Pin Recent Files to the Windows 10 Start Screen

Most programs maintain a history of the most recently used (MRU) files and display the listings in a menu option. However, this can never match the “Recent documents” (or “Recent Files” or “Recent items”) shell folder feature in Windows, where the list of recently opened folders and files (regardless of the file type) are shown, unlike the application-specific MRU lists.

Pin Recent Files to the Start menu in Windows 10

Pinning “Recent Files” to the Windows 10 Start screen can help you get to the recent files list quickly, and can be a productivity booster. To do that, you don’t need registry tweaks this time.

Open File Explorer and navigate to the following folder by typing the path in Address bar:


Alternately, type shell:recent in the Run dialog (WinKey + R), and then go back one level up, to the parent directory.

For the complete list of shell: command shortcuts to access special / shell folders in Windows, check out post Shell Commands to Access the Special Folders in Windows.

Right-click Recent items, and click Pin to Start

pin recent files to start screen

pin recent files to start screen

Unfortunately, adding Recent files or Recent documents as a cascading menu (as in the Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 Start menu) isn’t possible without using a 3rd party Start menu replacement utility.

Quick access (Home View) is another area where you can view the recent files list.

pin recent files to start screen

The Quick access / Home View shows only the recently opened files, whereas the “Recent” shell folder lists recently accessed files, folders, drives, and even your recent searches. The Quick Access “Recent files” view is only a subset of the Recent items special folder.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.

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