Recent places – add to the left pane in Windows 10 File Explorer

In Windows 10, Microsoft removed the widely used Recent places option from the navigation pane of File Explorer. Instead, it has the "Recent files" and "Frequent folders" groups inside the Quick Access folder. Many users who used Recent places found this change inconvenient, because your recently opened folders were just one click away. Today we will see how to add Recent places to the left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10.

Previously, we covered how to add recent items 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 items to left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10

To add Recent places 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.

The command is a special shell command. It will lead you directly to the Recent Places folder!

  1. The Recent places folder will be opened in File Explorer:
  2. Right click the Qiuck Access item in the navigation pane (left pane) and pick Pin current folder to Quick Access from the context menu:

That's it. Now you have Recent places in the left pane of File Explorer in Windows 10 under Quick Access.

This trick works in Windows 10 as of TH2 (Version 1511) update. It can stop working later if Microsoft decides to change things in the future.

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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.

24 thoughts on “Recent places – add to the left pane in Windows 10 File Explorer”

  1. Hi. It turns out that Microsoft has blessed File Explorer with some new (I dare say) undocumented tricks. One of them is the ability to run commands and programs from the File Explorer address (type) bar. In the example here, it is not necessary to do a Winkey + R. All anyone need do is copy the “shell” text shown in this article and then paste it on the address bar. Then press Enter. The necessary change is completed. Saves a whole step and is less complicated.

    It turns out the File Explorer “address” bar can run all kinds of commands: RegEdit, WinVer, cmd, executables, etc., etc., etc. I have no idea if there are any limitations but it appears to be able to completely replace Winkey + R. In other words, if someone is already in File Explorer and wants to register a dll they can probably do it from the “address” bar.

    This is an overused word but I’ll use it anyway. Cool!

      1. You may be right. I just read about this recently that it was kinda new so I did too. I can’t say it is willful ignorance because this is first time I read about this and I have run Windows since 3.1 (including Win 98). But even so, you may be right.

        In any case, it is a great feature and is very much underutilized. It is time for this “trick” to come out of the shadows!

    1. I tried entering this shell:::(22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99) in the address bar of File Explorer and got an error message “Windows can’t find the file …” Am i doing something wrong?

  2. I posted another comment above about installing this shell command. Today, while running a program, I needed to open a folder. The program popped up a folder selection window for me to do this. I immediately looked for the “Recent folders” (in the left pane) I added previously. “Recent folders” was not there!

    I decided to open File Explorer to see if it is still installed. It is. Is there a different shell command to show “Recent folders” in pop-ups? Or, some other way to fix this anomaly. (This is a bit weird because I am sure that File Explorer is used to create the pop-up in order to select a folder.)

    By the way, your initial discussion mentions “Recent places” numerous times but the screen shots only show “Recent folders”. Are they essentially the same and just a change in terminology?

    1. It was named as “places” in previous Windows versions, but in Windows 10 they named as “folders”.
      They have the same function.
      Can you show me a screenshot with that popup?

      1. I’m having the same issue. If I open a Windows Explorer it appears but for example in Microsoft Office/Excel it is not on the quick access section. It seems to only be there in an explorer window.

  3. Dear Sergey, I just upgraded to Windows 10 this morning. My favorite feature of W7 has been “Recent Places” and I was dismayed to not find it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. good but this “only” works when you open the explorer,
    ex:when you wanna download and save a file it doesn’t appear,same goes for software,
    when you try to open something in any software it doesn’t appear,
    it only works when you open files under the quick access,
    try to access it any other way and it doesn’t appear,
    recent pakces was most helpful when i was saving my downloads and i could access lots of folders at a glance
    is there any other way to fix this ?
    i really can’t understand why they changed it to frequently used folders.

      1. Hi! I’ve been having issues with the “Recent Folders” not showing up in my save as dialog menus or my open menus and it seems that others were having the same issues.

        Have you found a fix for this? We are operating the newest updated version of Windows10 , I believe it’s 1511.

  5. I just tried pinning both recent folders and recent items and both of them gave me an error (different error for both). For recent folders I get “The parameter is incorrect”. For recent items I get the pathname to recent and then the same “The parameter is incorrect”.

    This comment field would not let me paste the printscreen image.

    I have the very latest version of win 10. All updates as of yesterday (11-23-16)

  6. I get this when I enter the command into a command prompt:

    The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

    I copied and pasted the command. Has something changed since the info was published? (Today is 20180823, using W10 Pro V1709 OS build 16299.579 with all but August 2018 updates – pending possible 4th Tuesday updates.)

    (Note, I am not running with admin privileges because our corporate users do not have admin. I used command prompt because Win+R is disabled on corporate laptops. Based on the error I received, command syntax isn’t an admin issue.)

    1. I got this same error, when I tried it in the CMD prompt. Looking again, that’s not where he says to enter it. You have to get the RUN dialog window, by holding down WindowsKey-R. Then paste the script he gives in there, it worked for me.

  7. That was awesome help! (bad English) I have so missed that feature. Could you help me with adding ‘Recent FOLDERS’ when SAVEing an Office file? It offers you ‘Recent’ but that seems to be ‘Frequent’ rather than ‘Recent’. I want to save it in the folder I just saved the last two files.

  8. This doesn’t help in Windows 10 if you’re trying to use Save As, it only stays in the QuickAccess area if you’re simply opening File Explorer. If you use Save As, the Recent Files folder will not appear.

  9. There is a nice walkaround I found, no touching the registry, also does the save-as.
    You can do this via a search mask. Make a “saved search” shortcut in quick access.
    At any place in “This PC”, in the search box, run

    folderpath:”c:\users\the_user\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent Items” kind:folder -zip

    Save the search under the Save tab of the explorer to an arbitrary directory on your machine and pin this place to quick access.

    It finds ordinary non-zipped folders among all recent items in the hidden Recent Items directory, and is always available under the save-as dialog of any program, not only at the initial navigation panel of explorer.
    An apt thing is: you can modify the search params as you like, to limit the date, type, and other attributes of the recent items (google for them if unsure). Just save a needed search config, and pin it under quick access. You’ve got a customized “Recent Places” this way.

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