Need help with Windows 10?

Tips, tricks and how-to guides for Windows 10

Get help with File Explorer in Windows 10

Want to work more efficiently with File Explorer in Windows 10? Master File Explorer with these tips and tricks.
Windows 10: Get help with File Explorer

File Explorer in Windows 10 can be a little annoying to use at times. If you need some help using File Explorer in Windows 10, you are in the right place. In this article, you will learn:

  1. Where to find the File Explorer app in Windows 10.
  2. How to change the File Explorer icon.
  3. How to use the File Explorer ribbon.
  4. How to use the quick access toolbar.
  5. What the popular File Explorer keyboard shortcuts are.
  6. How to clear the recent file history.

Learn how to use File Explorer in Windows 10

By the end of this article, you'll have learnt all of the basics - everything you need to know to use File Explorer!

Where is File Explorer in Windows 10?

When you install Windows, you'll see the File Explorer app icon in your Windows 10 taskbar, right next to the search field. It looks like a little folder.

How to Find File Explorer
Left click on the icon in the taskbar to open File Explorer.

Simply click on the icon to open File Explorer.

How to change the File Explorer icon in Windows 10

If you want to customize your Windows 10 setup by changing the File Explorer icon, you can do that in a couple of simple steps.

  1. Right-click on the File Explorer icon in the taskbar.
  2. Right-click on File Explorer in the menu that appears.
  3. Left-click on Properties in the sub-menu.
    How to Change File Explorer Icon
    Changing the File Explorer icon.
  4. In the File Explorer Properties dialog, left-click on the Change Icon button.
  5. Click on Browse and find the image you want to use as the File Explorer icon.
    Pick a new File Explorer Icon
    Use a different File Explorer icon.
  6. Finally, click on OK.

The File Explorer icon in the menu and on the taskbar will be updated to use your newly selected icon.

How to use the File Explorer ribbon

The ribbon has become a signature feature across multiple Microsoft products. This primarily includes Office, but it is also an important part of the Windows File Explorer. If you are constantly working with files and you want to have less clutter in the File Explorer window, you can keep the Ribbon minimized. Or, you can keep it expanded at all times. Simply click on the little arrow in the top right corner to expand or minimize it.

File Explorer Ribbon
File Explorer ribbon

Each section of the ribbon help you navigate through File Explorer and use its features more easily. If you click on File in the upper left menu, you can open a new File Explorer Window or quickly navigate to Frequent Places - the folders and files you use most often. The Computer section helps you easily navigate to settings, properties, and network settings. In this section, the ribbon can quickly lead you to the program uninstallation process. The View tab turns the ribbon in a multi-purpose settings tool. Here, you can easily set whether you want to see file name extensions or show and hide particular folders.

How to use the quick access toolbar

Using quick access toolbar is quite easy. Once you are in File Explorer, you can find the quick access toolbar in the upper part of the File Explorer window. Depending on where you are. you can use the toolbar for different purposes. This is the easiest way to create a new folder or get to the Windows 10 properties.

Quick Access Toolbar
Quick Access Toolbar

You can customize the layout of File Explorer by clicking on the downward-facing arrow. There you can choose whether you want the quick access toolbar above or below the ribbon. Plus, you can change which shortcuts are available in this toolbar.

Popular keyboard shortcuts for File Explorer

The Windows 10 File Explorer is a tool that has developed over decades. If you want to master it, knowing the most important File Explorer keyboard shortcuts is essential. The most important shortcut you need to know is pressing and holding the Windows button on your keyboard and pressing letter E. This will open the File Explorer, no matter where you are in Windows 10. Once you are in File Explorer, all you have to do is press Alt to see what keyboard shortcuts are available for which features of File Explorer. For example, when you press Alt + F, it will display the File menu. Here are some of the most popular keyboard shortcuts in File Explorer:

  • Ctrl+N - Press this combination to open a new File Explorer Window
  • Ctrl+mouse wheel scroll - Use this to zoom in or zoom out (Size of Folders and Files in File Explorer)
  • Ctrl+Shift+N - This will create a new folder
  • Ctrl+F - Selects search box. You can immediately start your search for a file or folder
  • Alt+Left or Right Arrow - If you want to navigate back and forward through folders, this is the shortcut

These are some of the most popular shortcuts. Of course, the full list is long as there are plenty of different combinations. Using File Explorer regularly with keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate more easily will help you become more accustomed to using them.

How to clear the recent history in Windows 10 File Explorer

Clearing the recent history of files and folders you have opened in Windows 10 takes only a couple of simple steps.

  1. Click on File in the menu at the top left corner of File Explorer.
  2. Click on Change Folder and search options.
    Open the File Explorer folder and search options in Windows 10.
    Open the File Explorer folder and search options in Windows 10.
  3. Click on Clear.
  4. Then click on OK.
    Clear the quick access file history in File Explorer in Windows 10.
    Clear the quick access file history in File Explorer in Windows 10.

That's it,  your quick access file history is deleted! If you need more help using File Explorer, have a look at the official Microsoft support forums.

About this guide

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