File Explorer and Finder are the apps for managing files/folders in Windows and macOS respectively. These apps will always show the default assigned locations whenever you launch. This will easily annoy you, when you want to access your hard drive or other folder instead of the default location. In addition, it may also create privacy problem when your recently opened files and folders are visible while you are sharing the screen with others. Here is how you can change the default opening folder in File Explorer (Windows 11) and Finder (macOS).
Unfortunately, Windows does not allow you to set custom folder as a default location in File Explorer. All what you can do is to choose either “Home” or “This PC” location. However, macOS allows you to set a custom folder as your default location which makes your routine easier.
Changing Default Folder Location in Windows 11 File Explorer
Windows 11 has a new interface of File Explorer and shows “Home” as a default location when you launch the app. Home section will show quick access (with folders like desktop, downloads, etc.), favorites and recently accessed files. You can change the default location as explained below:
- Press “Windows + E” keys to launch File Explorer app.
- Click the three dots icons (called “See more”) in the top toolbar.
- Select “Options” from the list of menu items to open “Folder Options” dialog box.
- Make sure you are in “General” tab and click the dropdown against “Open File Explorer to:” option.
- Select “This PC” and click “Apply” button.
- Now onwards, File Explorer will open with “This PC” section instead of “Home”. Since the sidebar still shows quick access items, you can disable the sidebar by going to “View > Show” and uncheck “Navigation Pane” option.
You can’t create folder or save files under “This PC” location. So, you will only see the drives and other volumes in your system without any other personal stuffs. If you want to continue using “Home” location without showing recently accessed files, then open “Folder Options” dialog as explained above. In “General” tab, disable the following options under “Privacy” section.
- Show recently used files
- Show frequently used folders
- Show files from Office.com
If required, click “Clear” button to delete previous history.
Note: Microsoft continuously changes the default locations available for File Explorer. There were “OneDrive” and “Downloads” locations, however, “This PC” and “Home” are the only available options when this article is written.
Change Default Location in Finder macOS
Mac offers a better option compared to Windows 11 to set any custom folder as the default location. By default, Finder app opens with the “Recents” folder showing all recently accessed files. Follow the below steps to change that default location.
- Launch Finder app and press “Command + Comma” shortcut keys. Alternatively, go to “Finder > Settings…” menu.
- This will open “Finder Settings” pop-up and check under “General” section.
- Click the dropdown below “New Finder window shows” option and select one of the available folders like “Desktop”. For setting custom location, click “Other…” option to browse through and select a folder.
Henceforth, Finder will open with the set folder as a default location.
If you want to remove certain folders (like Recents) showing in Finder sidebar, open “Finder Settings” as explained above and go to “Sidebar” tab. Here, you can enable or disable the folders you want to show in the sidebar.