When you type in the Search box in ‘Windows File Explorer’, a list of suggestions will display below the box. These suggestions are from the search history you previously entered.
This can help faster and easier searches, but there are times when you might want to clear that history. Maybe other family members are using the same computer, and you don’t want them to see what you’re looking for. We will show you how to remove specific terms from Explorer search history and clear the entire history in Windows 7, 8, and 10.
Note: In this article, we will refer to the program as “File Explorer”, although it is called “Windows Explorer” in Windows 7. The following procedure will work for both.
How to Delete Specific File Explorer Search Terms in File Explorer
To remove a specific search term from the search history in Windows 7, 8, or 10, start typing the search term in the Search box. Then use the down arrow key to begin scrolling through words that match what you’ve typed. When you have selected the name you want to delete from the search history, press the “Delete” key.
The search term will be removed without confirmation, and the next time you start typing that term, this will not be suggested.
How to Clear Full File Explorer Search History in Windows 8 and 10
To quickly delete your entire search history in File Explorer in Windows 8 and 10, click in the Search box and then click on the Search tab available.
NOTE: This doesn’t work in Windows 7 – see the next section for a seven friendly method.
In the Options section on the Search tab, do “Recent searches” and then choose “Clear search history”.
Your File Explorer’s entire search history has been deleted, and the Recent searches button is grayed out, indicating that you have no search history. Note that there is no confirmation before the history is deleted.
File Explorer also keeps a list of recently accessed files in Quick access, and you can also clear the list if you care who sees what you’re doing.
How to Delete a Specific Search Term (or all Search History) Using Subscription
Deleting individual search terms using the above method is easy, but you must remember enough to search again. If you don’t know what you want to delete, or you want to browse through your search history to see what you want to delete, you can use the registry.
If you want to delete your entire search history, this is the only way to do it in Windows 7.
Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool, and overusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack, and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you haven’t worked with it before, consider reading about how to use Registry Editor before getting started. And be sure to back up the Registry (and your computer!) Before making changes.
To get started, open Registry Editor by clicking Start and type “regedit”. Press Enter to open Registry Editor and let your computer make changes.
In Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer Word WordWheelQuery
In the right pane, you will see a numbered list of values. Each number is a word you searched for in File Explorer. You can’t see a phrase until you double-click a value.
The search term is listed on the Value data box’s right side in the Edit Bx Binary Value dialog box.
Click “OK” to close the Edit Binary Value dialog box. If the term you just viewed is the one you want to delete, right-click on that value and choose “Delete”.
The following warning dialog box is displayed. Deleting the values under the
WordWheelQuery key won’t damage your system, so click “Yes” to confirm the value deletion.
You can also delete the entire search history of File Explorer by right-clicking the key
WordWheelQuery and choosing “Delete”.
Close Registry Editor by going to File> Exit or by clicking “X” in the window’s upper right corner.
Search terms that you removed in the registry will no longer show up as suggestions when entering your search terms.