How to Clear Recent Files in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Clearing recent files in Windows 11 is a quick and easy task that helps maintain your privacy and declutter your system. By following a few simple steps, you can remove the list of recently accessed files from your computer. This guide will walk you through the process, ensuring that you can keep your recent activities private and your system organized.

How to Clear Recent Files in Windows 11

In this section, we’ll cover how to clear the list of recent files in Windows 11. This includes navigating through the settings and using File Explorer options to ensure your recent activities are no longer visible.

Step 1: Open File Explorer Options

First, open the File Explorer. You can do this by clicking the folder icon in your taskbar or pressing the Windows + E keys.

Once File Explorer is open, click on the “View” tab located at the top of the window. Then, click on “Options” on the far right to open the Folder Options dialog box.

Step 2: Access the Privacy Settings

In the Folder Options dialog box, switch to the “General” tab if it isn’t already selected.

Under the “Privacy” section at the bottom, you’ll see options to show recently used files and frequently used folders.

Step 3: Clear the Recent Files

Step 3: Click the “Clear” button next to the “Clear File Explorer history” option.

Clicking this button will remove the list of recent files and frequently used folders from File Explorer. This action is immediate and cannot be undone.

Step 4: Save Your Settings

Step 4: Uncheck the boxes for “Show recently used files in Quick access” and “Show frequently used folders in Quick access” if you want to stop Windows from tracking these in the future.

Unchecking these boxes will prevent Windows from saving and displaying recent files and frequently used folders going forward. This is useful if you prefer not to have these items tracked at all.

Step 5: Apply and Confirm

Step 5: Click “Apply” and then “OK” to save your changes.

This will apply the changes you made and close the Folder Options dialog box. Your recent files list will now be cleared, and you will no longer see recently accessed files or folders in Quick Access.

After completing these steps, your recent files in Windows 11 will be cleared. No more prying eyes will see what you’ve been working on, and your system will feel a bit tidier.

Tips for Clearing Recent Files in Windows 11

  • Regularly clear your recent files to maintain privacy, especially if you share your computer with others.
  • Uncheck the options to track recent files and frequently used folders if you want to avoid having to clear them periodically.
  • Use a third-party privacy tool if you want more comprehensive control over recent files and other traces of activity.
  • Consider disabling the Quick Access feature altogether if you don’t find it useful.
  • Backup your important files before clearing recent files to avoid accidental data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clear my recent files?

It depends on your personal preference and how often you use shared computers. Regularly clearing them (e.g., weekly) can help maintain privacy.

Can I recover recently cleared files?

No, once you clear recent files, you cannot recover the list. However, the files themselves are still on your computer.

Will clearing recent files delete my actual files?

No, this action only removes the shortcuts from the recent files list. Your files are still safe and sound on your computer.

Can I automate the process of clearing recent files?

Currently, Windows 11 does not have an automatic setting to clear recent files. You’ll need to do it manually or use third-party software.

Does clearing recent files affect Quick Access?

Yes, clearing recent files will remove them from the Quick Access view in File Explorer.


  1. Open File Explorer Options.
  2. Access the Privacy Settings.
  3. Click the “Clear” button.
  4. Uncheck the tracking boxes.
  5. Apply and Confirm.


Clearing recent files in Windows 11 is a straightforward but essential task for anyone concerned about privacy and organization. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily manage your recent files and maintain a clutter-free system. Regularly performing this task ensures that your recent activities remain private, especially if you share your computer with others or use it in a public setting.

For further reading, you might want to explore additional privacy settings in Windows 11 or consider using third-party privacy tools for more comprehensive control. Keeping your digital workspace tidy and secure is crucial in today’s world, and taking these small steps can make a big difference.

So why wait? Go ahead and clear your recent files in Windows 11 today! Your privacy and peace of mind will thank you.

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