After a recent upgrade to Windows 10, I noticed that whenever I opened File Explorer, it always showed me quick access. I love the new shortcut feature, but I preferred to have File Explorer open on this computer.
For me, being able to access various drives on my computer and my network devices was much more important than accessing frequently used folders or recently opened files. It’s a useful feature, but I don’t mind having to access it once.
In this post, I will show you how to change the default folder from Quick Access to this PC when you open File Explorer. In addition, I will also show you a trick with which you can set any folder as the default folder when you open explorer in Windows 10.
Set the default folder on This Computer
To change the setting, open File Explorer, click File, and then click Change Folder and Search Options.
In the dialog that appears, you should already be on the General tab. At the very top, you will see “Open Explorer” where you can select “This PC” and “Quick Access”.
Just select any folder you prefer and you’re done! Now when you open File Explorer, you should see that it is open for that computer, not for quick access.
If you need to do this on many machines in a corporate environment, you will be glad to know that there is a registry entry that also controls this setting. Just navigate to the next key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer Advanced
On the right side, find a DWORD key named Launch To. 1 stands for This PC and 2 stands for Quick Access.
Finally, let’s talk about how to set up File Explorer to open any folder as the default folder.
Set any folder as the default for Explorer
Since there is really no official way to do this, we must hack Windows to get it to do what we want it to do. I checked this and it seems the process is working fine. First, find your folder and create a shortcut to the folder on your desktop.
For example, if I wanted to use the Pictures folder as my default folder, I would right-click it, select Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut). Then we need to copy this shortcut to a special location in Windows. First, let’s open Explorer and go to this special location. Just copy and paste the following path into the address bar in another explorer window:
% APPDATA% Microsoft Internet Explorer Quick Launch User Pinned TaskBar
Remember to hit Enter after pasting the path into the explorer. Depending on what else is pinned to your taskbar, you may see shortcuts for several programs here, but you should always see the shortcut in Explorer.
Now drag the shortcut we created from the desktop into a special folder open in Explorer. Now we need to do the latter. Delete the explorer shortcut and rename the images shortcut to explorer. If you chose a folder other than Pictures, change the shortcut name to File Explorer.
That’s all! Now open File Explorer in the taskbar and you should view the contents of the folder that you have chosen as the default folder.
It’s worth noting that this little trick will only work when you click the explorer icon in the taskbar. If you open File Explorer by double-clicking This PC on the desktop or clicking Start and then File Explorer, you will see either This PC or Quick Access, depending on which option is selected in Settings
If you want to undo what we just did above, all you have to do is right-click File Explorer in the taskbar and select “Unpin from taskbar”. Then just drag the This PC icon from your desktop and drop it back onto the taskbar. This will create a new shortcut in explorer and it will work fine.
Install folders for quick access
If you don’t like either of the above two options, you have another option in Windows 10. You can use the new pinned folders feature related to quick access. When you open File Explorer, you will see a pin icon next to several folders in the Quick Access section.
The folders Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Pictures, This PC, and Music are pinned by default in Windows 10. If you want to remove any of them, just right-click and select Unpin from quick access “.
However, if you want to access any folder on your computer with one click, navigate to that folder, then right-click “Quick Access” and select “Pin Current Folder to Quick Access”.
As you can see, this is how I pinned the Program Files folder to my Quick Access section. Using this method, you don’t need to resort to any kind of hacks, and you can also quickly access any folder on your system with two clicks.
Finally, you can also quickly navigate to a pinned folder simply by right-clicking on the explorer icon in the taskbar and selecting the pinned folder that appears in the Jump List.
So, if you want to change the system-wide default folder, you can only select this computer and fast access. If you use the second method, which involves cracking shortcuts, you will have to use the shortcut on the taskbar.
Finally, if you just want quick access to a folder, try using the quick access option as it will also be system-wide and will remain on the left side even when you browse other folders. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!