How to Use Windows/File Explorer Favorites

If you’ve been creating new files on your computer for any time at all, chances are the folder you need to pull files from and save new files to while you’re working today is five or six layers down in the navigation map in Windows Explorer (aka File Explorer).


Before I figured out today’s tip, every time I needed to save a new file, I’d have to laboriously click down through the navigation panel to find the exact Save location, even though I had just looked at that folder a minute before.

Not anymore. Now when I want to save a new file like this, I just click on ‘Recent places’ under the Favorites section and bam, I can see and click on the Save folder immediately. Talk about a productivity improvement!

In today’s video, I’ll show you how set up and use your Favorites section to save yourself time and aggravation any time you need to retrieve or save files.

Key Points to Remember

  • Favorites are shown at the top of the left navigation panel in Windows (or File) Explorer.
  • Favorites are shortcuts to folders, libraries, or drives on your computer.
  • Default Favorites are Desktop, Downloads, and Recent Places.

Three Ways to Add a New Favorite

Always start by opening Windows/File Explorer.

Method 1. Browse to a folder, library, or drive. Drag it to the Favorites section. Release when you see a dark bar indicating where it will be placed.

Method 2. Browse to a folder, library, or drive. Click on the item in the left navigation panel so it is highlighted. Scroll up to the Favorites section without clicking on anything else. Right click on Favorites. In the drop-down menu, select ‘Add current location to Favorites’.

Method 3. Browse to a folder, library, or drive. Create a shortcut. (In Windows 8.1: New Item > Shortcut.) Drag/drop the shortcut to the Favorites section. (Note: A copy of the shortcut remains in the original location.)

To remove from Favorites:
Select item in Favorites > Right click > Remove.

To change the order of Favorites:
Drag and drop to rearrange items.

Productivity Tips

  • Don’t add too many custom Favorites. Shoot for just 3 or 4 of them. Use your custom Favorites to quickly and easily access top-level folders or drives (For example, add the top-level folder for your personal files, your Dropbox, and your OneDrive.)
  • During your daily work, use the built-in ‘Recent places’ Favorite to quickly get back to or save to a lower-level folder you’ve been using for that day’s work.

There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.

We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250