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How to exclude files and folders from Recent files on Windows 10

Recent files or Quick Access as it’s called on Windows 10 will list all files and folders that you have been accessing frequently. For some, it’s a very useful feature, for others, its useless and can be turned off. Then there’s the middle ground where the feature itself is useful but you prefer it not list certain files and folders. Here’s how you can exclude files and folders from Recent Files on Windows 10.

Exclude files and folders from Recent files

In order for this to work, the file or folder in question must appear in Recent Files first. If it hasn’t shown up under Recent Files, you cannot force it to be excluded. To get an item to appear in Recent Files or Quick Access, open and close it repeatedly ten times and that should do the trick.

Once an item appears under Recent Files, right-click it and select Remove from Quick Access from the context menu.

To an average user, this might seem like a temporary fix whereby an item is being removed from Recent Files for now. Users expect that it will return if it is accessed repeatedly again but that is not the case. Removing it from Quick Access blacklists the file or folder and it will not appear in it again.

One thing you should know is that this ‘blacklist’ doesn’t apply to items under a folder. If you blacklist a folder, only that folder will be excluded from Recent Items. Any files in the folder may appear there unless you blacklist them as well.

Whitelisting items

Let’s say you’ve blacklisted an item so that it no longer appears under Recent Files or Quick Access. You later decide that you need it to be indexed and show up under Recent Items. The question is, how do you get it back? It’s fairly easy but comes with one downside.

To get the folder to show up, open File Explorer and go to the View tab. Select Options and select View Folder and search options. In the window that opens, click the Clear button at the very bottom of the General tab. When you next access the folder or file multiple times, it will start to show up in Recent Items.

As for the downside, this will remove all items that you’ve blacklisted under Recent Files and you will have to blacklist them again when they show up there. There is, as yet, no way to directly add and remove individual items from Recent Items.

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