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:

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 folderPress 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 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.

Support us

Winaero greatly relies on your support. You can help the site keep bringing you interesting and useful content and software by using these options:

If you like this article, please share it using the buttons below. It won't take a lot from you, but it will help us grow. Thanks for your support!


Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

  5. 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)

  6. 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: or my YouTube tutorials posted here:

    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

    1. 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 :-)

    2. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. Not being able to save to a recent folder has been driving me crazy since I got a new computer earlier this year, and I finally decided to spend some time researching a solution. I can’t believe it’s this complicated (complicated, but not difficult), but it works.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Why the heck would they remove this?

    Good one, thanks.

    STOP IMPROVING things in ways that break things….

  11. HELP PLEASE…I have always used the RECENT ITEMS & RECENT FOLDERS in my quick access. However, after a recent C: drive repair these 2 locations disappear when accessing Quick Access from withing a running app (ie…opening a file from within MSWord). The locations are present ONLY when accessing through file explorer.

  12. Additional:

    Save As dialog doesn’t typically display the Recent Items or Recent Folders shortcuts in the Quick Access panel, but if you click the panel and press F5 to refresh, then it shows them!

    Annoying but it works!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Using Telegram? Subscribe to the blog channel!
Hello. Add your message here.