Windows File Quick Access Fix

Windows File Quick Access Fix: a reader asks…

I have a Windows PC and in File Explorer the Quick Access list has gotten messed up. I used to have all my personal folders (desktop, documents, downloads, music, pictures and videos) showing there, but now just Desktop and Pictures are there. I try to add the missing ones and nothing happens. What can I do?

What likely happened is that your quick access database file got corrupted. The fix for this is pretty easy, you can reset the database file from the old-style command prompt window using a specific command. Here’s how:

First, make sure you don’t have a File Explorer window open. Then, open a Command Prompt window:

  1. Click on the taskbar’s search box at the bottom-left of your screen, and type “cmd”.
  2. In a second or so, you should see “Command Prompt” show up on the left and on the right side, the option to “Run as administrator”.
  3. Click that (Run as administrator) to open the old-style command prompt window.

Second, type this into the window (you can copy and paste):


del “%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations\f01b4d95cf55d32a.automaticDestinations-ms”

Press your Enter key to execute that command. You can now type “exit” to close the command prompt window. Now you can open a File Explorer window and you’ll see the six default folders in their usual place, and you’ll be able to add additional items there if you wish.

That’s all there is to it, and this same procedure works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. I should mention that by default, Windows also saves your recently accessed folders in the Quick Access area. You can clear those out using the File Explorer properties option:

  1. In Windows 11, click the 3 dots on the File Explorer window, Select Options and click the Clear button (Clear File Explorer History)
  2. In Windows 10, click the View menu link in the File Explorer window, select Options and click the Clear button (Clear File Explorer History)

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