By Delia / Last update March 3, 2022

When you click on the Start menu in Windows 11, you'll see the "Recommended" section by default, which contains a list of your most recently opened files and folders. This is certainly a handy feature to help you find and open your most recently used files as quickly as possible - but only if the computer is used only by you. If the computer is used by others, or you need to attend online classes, network meetings, etc., your private information may be exposed in an unexpected way in front of people. I'm sure many of users have already experienced this firsthand.

In addition, you may also notice that Quick access on the left side of File Explorer also shows your recently accessed path, which may cause similar embarrassment.

windows 11

So how do you turn off these panels in Windows 11? Here is how to do so.

How to turn off the recommended bar in the Start menu

1. First, open Settings. You can find it fixed in the Start menu and click the gear icon, or you can press Windows + I on your keyboard to bring it up.

2. In the Settings app, find "Personalize" in the sidebar. Scroll down to find “Start” options on the right side and select it.

personalize start menu

3. In the Start settings, click the switches next to "Show recently added apps", “Show most used apps”, and "Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer" to set them to "Off".

start settings

This way, the next time you open the Start menu, you will no longer see your recently used files in the "Recommended" section.

How to clear File Explorer quick access section

1. Open File Explorer and find the Quick access bar on the left side. Right-click it and select "Show more options" > "Options".

quick access options

2. In the “General” tab of Folder Options, you can see the Privacy section at the bottom. Here there are two options "Show recently used files in Quick access" and "Show frequently used folders in Quick access ". Uncheck them, then the Quick access bar will not show your usage history anymore, click "Clear" to clear the existing records.

folder privacy options

3. Click "Apply" to save the settings and click "OK" to exit. In this way, you have cleared your Quick access bar.

The above are the approaches to clear Windows 11 Start Menu Recommended bar and File Explorer Quick access bar. If you need to protect your privacy, you may give it a try.