How to Pin Recent folders or Recent Places to the Navigation Pane in Windows 10 File Explorer

The Recent Places shell folder that showed up under the Favorites area in the navigation pane in earlier Windows OS, is not shown by default in Windows 10. Windows 10’s Quick access (which replaces Favorites in earlier Windows OS) shows the "Frequently" used folders rather than the "Recently" opened folders, even though the Recent Places shell folder still exists in Windows 10.

Recent Places, which is now known as Recent folders, is very useful not just in Explorer but also in Common File Open/Save As dialog boxes in various applications. Today’s post shows you how to:

  1. Pin Recent Places to the Quick access
  2. Pin Recent Places as a separate item in the Navigation pane.

Pinning Recent folders in the Quick access area

Open File Explorer and type shell:::{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99} in the Address Bar. Press {ENTER}, and this opens the Recent folders shell folder. Click the Pin to Quick access button in the ribbon, to pin it in the Quick access area. The pinned item can be moved by dragging to the top of the Quick access hierarchy if you want.

Fig 1: Recent folders Pinned to Quick access, shows up in File Explorer

After pinning Recent folders, only File Explorer shows the item but not the Common Dialogs. i.e. Open/Save As or the the Browse dialog boxes from various applications.

Fig 2: Open dialog from Notepad application, not showing Recent folders

To make the Common Dialogs show Recent folders, we need to amend the Attributes shell folder value (SFGAO). I’ve made available the REG file that does it easily. Download Pin_Recent_Places_Quick_Access.zip, unzip and run the enclosed REG file. Logoff and login back, or do a clean restart of the explorer shell.

Fig 3: Open dialog from Notepad application, showing Recent folders

What the REG file does?

This registry file creates the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}\ShellFolder

and creates a DWORD (32 bit value) named Attributes, and sets its data to 0x30040000

Pin Recent folders as a separate category, next to Quick access.

If you don’t use Quick access, or have already removed Quick access section from the navigation pane, you can pin Recent folders as a separate category, above This PC. To do this, download Pin_Recent_Places_Separate.zip, and run the enclosed REG file. Logoff and login back, or do a clean restart of the explorer shell.

Recent folders should now show as a separate category in the navigation pane of File Explorer as well as in the Open/Save As / Browse dialogs.

Fig 4: Recent folders pinned as a separate category.

What the REG file does?

This registry fix makes use of the System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree DWORD value to Pin shell folders as a separate category, sets Attributes to 0x30040000, and adds the Recent folders GUID {22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99} to the Desktop Namespace. The registry files referenced in this page change settings only for the current user profile. And if you want to reverse the changes, simply run the corresponding undo.reg file.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

10 thoughts on “How to Pin Recent folders or Recent Places to the Navigation Pane in Windows 10 File Explorer

  1. You’ve literally saved me untold minutes each day. I have no idea why they decided to remove it from the standard file explorer. I use that link hundreds of times every single day. Thank you.

  2. Wow6432Node I don´t understand. I have Windows 10 64-bit and I want to reach RecentPlaces in Save as …

    Regedit, Yes, HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID, New, key {22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}, New, 32-bit DWORD, Name: set name to Attributes, change, Data: 0x30040000 (hexadecimal), does not work for me …

    What am I doing wrong? Kindest regards

    Stefan

  3. @Ed_D, I’ve implemented the same under “Wow6432Node” key. It should work in all apps now, 32-bit and 64 bit.

  4. Pin_Recent_Places_Separate works great, and shows up in many programs including MS Office. But it does not show up in other programs, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro (8.3.1). Unfortunately, Pin_Recent_Places_Quick_Access does not seem to add anything to my Quick Access in any program.
    Thanks for providing this blog, I’ve always enjoyed reading your tips.

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