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Windows 10: How to Clear File Explorer Search History or Disable It Permanently

Need to keep your search history in Windows 10 private? We show you how to clear your File Explorer history and disable it via a registry key so you never have to worry about it again.


For convenience, keeps a lot of data about your activities in the background. This is all well and good most of the time, but there are times when privacy is key. We've already talked about the recent files list and now we're going to show you how to clear search history.

Each time you search for a file or string inside a file, Windows 10 catalogs it for future use. If a family member  or any other person on your PC clicks the search box, it will try to be helpful by showing a list of recent searches. If you're planning an engagement or surprise holiday, that's the last thing you want. The suggestions are rarely useful, so you may also want to clear them to reduce UI clutter.

As a result, lets you clear File Explorer history and makes it quite easy. However, those regularly sharing a computer won't want to manually delete file explorer history every time they're done. As a result, we're also going to show you the slightly trickier process to disable it permanently.

How to Clear File Explorer Search History

Time needed: 1 minute

You can delete individual File Explorer search history entries and delete file explorer history as a whole.

  1. Remove individual searches

    Open File Explorer with “Windows + E” and click in the search box. On some versions, you'll see an ‘x' next to your suggestions. Click it to remove.

    Windows 10 - File Explorer - Search History - Delete Search suggestion
    In newer versions of Windows Search you may not have an ‘x'. In this case, you can clear all Windows Explorer history. Follow the steps below to do so.

  2. Access search options

    First, perform a search so you can see all of the search options.

    Windows 10 - File Explorer - Search

  3. Clear File Explorer's recent searches

    You can now clear File Explorer search via the “Recent searches” button in the top-bar. Click “Clear search history” to remove all of the items.

    Windows 10 - File Explorer - Search - Delete Search History

How to Disable File Explorer Search History

Time needed: 3 minutes

If you find yourself deleting search history in Windows regularly, it may be worthwhile to disable it entirely. The process requires some registry tweaks but is safe and only takes a few minutes.

  1. Open registry editor

    Press the Windows key and type “Registry”. Click the first entry to open the Registry Editor app.

    Windows 10 - Search - Registry Editor

  2. Add a new registry key

    In the Registry Editor address bar, paste Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\, Right-click and choose “New > Key”.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - New Key

  3. Name the key

    In the left-hand menu, Windows will prompt you to name the new folder. Call it “Explorer”.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - Rename Key

  4. Create a new DWORD

    Inside the new key, right-click again and select “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value”.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - NEW - DWORD

  5. Name the DWORD entry “DisableSearchBoxSuggestions”

    You must now type the following name for the DWORD entry: DisableSearchBoxSuggestions. Make sure the capitalization and spelling is correct or your Windows 10 File Explorer history will still display.
    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - Name DWORD

  6. Activate the new registry key “DisableSearchBoxSuggestions”

    Double-click on “DisableSearchBoxSuggestions” to open its options. Under “Value data”, enter the number “1”. Press “OK”.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - Edit DisableSearchSuggestions
    You can now close Registry Editor and restart your PC. You'll notice that your File Explorer search history is no longer displayed.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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