Changing File Explorer Quick Access to This PC in Windows 10

  • Thread starter Newman
  • Start date


May 11, 2021
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I use File Explorer all the time. I click that little icon in the taskbar about ten times per hour for every single hour I work at my computer. I’m half expecting it to appear worn out as the years go on.

When you first unpack your new Windows 10 operating system and begin using it, you’ll notice a few applications already pinned to the taskbar. As I just mentioned, File Explorer is one of them. It looks like a folder.


If you click on this File Explorer shortcut, the File Explorer itself will open. And when it does, the default screen that it opens to is called Quick Access. The Quick Access view gives you a glance at your most recently used folders and files. Take a look. Mine is currently showing the 8 most recently used folders and the 20 most recently used files. Although, I have the files view collapsed.


I’ve been using this for a while, but I’m considering changing it. What’s happening is that I’m finding myself clicking on the This PC link in the left column more and more. Don’t get me wrong, I love Quick Access and I thank Windows 10 every day for it, but as my workflow changes, I’m starting to change where I click and what I need to look at. For example, I oftentimes use an external hard drive for photos and other media. The shortcut for this drive can be found in the This PC view. As that drive gets more popular, I’m going to want to change the default view of the File Explorer.

I did a little poking around and found that the default view can, in fact, be swapped out for something different. I figured I’d share the process with you today.

Open File Explorer To…​

To update the default view for the File Explorer, open the File Explorer from the taskbar or the Start menu. Then, click the View menu item in the top bar. This will expose a new menu. Inside the menu, you’ll find an Options button. Click that.


After you click the Options button, a dialog box will appear. Inside the dialog box, be sure to click on the General tab. The very first section in this dialog gives you the opportunity to select which view is visible when you launch the File Explorer. The default is Quick Access, but we can easily change it to This PC if we wanted to. Just select that choice from the drop-down and press the OK button down at the bottom.


Quick Access Privacy Options​

For many folks, the Quick Access view is perfect. Like I said, I may stay with it. The thing is, the default view is sort of revealing. It shows many of the most recent folders and files you were working in. On a home computer, this is no big deal, but if you constantly have people looking over your shoulder, you might want to changes these settings.

If you stay within the same dialog box and look towards the bottom of it, you’ll see a Privacy section.


Inside this area are a few choices. First, we can choose to view or to not view the most recently used files and second, we can choose to view or to not view the most recently used folders. Just check or uncheck the appropriate boxes.

Finally, you have the option to clear out both views altogether. To do this, click on the Clear button and when you’re finished, press OK.

I know it’s relatively simple to change views, but I think this is a helpful post. I can imagine many people wanting to do this. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!