Windows Explorer crashes due to the Quick Access View

Sep 08, 2016 - by Brendan Lee

The Quick Access feature in Windows Explorer is a really useful tool for accessing your recently used files and folders. However it does not seem to be intuitive enough to remove items from it's list that may have been deleted or renamed. 

Recently a client of ours reported that Windows Explorer would keep crashing. Once we invetsigated it further it became apparent that Explorer would crash due to the files or folders listed in the Quick Access view. These items may have been renamed or deleted at source so the network path that the Quick Access view was trying to use is now invalid or does not exist.

If you can open Explorer for a moment without it crashing there is a quick fix - right click on "Quick Access" and select "Options". Under the "General" tab click on the "Clear" button to remove all items from the Explorer history. This will remove all links to recent folders and files including any links that are no longer valid and causing Explorer to crash. 

In addition you can untick "show recently used files in Quick Access" and "show recently used folders in Quick Access" to avoid this issue occuring again - but of course you will lose the functionality of the Quick Access view. 


  1. Rob Nicholson

    Two of my clients (at the same company) has the same problem. They're a big Office 365 user. I think turning off recent items is a workaround but not a very acceptable one. They've recently gone through the anniversary update and the fault is still there. I'm amazed this bug is still present. I try to like Windows 10 and the more rapid update & release schedule but I get the impression that some important bugs are being pushed back.

  2. Henry

    Yup, the cause is due to a mapped network drive and a file path near the max path length default. It looks like it tries to read outside of its expected range then crashes because it thinks there is a memory heap corruption. Interestingly you can use a unc path instead of a mapped drive path to the same file and not get the crash as a workaround. The bug also happens in the file explorer search as well.

  3. Neal Thomas

    Brendan, I have experience this very thing now going on 11 months. Dell's Pro-Support have no answers, and everyone else seems to think I need every virus cleaner under the sun. System is Win-7 64 (Office 2010) and when I say I keep a clean house, I mean nothing is automated. I get my own "Important" only Windows Update, if going to a web site Flash or anything else is "Always Ask", and stay away from the, Al Bundys words, 'Nudie Bars', as I have over 22 years of business clients lists and pictures to protect. Although, as of last March Windows Explorer would crash regularly. Remove a thumb drive, drag a folder to one of four monitors, more than one instance of Explorer open, 'Open With' W-Media Player, crash! After reading this Sep 08, 2016 from you my heart damn near leapt (Akin to 'offt') from my chest. However, I see nothing mentioning my Win7 2010 Office Windows Explorer. I see no Quick Access in my variety. Any suggestions?

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