How to Turn Off Recent Files in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning off the recent files feature in Windows 11 is a straightforward process. You’ll need to access the File Explorer settings and tweak the privacy options. This will ensure that your recent files no longer appear, giving you an extra layer of privacy.

How to Turn Off Recent Files in Windows 11

In this section, I’ll guide you through the steps to disable the recent files feature in Windows 11. By the end of these steps, your recent files will no longer be displayed in File Explorer.

Step 1: Open File Explorer

First, open File Explorer by clicking on the folder icon in the taskbar or pressing Win + E on your keyboard.

When you open File Explorer, you’ll see the default view showing Quick Access. This includes recent files and frequently used folders.

Step 2: Access the File Explorer Options

Next, click on the "View" tab at the top of the File Explorer window, then select "Options" from the dropdown menu that appears.

By clicking "Options," you can access settings that control how File Explorer behaves, including privacy settings.

Step 3: Modify Privacy Settings

In the Folder Options window, navigate to the "Privacy" section at the bottom.

This section contains options to show recently used files and frequently used folders in Quick Access.

Step 4: Uncheck Recent Files Option

Uncheck the box that says "Show recently used files in Quick Access."

Unchecking this option stops recent files from being displayed in Quick Access.

Step 5: Apply and Save Changes

Click "Apply" and then "OK" to save your changes.

Applying these changes ensures that recent files will no longer appear in your Quick Access view.

After completing these steps, your recent files will no longer show up in Quick Access. This action helps maintain your privacy, especially on shared computers.

Tips for Turning Off Recent Files in Windows 11

  • Clear Existing History: After unchecking the box, clear your existing recent file history by clicking the "Clear" button next to the privacy options.
  • Check Frequently Used Folders: If you want to hide frequently used folders as well, uncheck the box for "Show frequently used folders in Quick Access."
  • Regularly Review Settings: Periodically review these settings to ensure they haven’t been reset by system updates or other changes.
  • Use Privacy Software: Consider using additional privacy software to manage history and cache files.
  • Customize Quick Access: Customize Quick Access by pinning and unpinning folders you use regularly for a more personalized experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Turning Off Recent Files in Windows 11

How can I open the Folder Options window?

You can open the Folder Options window by clicking on the "View" tab in File Explorer and selecting "Options."

Will this delete my recent files?

No, this will not delete your files; it simply stops them from appearing in Quick Access.

Can I turn recent files back on?

Yes, you can re-enable recent files by going back to the privacy settings and checking the "Show recently used files in Quick Access" box.

Are there other ways to access recent files?

Yes, you can access recent files through specific applications like Word or Excel, which maintain their own recent file lists.

What happens to the pinned items in Quick Access?

Pinned items in Quick Access will remain unaffected and continue to be displayed.


  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Access the File Explorer Options
  3. Modify Privacy Settings
  4. Uncheck Recent Files Option
  5. Apply and Save Changes


Turning off recent files in Windows 11 is a simple yet effective way to maintain your privacy. By following the steps outlined, you can ensure that your recent activities are not easily accessible to others who might use your computer. This feature is particularly useful if you share your device with family members, colleagues, or friends.

Moreover, taking control of your privacy settings is a smart move to keep your digital workspace tidy and secure. If you found this guide helpful, consider exploring other privacy and customization options available in Windows 11. Keeping your system tailored to your needs not only enhances your user experience but also protects your personal information.

In a world where privacy is increasingly important, knowing how to manage your settings effectively is a valuable skill. So, go ahead, tweak those settings, and make Windows 11 work for you!

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