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What's new with the Windows 10 File Explorer?

File Explorer changes with each new Windows version. In Windows 10, the dynamic Quick Access folder replaces the Favorites listing to make recent folders more easily accessible.

File Explorer has long been part of the Windows operating system, but it evolves slightly from one version of Windows to the next. Some of the changes to Windows 10's File Explorer are cosmetic, but there are two changes that are worth mentioning.

First, the Favorites listing in the File Explorer (previously called Windows Explorer) navigation pane has been replaced by Quick Access. The Quick Access container works similarly to Favorites; Windows allows you to pin frequently used folders to Quick Access so you can reach them easily.

The Quick Access container differs from Favorites in that the folder is dynamic. As you access folders on your device, the most recently accessed folders are temporarily added to Quick Access. That way you can use a single click to access folders you were recently working in.

The biggest change that Microsoft made to File Explorer in Windows 10 is the inclusion of a listing for OneDrive in the navigation pane. OneDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage service, and it's geared primarily toward consumers. OneDrive for Business is also available however, and it works in a manner similar to the consumer version.

With the additions to File Explorer in Windows 10, users now have location-agnostic file access. Users can access files stored on the local network the same way and through the same interface that they use to access files stored on their own devices. The inclusion of OneDrive within the Windows 10 File Explorer means that users now have the ability to access cloud, local and network storage through a common interface without having to do anything special.

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This was last published in November 2015

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Will Quick Access be more useful than Favorites?
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I think it depends on how much someone uses the current windows features. For example, if someone currently uses the list of recent files on Office products, then I think Quick Access could be very useful because it’s not such a leap to Quick Access. However, if someone is used to drilling down into the file system to find what they want, then I think it will take a rather large paradigm shift in the way they operate before Quick Access would become useful.
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