Explorer Group Policy: Disable Recent Files / Frequent Folders & Open To This PC

It’s easy to customise Windows explorer to your linking on a single PC, however if you want to make these changes for multiple users using multiple computers on a domain you really need to be making the change though group policy.

Windows 10 gives you the option to open new explorer windows to “This PC” instead of the quick access layout and also gives you the option to disable showing recently used files in Quick access and showing frequently used folders in Quick access, however their is no GPO to easily configure any of these settings.

However you toggle these settings with a registry entry, meaning you can still easily make changes to these settings for the users on your domain with ease, which i’m going to show you how to do:

windows-10-explorer-folder-options

 

How to open file explorer to this PC and hide recently used files / folders on Windows 10 using group policy:

You are going to want to open up Group Policy Management (gpedit.msc) for your domain and either create a new Group Policy Object (GPO) or edit an existing one. I’m going to edit the “Desktop” GPO i’ve already created, this GPO contains all my settings related to the users desktop experience:

open files explorer to this PC and hide recently used files / folders on Windows 10 using group policy

With your GPO open navigate to Users Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry

You then want to right click and create a new Registry Item:

open files explorer to this PC and hide recently used files / folders on Windows 10 using group policy

 

To make explorer open to this PC you want to create the following registry item:

Action: Replace
Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
Value Name: LaunchTO
Value Type: REG_DWORD
Value Data: 1
Base: Decimal

GPO Open Explorer In This PC

To hide frequently opened folders from quick access in explorer you want to create the following registry item:

Action: Replace
Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
Value Name: ShowFrequent
Value Type: REG_DWORD
Value Data: 0
Base: Decimal

GPO Hide Frequent Folders

To hide recently used files from quick access in explorer you want to create the following registry item:

Action: Replace
Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
Value Name: ShowRecent
Value Type: REG_DWORD
Value Data: 0
Base: Decimal

GPO Hide Recent Files

 

That’s it, really simple to achive once you know how! I hope this helps somebody else out.

Matt Hill

Matt Hill is in his mid 20′s and has a passion for technology. Matt studied Computer and Network Administration at University and currently works as an IT Administrator for a company based in his home town.

2 Comments

  1. Josh Ferguson   •  

    Great article! Very helpful and seems to work just fine on Windows 10 Pro x64. Thanks for the write up!

  2. Tim LJ   •  

    Fantastic article. Useful to know that this could’ve been accomplished via registry.

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