[Fixed] File Explorer Only Shows Quick Access

How to fix File Explorer only shows Quick access? Check out this article, and you won’t be bothered by File Explorer not loading properly issue anymore.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I get File Explorer back to normal?

File Explorer helps users manage and organize their tons of files. Especially the File Explorer sidebar improves the accessibility of users’ data, folders, and drives.

Though, some users will have problems using it. For instance, a group of users noticed that Windows 10 doesn’t show recent files;

In addition, some reported that File Explorer only shows Quick access, which causes inconvenience.


Windows 10: File explorer is broken, not showing anything but an empty quick access


When I open file explorer, the thumbnails just show the white paper symbol no matter if the file in question is a folder, picture, or anything else. Then when I close file explorer and open it again, the only thing shown is an empty quick access screen.


- Question from Windows Phone Info


Without the sidebar, users cannot access their folders and hard disks as they like. Then how to fix it when File Explorer not loading properly? Check it out in the following parts.

How to fix File Explorer only shows Quick access?

File Explorer must have run into some problems when the sidebar shows incorrectly. Several viable methods can help you fix this issue.

Fix 1. Restart File Explorer

Firstly, if File Explorer isn’t running correctly as usual, you could try restarting it. Restarting is always a valid solution and a good option when encountering common computer issues.

Tips:  This method can also help you fix the Windows 10 Start menu and Taskbar not working issue.

Step 1. Right-click the taskbar or the Start menu > Task Manager.

Step 2. Find Windows Explorer > Restart.


After rebooting, see if the File Explorer only shows Quick access issue has been solved yet.

Fix 2. Re-activate the Navigation pane

Then, try to re-activate the Navigation pane. When you notice the File Explorer sidebar missing, this will be a viable way.

>> Press the Windows + E key to start This PC/File Explorer > click View > click Navigation pane on the top-left corner of the toolbar > check Navigation pane to turn it off > then turn it on.


Then see if the whole sidebar is visible now.

Fix 3. Change the Folder Options

Another fix when you find the File Explorer sidebar missing is changing the showing options in folders.

>> This PC/File Explorer > View > Options > check Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folders in Quick access under General > Apply.


If you find folders at top disappeared from Quick access, this method can do some help as well.

Fix 4. Reset folders

Try resetting the folders if the solutions above are not helpful. Resetting is a feasible measure when you meet computer issues. For example, some users managed to reset Windows 11 without losing data to fix system problems.

>> Go to This PC > View > Options > View > click Reset Folders.


Wait for the system to process and see if the problem has been fixed yet.

Bonus tips: what to do after deleting files from File Explorer

Apart from addressing the File Explorer only shows Quick access issue, we also offer you a detailed guide to deleted data recovery.

File deletion is one of the most frequent reasons for data loss. What’s worse, meanwhile, a considerable number of users don’t pay enough attention to backup.

Then, how to recover deleted files from File Explorer? How about when there are no backups?

In this case, MyRecover – the efficient data recovery software for Windows, will help you with its excellent characteristics.

Perform an easy and efficient data recovery
  • Photos, movies, office files, zip files, and more than 200 types of data can all be recovered.
  • Deleted files can be restored and preserved with their original filenames, formats, and paths.
  • While scanning, you could directly choose which files to recover.
  • Offer a quick and safe data recovery for internal and external HDD, SSD, USB, SD cards, etc.
  • Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, ReFS, and Windows 11/10/8/7/Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run the app > hover the mouse over the drive to start data recovery > click Scan.


Step 2. The scanned files can be viewed and sorted by Type, Size, Path, etc. Inputting the filenames and extensions is also helpful.


Step 3. Click Deleted files/Recycle Bin > select the files you have lost or deleted > click Recover x files. If no wanted files were found, go to Other missing files > select specific types to retrieve.


Not only supports data recovery from File Explorer or local location, but this app also helps recover files from external hard drive.

Wrapping up

This post can help you solve the File Explorer only shows Quick access issue with several proven methods.

If you are also suffering from this problem, try restarting File Explorer, changing the folder options, re-enabling the Navigation pane, or resetting the folders.

In addition, this post introduces a good Windows data recovery app to help you restore deleted or missing files from hard drives.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.