File explorer maintains a record of a list of operations (copy, delete, move, new, rename) performed in the current explorer process, so that if you change your mind, you can undo the changes (Ctrl+Z) or redo the changes (Ctrl+Y).

I am using Windows 10 20H2, I have pinned undo and others to Quick Access Toolbar. And the edit button in the menu is greyed out.

enter image description here

The undo and redo buttons will be grey if there is nothing to be undone/redone, and will be blue if there are operations that can be undone/redone. When the undo/redo buttons are active, hovering the cursor over them will display a message that will show the specific action that can be undone/redone, and will show the filename of the file on which the operation is performed(Undo Move of File.txt). It will not show the filename if multiple files are involved(Undo Move).

The undo/redo history will be cleared if explorer.exe is restarted, seems to indicate the history is stored in RAM; The history will also be cleared if one of the following three is performed:

1, Permanent deletion of a file (not moving to $RECYCLE.BIN); 2, Creating a shortcut and trying to undo creation of the shortcut after the shortcut is saved; 3, Performing a file operation that requires administrative privileges.

File operations performed by other programs(i.e. cmd, pwsh) will not be recorded in explorer's history.

Question: How can I view this file explorer operations history?

I had seen two similar questions here: Viewing Windows Explorer’s complete Undo history and Get history of file operations in Windows?

However none of them solves my problem, as

  1. I am not trying to monitor file operations performed to a specific folder but rather all operations performed in current explorer process;

  2. Process Monitor will only display operations performed after its launch, not before, and the number of events recorded increases really fast, thousands new events per second, most of them are by explorer.exe, and this is when I am not performing any operations, even if I filter by Process ID and view File Summary, a folder will be recorded even if the folder is only queried and not modified...

  • Have you researched any of the numerous third-party applications that monitor the clipboard. A native solution that doesn’t involve a third-party application to my knowledge doesn’t actually exist.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 22, 2021 at 12:53
  • Fine, but I don't know what applications to use for this task, by the way I want free solutions. Preferably open-source so that I can learn from its code. Jan 22, 2021 at 13:02
  • Does the built-in Clipboard manager show File Explorer operations? WIN+V be sure to enable it. However, I am not aware of any application, that keeps tracks of File Explorer operations like you describe.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 22, 2021 at 13:18
  • I will look into it. Jan 22, 2021 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


I have found some software packages that keep track of file operations, they are genuinely good free applications that monitors file changes.

Though they don't query Windows Explorer history and aren't what I originally intended, they are good applications and way better than nothing.

Basically they are more focused versions of Process Monitor which only monitor file operations.

I found the information from here:

10 Free Tools to Monitor Files and Folders for Changes in Real Time (page1)

10 Free Tools to Monitor Files and Folders for Changes in Real Time (page2)

I tried Windows Explorer Tracker but it is paid, so I googled for alternatives and found the pages mentioned above.

I am currently using "Phrozen Windows Files Monitor", Its VirusTotal scan result reports one engine out of 71 detected it as malicious, it most likely is a false flag.

This is its window:

enter image description here

I haven't tried others, and I didn't download the software from Raymond.cc, I Googled the software and found a reputable source to download it.

Note that this answer is definitely not a spam, at worst it is a software recommendation, and oh yes I am recommending the applications in a way, but only because I found the applications useful and wanted to share them with others, and absolutely not because I can gain any financial benefits by doing it.

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