Windows 10 shows a list of recent files in the explorer. Is there a possibility to exclude certain folders (recursively) from being shown in this list?


This problem was bugging me too. Turns out, this is ridiculously simple. Bear with me.

You let Windows pick up the unwanted files and/or folders in the recent list, then go to Quick Access (make sure recent files and folders are displayed!), and simply right click and remove. And voilá - Windows will never add the same file or folder again to any list of recent files. Never. They won't even appear in the right click menu of Windows Explorer. Remove from quick access

This automated global "ban list" in Windows is reset if you clear File Explorer history (Folder Options / General)

Now I would love to know if that is possible to somehow manually edit this "ban list", and add folders to it. I couldn't figure out a way to do this yet.

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    This might not do what everyone wants. When I remove a folder from the Frequent Folders then open a file in that folder then the file is still put into the recent files list (unless I have removed the file specifically). – user34660 Dec 4 '16 at 3:04
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    This doesn't allow you to recursively ignore a folder, only each and every file as they appear. – pupeno Feb 16 '20 at 12:09
  • Jusup answer address that problem – Rob Sedgwick Jul 8 '20 at 8:37

Directly from File Explorer (exploring shell:recent folder in address bar): just use the search box at the top-right of the window and type something like

  • -linktarget:d:\bat\ to hide all links to files/folders in the d:\bat\ folder, i.e. matching d:\bat\* criterion;
  • -linktarget:d:\bat\a to hide all links to files/folders matching d:\bat\a* criterion;
  • -linktarget:"d:\bat\a b" (note that path with spaces are enclosed in double quotes);
  • -(kind:Link;Folder linktarget:"d:\bat\a b)" (hides only folders but shows files).


The Advanced Query Syntax (AQS) is used by Microsoft Windows Desktop Search (WDS) to help users and programmers better define and narrow their searches. Using AQS is an easy way to narrow searches and deliver better result sets. Searches can be narrowed by the following parameters:

  • File kinds: folders, documents, presentations, pictures and so on.
  • File stores: specific databases and locations.
  • File properties: size, date, title and so on.
  • File contents: keywords like "project deliverables," "AQS," "blue suede shoes," and so on.

Furthermore, search parameters can be combined using search operators...

Honestly, I do not know any method to prevent creating links to particular items in the shell:recent folder. However, if you want delete particular links from there as soon as possible, then adapt any of next scripts for your purposes (keep in mind that files in the shell:recent folder are all links (shortcuts):

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    That seems to just add a parameter to the current view, and not affect Quick View in any way. I go back to Quick View and all the excluded files are still there. – pupeno Feb 16 '20 at 12:09

Open Windows Explorer, Click View tab on the top windows, click option at upper right side the windows, at General tab untick Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folder in Quick access, then click Clear button.

enter image description here

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    I don't want to clear it. I just want for certain folders that they aren't included. Also in future. – principal-ideal-domain Sep 9 '15 at 12:27
  • ignore that part, the ringed part on the left does the job. – Rob Sedgwick Jul 8 '20 at 8:35
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    Not really. The left part prevents any recent files from being shown, but the question is about preventing some folders from being shown there. However, since I don't think there is a perfect solution to this problem, just disabling the whole thing may be the next best solution for some people. – user118967 Aug 31 '20 at 21:09

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