How to clear the Recent Files section in Windows 10 and declutter your files

It's easy to clear out the Recent Files section in Windows 10.

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It’s easy to clear out the Recent Files section in Windows 10.
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

If you use Windows 10, you’re probably aware of the Recent Files feature in your Quick Access folder.

As it always shows the files you viewed last, the Recent Files folder can be very handy if you’ve closed something by accident, downloaded several files, or need to resume a task that was interrupted.

However, there may be times when you want to clear your Recent Files folder and start with a blank slate. For example, if you’re someone who takes a lot of screenshots, it can be confusing to have them all sitting there when you go to sort the new from the old.

If you don’t want to mix the old screenshots up with the new ones when starting a new project, it would be prudent to delete your Recent Files history before beginning.

Regardless of your reasons, clearing your Recent Files on Windows 10 is actually relatively simple. Here’s how to do it.

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How to clear your Recent Files in Windows 10

1. Open File Explorer on your computer. It should be an image of a folder pinned to your taskbar, but if it isn’t pinned, you can open any folder to access it.

2. At the top-left of your File Explorer window, click “File,” and then click “Change folder and search options.”

Open your folder and search options.

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Open your folder and search options.
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Melanie Weir/Business Insider

3. Under “Privacy” in the General tab of the pop-up window that appears, click the “Clear” button to immediately clear all your Recent Files, then click “OK.”

It just takes one click to clear out your Recent Files.

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It just takes one click to clear out your Recent Files.
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Melanie Weir/Business Insider

There is no confirmation dialog box – your files should be cleared immediately.

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