Remove Quick access and User Folders from File Explorer in Windows 10

The File Explorer in Windows 8 and 10 by default displays at the top those six shell folders, and a couple of shell folders pinned on to the navigation pane.

The six shell folders namely Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos show up above the fold not only cluttering the area but pushing the disk drives category down, which some users dislike.

Table of Contents

Bring drives list to the top

The default layout of the items when you select This PC in File Explorer is that the Folders (6) show up at the top. The Devices and drives section can be moved to the top by sorting the groups in Descending order.

remove quick access and shell folders

Right-click in a blank area in File Explorer, click “Group by”, and click Descending. You can do the same from the Ribbon, as well.

Further, the Folders (6) section can be minimized by clicking on the chevron, if you don’t use it frequently. You can access those shell folders via the navigation pane.

remove quick access and shell folders

It’s simple so far. However, if you want to remove the Folders (6) section altogether, you need to edit the registry or automate the setting using the .REG files I’ve made available at the end of each hack below.

Removing user folders “Folders (6)” from File Explorer

Open Regedit.exe and go to the following branch:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

Create a subkey named HideMyComputerIcons

Select HideMyComputerIcons, and in the right-pane, create a DWORD (32 bit) value, with the {GUID} string as the value name. I’ve mentioned the {GUID} string for each shell folder below. For each shell folder you want to hide, you need to create a new {GUID} value, of type REG_DWORD, and set it’s data to 1.

{GUID} StringShell Folder Name
{B4BFCC3A-DB2C-424C-B029-7FE99A87C641}Desktop
{D3162B92-9365-467A-956B-92703ACA08AF}Documents
{088E3905-0323-4B02-9826-5D99428E115F}Downloads
{3DFDF296-DBEC-4FB4-81D1-6A3438BCF4DE}Music
{24AD3AD4-A569-4530-98E1-AB02F9417AA8}Pictures
{F86FA3AB-70D2-4FC7-9C99-FCBF05467F3A}Videos

… and I have all the GUIDs set to 1. (Value data of 1 hides the shell folder, and the value data 0 shows it in File Explorer. Hiding icons using the HideMyComputerIcons registry key was first introduced in Windows XP, and the same works fine in later OS as well, including Windows 10.

remove quick access in windows 10

[REG File for the above edit] Download hide-6folders.zip, unzip the contents and save them to a folder. Double-click hide-6folders.reg to run it. Changes are applied immediately, usually. In case it doesn’t, a logoff and logon cycle would refresh the views. We’ve now gotten rid of the less-useful Folders (6) section!

The ribbon, if not frequently used, can be hidden by clicking on the chevron at the top right, near the help icon. Or you can also right-click anywhere in the ribbon area, and click Minimize the Ribbon.

Hiding OneDrive, Network and HomeGroup Icons

You can remove the other extra items in the navigation pane, such as OneDrive, Network and Homegroup by deleting the relevant {GUID} subkeys from the Namespace registry key, which is located at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace

and in:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace

Each subkey (“key”, not “value”) below the NameSpace key represents a shell folder. The ones we’re going to get rid of, are given below:

{GUID} StringShell Folder Name
{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}OneDrive
{B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93}Homegroup
{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}Network

In both the above two registry locations (one is system-wide, and the other is per-user), delete the three previously mentioned {GUID} keys, under the Namespace key. Logoff and login back, or do a clean restart of the Explorer Shell to see the changes.

[REG File for the above edit] Download hide-pinned-shellfolders.zip, unzip the contents and save it to a folder. The zip file contains separate .reg files to hide or show OneDrive, Homegroup and Network items. Double-click the appropriate .reg file that you need.

The File Explorer, which appeared like this before:

remove quick access in windows 10

… should now look like this — no frills File Explorer.

remove quick access in windows 10

What was written so far should apply to Windows 8 and 10.

Removing “Quick access” from Windows 10 File Explorer

Quick access, that appears at the top left part in the navigation pane, is one particular item that can’t be nuked out by wiping out the GUIDs, as done to the other shell items. This shell folder is kind of a hard-coded one, so explorer loads it regardless of what method you use to prevent the shell item from loading.

To remove Quick access, use one of the methods below.

For Windows 10 v1607 (and higher)

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (v1607), there is a new registry edit to remove Quick access. This registry edit disables Quick access for all user accounts.

Start the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

Create a DWORD value named HubMode and set its value data to 1

remove quick access in windows 10 v1607

[REG File for the above edit] Download disable_quickaccess_hubmode.zip and run the REG file to automate the setting.

Close all folder windows and open a new one. Quick access section should be gone now. If not, logoff and login back for the change to take effect, or simply restart the Explorer shell.

remove quick access in windows 10 v1607

With Quick access hidden in the navigation pane, you can still access the Quick access home view by creating a shortcut with the following target:

explorer shell:::{679F85CB-0220-4080-B29B-5540CC05AAB6}

Or you can run the following Shell command from the Run dialog (WinKey + R):

shell:::{679F85CB-0220-4080-B29B-5540CC05AAB6}

remove quick access in windows 10 v1607
Quick access home view showing recent files and frequent folders, but Quick access is gone in the left pane.

For Windows 10 v1511 (and higher)

This method was first discovered by WindowsCentral, and works in all versions of Windows 10 (from v1511). The trick is to reset the shell folder attributes using the SFGAO Flags documentation posted by Microsoft.

If you’ve been reading my posts for some time, you know that I have used SFGAO Attributes stuff earlier. You should be able to search it on this site. While the blog post at WindowsCentral tells you to modify the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive, I prefer to do it inside the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive, just to avoid the permission issues. Quick access can be removed by following the steps:

Go to the following branch in the Registry Editor:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID

Create a subkey named {679f85cb-0220-4080-b29b-5540cc05aab6}

Under {679f85cb-0220-4080-b29b-5540cc05aab6}, create a subkey named ShellFolder

Select the ShellFolder key, and in the right-pane, create a DWORD value named Attributes

Double-click Attributes and set its value data as a0600000 (Hex).

This hides the Quick access section from File Explorer.

[REG File for the above edit] Download hide-quickaccess.zip,

Minor Side-effect

Unfortunately, the hack of resetting “Attributes” to a0600000 is not without any side-effect. It breaks drag-drop functionality in the navigation pane. After applying the setting, nothing would happen if you drag a file or folder onto a file system location underneath This PC in the navigation pane.

After testing with different values, I’ve noticed that instead of a0600000, if you set it 88000 (0x00088000), you can hide Quick access and at the same time, preserve the drag-drop functionality in the navigation pane. The Quick access icon (the blue star) isn’t removed, though; it appears dimmed or ghosted and not as prominent as before.

[REG File for the above edit] Download hide-quickaccess-88000.zip,

In each .zip file, I’ve also included a undo .reg file that can reverse the modifications made. Hope you enjoyed the hacks!

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.

9 thoughts on “Remove Quick access and User Folders from File Explorer in Windows 10

  1. There are 2 ways to open File Explorer with your choice of folders – create a shortcut to:

    F:\some-directory
    C:\Windows\explorer.exe /root,F:\some-directory

  2. Others’ comments are shown here but I can’t find out how to get emails notifying me of future contributions to this post… which I am very interested in. I’m ready to search for an alternative to File Explorer.

  3. Great suggestions and they work for the File Explorer. One problem i’m facing is that random (seemingly) applications after I have used them (Excel as an example) create a “Quick Access” pointer ON THE DESKTOP. No way to get rid of it except uninstall the app. cCleaner gets rid of it but it comes back after a few uses. A few other users have experienced the same thing with Chrome or some Adobe apps. There are a few answers on how to remove it..but how do I prevent it from happening in the first place? If you have any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. Great site by the way!!

  4. @RedGreenBlue: Thanks for the feedback. I’m still working on a fix that disables QA entirely without breaking drag-drop support, and if I figure it out, I shall update the post.

  5. The hack for disabling Quick Access and leaving it as a grayed-out icon is terrific—the icon that remains is unobtrusive. For me, Quick Access, which I never used, was a constant annoyance because every time I opened File Explorer and was about to click on a particular subfolder on a drive, the system would expand Quick Access and shove the folder I wanted to click on out of sight. This inspired regular cursing.

  6. @Larry: The WinX shortcuts are here: “%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group2”. You can edit the target of “File Explorer.lnk” shortcut there. For adding new shortcuts, you need to use Hashlnk.exe though.

  7. GREAT posts with some very valuable how to’s.

    Would love to know how to set the default folder so that when you right click on the ‘start’ button in W10, W8 or and select windows explorer, you can choose which folder it will focus on. I know in W10 you can choose a couple ob built-in choices, but to be able to actually ‘set’ the folder would be very helpful.

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