How to Clear Recent Files in Windows 11: Simple Steps to Stay Organized

Clearing recent files in Windows 11 is straightforward. By following a few simple steps, you can quickly remove the list of recently opened files to maintain your privacy or declutter your system. This guide will walk you through each step, making it easy for you to clear your recent files in Windows 11.

How to Clear Recent Files in Windows 11

Clearing recent files in Windows 11 helps you keep your computer organized and protects your privacy. This process will remove the list of files you’ve recently accessed from various locations in Windows.

Step 1: Open File Explorer

To start, open File Explorer by clicking the folder icon on the taskbar or pressing the Windows key + E.

File Explorer is where you manage your files and folders, and it’s the starting point for clearing your recent files.

Step 2: Access Quick Access

Step 2: Click on "Quick Access" located in the left-hand pane of the File Explorer window.

Quick Access shows you the files and folders you use most frequently, making it a convenient spot, but also where your recent files are listed.

Step 3: Clear Recent Files

Step 3: Right-click on "Quick Access" and select "Options."

In the Folder Options window, you can clear your File Explorer history, which includes your recent files.

Step 4: Clear File Explorer History

Step 4: In the General tab, find "Privacy" and click "Clear" to remove your File Explorer history.

This action will delete the history of recently accessed files and folders from the Quick Access section.

Step 5: Apply Changes

Step 5: Click "Apply" and then "OK" to save your changes and close the Folder Options window.

By applying these changes, you’ll ensure that your recent files are cleared from Quick Access.

After you complete these steps, your recent files will no longer be visible in the Quick Access section of File Explorer, giving you a clean slate.

Tips for Clearing Recent Files in Windows 11

  • Regularly Clear History: Make it a habit to clear your recent files regularly to keep your system tidy.
  • Use Disk Cleanup: Utilize the Disk Cleanup tool to remove temporary files and other unnecessary data.
  • Manage Privacy Settings: Adjust your privacy settings to control what information is saved and shared.
  • Use Third-Party Tools: Consider using third-party cleanup tools for more advanced options.
  • Backup Important Files: Always back up important files before clearing history to avoid accidental data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I clear recent files in Windows 11?

Clearing recent files helps protect your privacy and keeps your system organized by removing clutter.

Will this delete my actual files?

No, clearing recent files only removes the shortcuts from the Quick Access section, not the actual files.

Can I automate this process?

Yes, you can use third-party applications to automate the process of clearing recent files.

What if I can’t find Quick Access?

Ensure that File Explorer is set to show Quick Access. You can adjust this in the Folder Options menu.

Is there a way to prevent recent files from showing up?

Yes, you can disable the feature in the Folder Options under the "Privacy" section by unchecking "Show recently used files in Quick Access."


  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Access Quick Access.
  3. Clear Recent Files.
  4. Clear File Explorer History.
  5. Apply Changes.


Clearing recent files in Windows 11 is a simple yet effective way to maintain your privacy and keep your computer organized. Whether you’re sharing your PC or just prefer a clean workspace, following these steps will give you peace of mind. Remember to make it a routine practice, especially if you use your computer frequently. Regular maintenance not only keeps your system running smoothly but also helps in protecting your personal information.

If you found this guide helpful, consider exploring more about Windows 11’s features and settings to customize your experience further. Keeping your digital environment clean and efficient is key to a stress-free computing experience. So, go ahead, clear those recent files, and enjoy a clutter-free Quick Access!