In Windows 7 it was as easy as typing in the Start menu ("Search programs" input) the name of a recently opened file.

This funcionality seems absent in Windows 10. I've checked that "Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar" is enabled - and in the File explorer, I see the file I want to open in the "Recent Files" section. But, still, it is not found when I type its name the "Search Quick access" box - as neither in the main search box, in the toolbar.


After several attempts to get Windows Search to include contents from %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent by adding it to Indexed Locations and even creating a separate Recent folder synchronized with the contents of the Windows Recent folder and adding that to Indexed Locations and re-building the search index, I gave up and started looking at third party solutions.

I tried out Classic Shell and it works exactly the way Windows should in the first place. If you can live without using the default Windows Start Menu altogether (or use it sparingly) I'd suggest replacing it with Classic Shell.

  • Thats realy sad, that micsoroft seems not to be able to deliver the functions. I also changed to classic shell because all of my computers (2x privatem 2x work) are note able to find exe files using the search. Dec 10 '15 at 15:16
  • @IvanViktorovic I avoid using Windows Search most of the time. My go-to application for searching my computer (and network drives, external hard disks, etc.) is Locate. It's much faster at indexing and searching than Windows Search.
    – Vinayak
    Dec 10 '15 at 15:34
  • Lol looks like windows xp search :) Dec 10 '15 at 15:37
  • @IvanViktorovic Looks can be deceiving :)
    – Vinayak
    Dec 10 '15 at 15:41
  • I find it hard to believe that "Windows search" (specially in "My Stuff") does not include the recently opened documents... but it seems to be true.
    – leonbloy
    Dec 15 '15 at 22:41

This may not be exactly what you're looking for, but if you go to file options
file options
and set file explorer to open to quick access
folder options.
Then when you press Windows + E it will take you to quick access, displaying your recent files.


I have done some tests of Windows 10 against Windows 7, and I think that the root of the problem is in that recent-files in Windows 10 is now a bit broken (by design).


The recent-files mechanism in Windows works by creating a link to any accessed file in the folder C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent.

In addition, Each time that a file is selected in save/open dialog-box, its name is added under the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ComDlg32\OpenSavePidlMRU.

You can have a look at both places at once, using the free Nirsoft utility RecentFilesView.

Test results

Having looked at the evolution of the contents of the above Recent folder, I have come to the conclusion that Windows 10 now limits the creation of the links in the folder.

The file-types I have seen being linked-to are what I guess Windows 10 considers as documents, which includes file-types such as Word (.doc) and Zip (.zip). Other file-types than these two are certainly included as well, but I have not tested more of them.

This new limitation on the contents of the Recent folder is very probably a performance measure, designed to avoid creating too many links. A large Recent folder may slow-down the computer. Cleaners such as CCleaner usually include it when scrubbing clean the computer.

I believe then that there is no Microsoft solution to this problem in Windows 10. I have looked for third-party products, but found none, probably because in previous versions of Windows such tools were not necessary.

If you find Windows 10 to be lacking features that you need, it is easy enough to downgrade back to Windows 7.

  • Nice work, but I don't think it address my problem. The file (say: results.ods ) does indeed appear in the Recent folder. And it's listed in the recently opened files in the start menu under the respective application (LibreOffice's Calc). BUT (and this is my problem) it is not found when I type the name in the Start button (or in the main search box), nor even when I explicitly search in "my stuff". This happens, not for a particular file, but for all in the Recent folder.
    – leonbloy
    Dec 10 '15 at 10:42
  • Is it possible that the Recent folder is somehow omitted from the indexed folders? See these references which might help you find where to look: ref1 and ref2.
    – harrymc
    Dec 10 '15 at 12:06
  • Try also Control Panel -> Troubleshooter -> View All -> Search and Indexing.
    – harrymc
    Dec 10 '15 at 15:47
  • Based on this answer, I went to the Recent folder, went up one, right-clicked Recent Items and chose Pin to Quick Access. This now makes it quick to find files I opened recently -- since typing their names at Start doesn't really work in 10. May 30 '16 at 20:07

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