I can't answer that, at least not precisely, as I do not know of any way to disable Quick Access other than to toggle the display of same on or off.
If you don't have a recent files list showing up in things like Word, Excel, Paint, etc., I can't explain that. If I even so much as bring up the context menu for any start menu item, I get a recents list associated with it. But I have never disabled the display of Quick Access, either.
But the recents lists predate Quick Access by quite a long time.
Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043
It is the function of creative men to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different, and to be able to combine them into some new forms--the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.
~ William Plomer