You can remove the Add to favorites item from context menu in Windows 11 if you find no use for this feature. The Favorites section was first introduced in build 22593. There, Microsoft renamed Quick Access to Home in the File Explorer startup location. The Pinned files section then become "Favorites".
The new name is consistent with what OneDrive and Microsoft Office have, and is less confusing to the end user. By the way, the Quick Access naming is now used instead the "Frequent folders", yet the section itself retains its functionality.
So, if you are running Windows 11 version 22H2, you have the File Explorer looking like this:
💡 You can always check your Windows version by pressing Win + R and typing
winver in the Run box.
Add or Remove Favorites from Home in Windows 11 File Explorer
- Open File Explorer (Win + E) and navigate to the folder that stores your files.
- Select one or multiple files you want to add.
- Right-click the selected files, and select Add to Favorites from the context menu. The files will now be pinned to the appropriate section in the Home folder.
- To remove a file from Favorites, open the Home folder.
- Select one or more files under Favorites.
- Right-click the selection, and select Remove from Favorites.
Done. Files pinned to Favorites are searchable with the search box in Explorer. This also works for files that are not stored locally. E.g. you can quickly find a file on OneDrive, or Office files colleagues or friends shared with you. You can add or remove any file to the Favorites section of the Home folder in File Explorer.
However, some users don't like the idea of Favorites in the "Home" folder, so they never use it. For them, the Add to favorites context menu appears redundant. If you share this point of view, you may want to remove it.
The easiest way to remove Add to favorites from File Explorer menu is to apply a Registry tweak. If you don't like the idea of editing the Registry manually, then you can download ready-to-use REG files. The link is in the next chapter.
Remove Add to Favorites from Context Menu
- Right-click the Start button and select Run from the menu.
regeditin the Run dialog and press Enter.
- Now, go to the following key in the left:
- Right-click the pintohomefile key on the left and select New > String value from the menu.
- Name the new value as ProgrammaticAccessOnly, and hit Enter. Keep its value data unset (empty).
You have successfully removed the Add to favorites entry from the File Explorer right-click menu.
At any moment later, you can delete the ProgrammaticAccessOnly value from the Registry in order to restore the hidden context menu entry.
How does it work
The ProgrammaticAccessOnly value is a special Registry option that you can specify for any context menu entry. It does hide the item from the menu for the user, but doesn't prevent apps from accessing it.
This is a convenient way to customize menus on Windows. Unlike the direct removal of Registry keys, it allows you to hide anything you want, without breaking the functionality of apps that may rely the commands you hiding.
As promised, here are the REG files to save your time.
Download REG files
Download the ZIP archive with two REG files from this link. Extract it to any folder of your choice.
Now, open the file
Remove Add to Favorites.reg. If you see the User Account Control prompt, click on Yes in its dialog. After that, the Add to Favorites will be deleted from the context menu.
Note: If the Yes button is grayed out or missing in the UAC prompt, check out this solution.
To restore it at any moment later, use the undo tweak file,
Restore Add to Favorites.reg. It will re-add the command back.
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