How to Backup Quick Access Windows 10?


How does one backup their Windows 10 Quick Access folder settings? In particular, if your quick access has been customized heavily, is there a way to save it before the next Windows reinstall?

Quick Access is a new Windows 10 feature found in File Explorer. It opens folders by default and collects frequently visited folders and recent files you can quickly access—hence the term—from there with just a few clicks. You can even pin your favorite folders there.

It’s unique in that if you move a folder elsewhere, the shortcuts afforded by the feature will know where you moved them. If you want to know how to backup quick access folders on windows 10, it’s written down below.

How to Backup Quick Access Windows 10

Open your File Explorer browser. It’s the Windows 10 of File Manager from the olden days of personal computing. From there, click the address bar on the File Explorer (similar to the address bar of Internet Explorer). You can also press Ctrl + L to access it.

Now go ahead and type or copy and paste the following instructions to the address bar: %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations

How to Backup Quick Access Folders in Windows 10

Copy all the files on this folder—the AutomaticDestinations folder—to a new folder where you plan to store your Quick Access backup. There! You now have a backup of Quick Access.

backup quick access windows 10

Close the File Explorer program and pat yourself in the back.

Tips on What to Expect of the AutomaticDestinations Folder

The folder contains loads of automaticDestinations-ms files. One of the files—the one with the file name of d f01b4d95cf55d32a.automaticDestinations-ms—contain the pinned folders you’ve personally put on Quick Access.

If you wish to only backup your pinned folders, you can just copy that one file. Additionally, since you’re backing up file folder locations, you better make sure that those folders are also backed up then restored if you’re reformatting the whole PC.

Otherwise, you might as well just start from scratch and pin the new locations of your files one-by-one once restoration is over. Copying the whole folder is basically saving your most recently accessed folders at the time of the backup.

How to Restore Quick Access Folders

Again, open File Explorer and navigate to the aforementioned Automatic Destinations folder of %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations. You can copy and paste this location to the address bar or type it in from a screenshot.

Now copy and paste the files you’ve backed up earlier on the new AutomaticDestinations folder you’ve opened on a presumably fresh new installation of Windows 10. Your Quick Access folders and the folders you’ve pinned have now been restored.

Close all the File Explorer windows then open a new Explorer window in order to get the changes to reflect on your Quick Access menu. You may get a “folder not found” message if you have changed, moved, or renamed the recent folders on your Quick Access backup.

Q&A

How do I export quick access?

How to Backup Quick Access Folders in Windows 10

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click in the address bar, or press Ctrl + L, and type the following in the address bar: %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations.
  3. Copy all the files you see to some other folder where you plan to store your backup.

Where is quick access data stored?

Simply launch File Explorer, and the Quick Access section appears in the left sidebar. Here, you’ll see frequently used folders and recently used files. By default, the Quick Access section is always in this location, so you can jump to the top to view it.

How do I restore the Quick Access toolbar?

If you customize the Quick Access toolbar, you can restore it to the original settings.

  1. Open the Customize dialog box using one of these methods:
  2. In the Customize dialog box, click the Quick Access tab.
  3. On the Quick Access page, click Reset.
  4. In the message dialog box, click Yes.
  5. In the Customize dialog box, click Close.

Where are pinned items stored Windows 10?

Solution. The pinned icons are present at the location – %APPDATA%\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar which was being excluded in the profile.

How do I export a pinned folder?

Backup & restore pinned Taskbar items

  1. Type the following in the Run prompt: %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar.
  2. Copy all the files from there, and paste it elsewhere as a backup – say into – E:\Pinned Items Backup\pinnedshortcuts.

What is quick access Windows 10?

What is Quick access? The Quick access section is found when you open the File Explorer. It’s the equivalent of Favorites, found in older versions of Windows. It gives you access to your frequently used folders and allows you to open recent files as well.

What are pinned folders?

Overview. All users can pin folders. Pinning a folder means that it can be found on your Home page and in the left-hand navigation menu in the Pinned section, making it quick and easy to access. Pinning folders works on a user level only, so your pins only appear in your workspace.

What happened to my quick access files?

To deactivate recent files or frequent folders, go to the View tab and then select Options. In the Privacy section, uncheck the boxes and select Apply. Now, Quick Access will only show anchored folders. (If you turn them on again, the items you previously removed from Quick Access might reappear.)

Is quick access the same as favorites?

The Favorites list remains the same most of the time. Quick Access changes based on your PC habits, and you can even see changes from one hour to another. However, if you want a folder or file to be accessible all the time, you can also pin it to always stay on display, even if you don’t use it for a while.

Where are quick access pinned folders stored?

Folders pinned to Quick access will display under Frequent folders in Quick access in File Explorer, and under Quick access in the navigation pane of File Explorer. Folders you pin or unpin for Quick access will also be pinned or unpinned in the jump list of File Explorer on the taskbar and Start menu.

Does removing a file from quick access delete it?

But sometimes you might not want your private files to show up in Quick access, and you’ll want to hide them. You can simply delete the file, but it will also be deleted from its original location, so we don’t recommend this.

Can you rename quick access links in Windows 10?

Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to rename folders pinned to Quick Access, unlike other folders. On top of that, the Quick Access will display the original name of the folder even if you create a shortcut to the folder and pin it to Quick Access after renaming the folder shortcut.

How do I restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 10?

To add the Quick Launch bar back to the Taskbar, right-click on an open area of the Taskbar, and go to Toolbars > New Toolbar.

Why did my quick access toolbar disappear?

1. Move the Toolbar Below the Ribbon. If you can’t see any Quick Access Toolbar at the top of File Explorer’s window, move the QAT below the Ribbon instead. The QAT will most likely disappear when you add third-party add-ons such as Clover to File Explorer.

How do I find my pinned items?

Click the Pinned tab on the right pane to see your pinned items. Click an item on the Pinned tab to see it in the listing area, or double-click it to do the default action of the object. For example, double-clicking a document that you can edit would open the checkout prompt for the document.

Things to Keep in Mind

Quick Access shows you pinned locations regardless of how many times you visit them. Other folders appear by order of frequency and which one was most recently visited. Frequent Folders is an extra view of what File Explorer features in jump lists in Windows 7 and 8.

They’re like the folder version of pinned applications on your taskbar that you can easily access by a click of their icon. You can quickly access folders pinned on your Quick Access.

References:

  1. Sergey Tkachenko, “How to Backup Quick Access Folders in Windows 10“, WinAero.com, March 19, 2021

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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