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

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

The Recent Places shell folder still exists in Windows 10. Recent Places, which is now known as Recent folders, is very useful in Explorer and Common File Open/Save As dialog boxes in various applications. Today’s post shows you how to do the following things:

  • Pin Recent Places to the Quick access
  • Pin Recent Places as a separate item in the navigation pane.

Pin Recent folders to Quick access

Open File Explorer and type shell:::{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99} in the Address Bar, and press Enter. You can launch it via the Run dialog, as well.

recent places shell command windows

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 to the top of Quick access if you want.

recent places or recent folders pin to quick access
Fig 1: Recent folders Pinned to Quick access.

However, the drawback of pinning it this way is that the Common Dialog boxes — i.e., Open, Save As or the Browse dialog boxes from various applications, don’t show the pinned Recent folders item.

recent places or recent folders pin to quick access
Pinned “Recent folders” not shown in Open or Save As dialogs.

To make the Common Dialogs show Recent folders, we need to amend the Attributes shell folder value (SFGAO). I’ve made available the registry file that does it easily.

recent places or recent folders pin to quick access
Pinned “Recent folders” shown in Open or Save As dialogs after the registry change.

What does the REG file do?

This registry file creates the following keys, adds a DWORD value named Attributes, and sets its data to 0x30040000

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}\ShellFolder
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}\ShellFolder

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

If you don’t use Quick access or have already removed Quick access from the navigation pane, you can pin Recent folders as a separate category above This PC.



To do this:

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

recent places or recent folders pin to quick access
Recent folders pinned as a separate category — above This PC and below OneDrive.

The common file dialog boxes from any 32-bit or 64-bit application would also show the pinned Recent folders item.

recent places or recent folders pin to quick access
Pinned Recent folders item showing up in Open or Save as dialogs.

Additional Tip: You can move Recent folders to the top of the namespace by modifying the SortOrderIndex registry value here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}

Set the SortOrderIndex data to <42 (hex). OneDrive’s SortOrderIndex is 42 (hex). Setting a lower SortOrderIndex value for Recent folders would move it above OneDrive.

What does the REG file do?

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. If you want to reverse the changes, run the corresponding undo.reg file present inside the archive.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

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

  1. 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.

    Reply
  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

    Reply
    • @Stefan: You may try the REG fix attached to the post. That’ll do it all automatically.

  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. Like Brandon K says, I feel the same way. This fix has removed a major frustration and time wasted getting to folders. I’m not a techie or power user or anything like that, but since Win10 been in my life I feel like I’m not in the MS target group and maybe just a bit too smart for their products. Ramesh, thank you for providing this information.

    Reply
  5. Thank you thank you thank you! I’m a designer who is constantly navigating to folders galore: saving-as, attaching, exporting…access to Recent Folders is paramount to my productivity. You deserve a gold star. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Thanks. Atleast got Recent Folders into the navigation bar. Cant edit registry due to company polices. Would have liked to have that in save dialogue box as well. Wonder why this feature was removed in windows!!!

    Reply
  7. I cannot understand why Microsoft seems to go backwards with each new release – It is very fortunate that there are philanthropic enthusiasts like you to help the rest of us try to reverse the worst of their ‘improvements’!

    Reply
  8. Another big thanks from me. Baffling why MS don’t include this in 10. This and the jump lists are one think I miss hugely when using non-windows OSs.

    Reply
  9. I was able to successfully add Recent Folders to the QuickAccess but it’s always empty. It’s not actually creating recent places in that folder for me to see. Any ideas? Thanks!

    Reply
  10. I found this trick to be very useful. When doing a “Save As” and you don’t see the most recent folders you were working on, right click on the slanted Star icon in the “Quick Access” bar at the top left, and select “Pin Current Folder to Quick Access”, even if the current location is not what you want, the old “Recent Folders” and “Recent Files” folders we have all been looking for comes back. If you actually drilled down to the folder you wanted, it will now be pinned for future quick access. However, it doesn’t matter where you are, this right click and selecting “Pin current folder to quick access” will always pull up the two recent folders and files icons we are all pining for – temporarily at least.

    Like many of you, this single lack of what was probably the MOST useful feature in previous versions is the source of endless swearing around my office. How MS could eliminated this is unfathomable. Offering a fix by going to regedit is not an option for corporate users with locked down machines. So we have to spend about around 30 seconds and a dozen mouse clicks to drill down our directory structure when doing a save as to the same darn location we just saved to 5 minutes ago, each time…

    Reply
    • The trick I use is to shift the location of the quick access icons around, usually just back and forth between the desktop and downloads. That will make the recent folders and recent items pop back into the list. That way you aren’t pinning/unpinning items.

  11. Just installed Windows 10 yesterday and missed these Recent Folders already the first day working. Thanks for this tip, you have made my day :).

    Reply
  12. I dont have administrative access to work computer to execute a reg file (or enter regedit).

    Any suggestions to manual get this working?

    Reply
  13. @Ramesh Srinivasan I’ve tried copying and pasting shell:::{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99} in the search box when opening the File Explorer, and nothing is found.

    Can you help me with this? I used to use the recent folders a hundred times a day and now it’s gone UGH 🙁

    Reply
  14. Hi, great article, a life saver!! 🙂

    2 questions though:
    – Is there any way to limit the number of folders being displayed in the Recent Places list to, let’s say, 10 items?

    – Any way to arrange the network locations in the Explorer left navigation bar to your liking?
    I used the 2nd version of your registry tweak (“recent places a a separate category”), but I would like it to show on top, just above the Quick Access link. For now Recent Places is drowning somewhere in between all my cloud storage services that are equally listed as network locations of categories.
    I looked around for a way to customise how this is displayed (custom sorting), but didn’t find anything.

    Thanks in advance for your help, much appreciated!!!

    Reply
  15. Pinning Recent Folders in the Quick access area – When used copy/paste to get the given information into the address bar, it did indeed open Recent Folders in the File Explorer window. However, “Recent Folders” was NOT listed in the Quick Access area so I could not select the pin option. I had to right click on “Quick Access” and select the option “pin current folder to Quick Access”. This both put the icon in the Quick Access area, and pinned it there.

    Reply
  16. There is a nice walkaround I found, without touching the registry.
    You can do this via a search mask. Make a “saved search” shortcut in quick access.
    At any place in “This PC”, in the search box, run

    folderpath:”c:\users\gagarin\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent Items” kind:folder -zip

    Save the search under the Save tab of the explorer to an arbitrary directory on your machine and pin this place to quick access.

    It finds ordinary non-zipped folders among all recent items in the hidden Recent Items directory, and is always available under the save-as dialog of any program, not only at the initial navigation panel of explorer.
    An apt thing is: you can modify the search params as you like, to limit the date, type, and other attributes of the recent items. Just save the particular search session, and pin it under quick access.

    Reply
  17. works like a charm. I tried many other fixes from webistes but none fixed it permanently (save as). This one did. Thousands of working hours saved. Thx!

    Reply
  18. Thanks a lot for this tip.
    meanwhile, can you please tell me how I can increase number of items showed in the Recent Files in Quick Access area, from 20, to 30 or 50?

    Reply

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