How to fix duplicate folders in left pane of File Explorer?

Issue: I am getting duplicate folders in the left pane of File Explorer. For example, I see double “Desktop” and “Libraries.” Is there anything I can do to fix this?

Solved Answer

File Explorer, the default file management application in Windows, is an integral tool for every user. This interface allows users to navigate through their data, encompassing a multitude of directories, files, and system locations. On the left pane of File Explorer, you will typically find quick access points like “Quick access,” “This PC,” and “Network,” among others, which offer easy navigation to frequent or significant locations on your system.

However, some users have reported an anomaly wherein duplicate folders appear in the left pane of File Explorer. This issue not only causes confusion but can also clutter the interface, reducing the efficiency for which File Explorer is so relied upon.

These duplicate folders in the left pane may occur due to various reasons. More often than not, the issue lies in the folder settings of the Windows operating system. Incorrect or corrupted folder settings could lead the system to generate duplicate folders in the File Explorer's left pane. An issue with the Windows Registry could also be a potential reason.

To rectify this, users may need to correct the folder settings via the Folder Options or Command Prompt. In Folder Options, users can reset folders, clear the File Explorer history, or restore defaults. Command Prompt, meanwhile, offers a more advanced approach where users can use specific commands to resolve the issue.

However, in some cases, basic troubleshooting methods might also be required. These may include running System File Checker (SFC) or Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) to check for system file errors and repair the Windows image, respectively.

How to fix duplicate folders in left pane of File Explorer?

Detailed instructions for these solutions will be provided in the sections following this article. It's important to note that these measures require some level of expertise. Therefore, always ensure you understand each step before proceeding and consider creating a restore point for your system beforehand.

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Method 1. Change Folder options

  • Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  • Go to the View tab and select Options > Change folder and search options.
  • Navigate to the View tab and scroll down to the Navigation pane section.
  • Untick all the options here.
  • Click Apply and OK.

Change Folder settings

Method 2. Reset Folder settings

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Resetting the folder settings can correct any incorrect configurations that might be causing the duplicate folders. This returns settings to their default state, resolving errors caused by customized settings.

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Click on View and then Options.
  • In the Folder Options window, click Restore Defaults.
  • Click Apply and then OK.

Reset Folder settings

Method 3. Use Command Prompt

Executing specific commands in Command Prompt can correct underlying system issues that might be causing the duplicate folders.

  • Type in cmd in Windows search.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  • In the User Account Control window, click Yes.
  • Copy and paste the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
    cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows
    attrib -h IconCache.db
    del IconCache.db
  • Restart your computer.

Delete cache files via Command Prompt

Method 4. Run SFC and DISM

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Running System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) are standard troubleshooting techniques that can help in resolving various system issues, including the problem of duplicate folders in File Explorer. Here are the instructions for both:

  • Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  • In the Command Prompt window, paste the following command and hit Enter:
    sfc /scannow
  • Next, use the following commands, pressing Enter each time:
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    (Note: if you get an error executing this last command, add /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess to it and try again).
  • Reboot your PC.

SFC and DISM

Method 5. Take care of the issue in Quick Access menu

If the issue is present in Quick Access, then follow these steps:

  • Close down File Explorer.
  • Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  • When UAC shows up, click Yes.
  • Copy and paste the following command and press Enter:
    del /f /s /q /a “%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations\f01b4d95cf55d32a.automaticDestinations-ms”
  • Close down Command Prompt and restart File Explorer.

Take care of the issue in Quick Access menu

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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