Customise File Explorer in Windows 10 with these tweaks

Give File Explorer in Windows 10 a makeover

Windows Explorer is dead. Windows 10 has replaced it with File Explorer, which is almost identical, but it has some new features too. Here are a couple of tweaks to make it even more useful.

Windows 10 File Explorer

Click the File Explorer icon in the taskbar in Windows 10 or select the menu item in the Start menu. The default display that you see in the File Explorer window can be changed and this could make it easier, more convenient or more private.

The default view for File Explorer automatically selects Quick access in the left panel and on the right in the main part of the window are pinned folders in the top half and recently accessed files in the bottom half. Is this default view the best? It is not fixed and it can easily be changed to an alternative one. For example, you can show or hide recent folders and show or hide recent files. (In theory anyway).

You don’t need to show Quick access at all and the startup screen can show something else.

Click View to show the ribbon, click Options in the toolbar and select Change folder and search options.

 File Explorer

In the Folder options window that appears, look in the Privacy section at the bottom and there are tick boxes to enable or disable showing recently used files and folders.

 Windows folder options

If is up to you whether you show them or not. This is a privacy issue because someone else that has access to your computer or someone standing behind you while you are using your computer, can see which files you recently accessed.

An interesting fault occurred here on my PC and both boxes were ticked to show recent files and folders, but the recent list in the File Explorer window was empty. I suspect that this may have been because I used O&O ShutUp10 a while back to change some privacy settings. Clicking the Restore Defaults button brought the recent file/folder list back to life.

It is worth remembering that Restore Defaults button fixes some Explorer faults.

The other tweak concerns the startup view. When File Explorer opens, it displays the Quick Access view, but the menu at the top of the Folder Options window enables This PC to be selected instead. On opening File Explorer, important folders are displayed like Documents, Music, Pictures and so on, but instead of recent files showing, the PC’s disk drives are displayed instead. Try it, you might find this startup view more useful.

The result of selecting This PC for the startup can be seen below. Compare it to the image at the top of the page.

 Windows File Explorer

With these slight changes, File Explorer can be made just a tiny bit easier to use. Every little bit helps.


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