer options

Click on the General tab and in the “Privacy” section at the bottom, you will see several settings. You can enable or disable the “Show recently used files in Quick Access”. Also, you can disable the “Show frequently used folders in Quick Access”. To clear the explorer’s recent files history, click on the “Clear” button.

Clear File Explorer history

If you have clicked the Clear button, you will immediately see that the “Recent Files” section in File Explorer is empty.

Empy recent files in File Explorer in Windows 11

Also, the “Recommended” section in the Windows 11 start menu is empty.

Empty recommended section in Windows 11 Start menu

How to remove a file or folder from the Recommended section in the Start menu or Recent files in File Explorer

Now if you would like to delete a single file or folder from the “Recommended” section or “Recent Files” in File Explorer you can do that too.

This is done by right-clicking on the reference and clicking on “Remove from List”.

Remove file or folder from recommended section in Windows 11

In File Explorer, right-click on the reference in the “Recent files” section and click the “Remove from Quick Access”.

Remove file or folder shortcut from File Explorer Quick Access

Remove recent files by turning off quick access in File Explorer

Quick access provides you with an overview of recent files. By disabling Quick Access in File Explorer, you remove the “recent files” section in File Explorer. Here’s how it works.

Open the File Explorer. Right-click the Start button and click Run from the menu. In the Run box type: regedit.exe

I recommend before proceeding to create a Windows 11 restore point.

If you have opened the Windows Registry app, copy the line below and paste it into the address bar below. Confirm with the enter key.

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

register editor path

Next, right-click on free space in the right panel and click New, then “DWORD (32-bit) value”.

Name this new value “HubMode” without quotes. Then double click on this “HubMode” value and change the value data to “1” without quotes. Click OK to confirm.

Create hubmode registry key

Restart the File Explorer, or open the File Explorer. Then click on the three horizontal dots in the ribbon, and click on “Options” in the menu.

Change “Open explorer in” to “This PC”.

Open File explorer in This PC

You will now see that “Quick Access” and “Recent Files” have been removed from File Explorer.

Remove Quick Access from File Explorer in Windows 11

Remove Recent Files from the Windows 11 “Recommended” section in the Start Menu

The Start menu in Windows 11 has been completely redesigned. It fits the minimalist look Microsoft has in mind for Windows 11.

All recently opened files and folders are listed in the “Recommended” section at the bottom of the Start menu. You cannot disable this section, but you can delete and disable the displayed content. Here’s how it works.

Right-click on the Start button. Then click Settings in the menu. On the left, click “Personalisation” in the menu and then click on “Start”. To stop displaying the contents of the “Recommended” section disable the following options.

  • Show recently added apps.
  • Display recently opened items in Start, Jumplists, and file explorer.

Disable show recently opened items in Start, jumplists and file explorer

I hope this has helped you. Thanks for reading!

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