How to add Recent items to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10

Windows 10 does not come with the Recent places option in the navigation pane of File Explorer like Windows 8 or Windows 7. Instead, it has the "Recent files" group inside the Quick Access folder. This is not at all convenient for users who were used to accessing Recent places with one click from the navigation pane. Today we will see how to add Recent items to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10.

We also covered how to add recent places to the left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10. I recommend you to read it, as it can be useful to have both Recent items (documents) and Recent Places in the left pane. Read the following article if you are interested:

How to add Recent places to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10

To add Recent items to the left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10, you need to do the following:

    1. Press Win + R shortcut keys together on the keyboard to open the Run dialog. Tip: See the complete list of Win key shortcuts available in Windows.
    2. Enter the following in the Run box:
      shell:Recent

Press Enter. Windows 10 shell recent

The command is a special shell command. For the full list of shell commands available in Windows 10, refer to the following article: List of shell commands in Windows 10

  • The Recent items folder will be opened in File Explorer: Recent items folder Press the Alt + Up shortcut keys together to go to the parent folder of "Recent items" in File Explorer. recent items parent folder
  • Right click the Recent items folder and pick Pin to Quick Access from the context menu. pin recent places to quick access

 

That's it. Now you have Recent items in the left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10. recent places pinned to quick access

This trick works in Windows 10 Technical Preview for now. It can stop working later if Microsoft decides to change things in the release version.

27 thoughts on “How to add Recent items to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10

  1. Shyam Reddy

    Good one Sergey! Thank you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

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  2. Rick

    This is really “Recent Items” though, which is a lot more than just folders so includes a lot of junk. I miss the true “Recent Folders” (just folders and maybe network shortcuts, as I recall) from older versions of Windows. Yes, a few of the most recent show up individually in Quick Access, but that’s not the same idea.

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  3. EJ

    This still works in the official release and it is completely AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I can’t function without my Recent Items. You should republish this so it gets bumped up in chronological Google searches. I know a lot of other people are looking for their Recent Items right now too!

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  4. BC

    Recent Files will show up in Save Dialogs under Quick Access but not Recent Folders. Frequent Folders are NOT the same as Recent Folders and this is seriously hurting my workflow. Hopw MS fix this soon.

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  5. will kessler

    Great to get this functionality back. thank you!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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  6. dotlizard

    This doesn’t work. I mean, it works, you can put the shortcut there, but then when you try to navigate there to save a file it tells you the folder is read-only. This is NOT “Recent Folders” as we knew it.

    Like BC noted, above, this is truly destroying my workflow. I used “recent folders” hundreds of times a day, I’d say 90 – 95% of the navigating I did, I did through Recent Folders. Frequent folders is USELESS. Recent items is USELESS.

    Why would Microsoft take away such a useful feature and replace it with nonsense?

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    1. Chris

      I completely agree dotlizard. I’ve been trying to find a way to use the frequent folders and recent items for the past couple of weeks to no avail. It’s completely useless! By the time what I need shows up in the those lists I’ve already moved on to something else. I need to be able to navigate to a folder I’ve just used quickly… and recent places did this perfectly.

      The solution that’s posted here does help somewhat but I find that it doesn’t actually show up in some of my save dialogs… it just depends on the program. Most of the adobe software is a no go though and that’s what I use the most.

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  7. Tim Vedanayagam

    Awesome ! Good stuff Sergey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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  8. andras

    It’s working nicely when I open file explorer, but it is still missing from under quick access in save dialogs-popups:-( Thats where it is really needed as file explorer is still so very lame (compared to tcmd)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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  9. ThePhinx

    I’ve figured out how to restore Recent Folders under Quick Access in Windows 10. Better yet, I’ve figure out how to how to also get Recent Folders and Recent Items working permanently in the Save As dialog boxes under Windows 10. If you’re interested, see my guides posted here: http://bit.ly/1ibFE4i or my YouTube tutorials posted here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_RFRX0C9s56-7RshMmuKPg

    Many thanks to Sergey for allowing me to post these tutorial links on his excellent blog site, Winaero. I hope you find these tutorials useful.

    – ThePhinx

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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    1. Roger

      This did it for me, thanks ThePhinx for working out this incredibly complex solution (and thanks to Sergy for creating this page which enabled me to find it in the first place :-) )

      How on earth you guys know this stuff is a mystery, to most people I know, I’m the guru (at httр://аdvаntа.рrо – quick plug!) but you guys are on another level totally, incredible. Many thanks :-)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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  10. FireDocUSMC

    Followed your instructions with illustrations “How to add Recent places to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10” and when I right click “Recent Items” to Pin to Quick Access, I receive “Unspecified Error” C:\Users\Doc\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

    If I go to the Recent Items Folder and right click to Pin a Folder to Quick Access I receive a RealPlayer Cloud Notification “You’re currently not logged in to RealPlayer Cloud. Would Like to Log In?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  11. ea

    this is amazing!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  12. Nick

    Excellent clear and concise instructions and worked a treat for me, many thanks!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome Nick

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  13. Doug McElroy

    This doesn’t even make sense! You are talking at first about bringing Recent Places back to Windows 10 users, but midway through your description, you change your spiel to a Recent Items link in the left column! Then a bunch of people start referring to Recent Folders. Recent Places is what we want. Recent Items is not at all as functional as Recent Places.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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  14. Fred

    File open? Save as? This is where I need recent folders most, bring it back MS!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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  15. shane

    Thank you so much! You are a hero!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  16. Salam

    Thank you very much!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Don’t mention it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  17. Bill Lindsay

    Hi,
    Clear easy to follow instructions. Many thanks but not just what I was looking for. MS have really screwed up so much with Windows 10. I am so sorry to have upgraded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  18. Enchantra

    Thank you. This was keeping me from upgrading to 10. Now we’re all happy

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  19. siaska

    Awesome, so easy, I was spending an extra 30 mins each day without this feature. Thank you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      you are welcome

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  20. Julie Milner

    thank you, thank you, thank you

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  21. Suntie

    Setting up new computer is painful. This was painless. Thank you very much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  22. Alison

    Thank you!!! You are the best!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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