How to Clear and Disable Recent Files in Windows 10


Windows 10 has many advanced features for everyday use designed to improve your productivity. One of them is the “Recent Files” section, which stores information about recently used documents and folders.

If you are the only user of your PC, you will probably find this quick access folder very handy. You can quickly pick up where you left off before you turned off your device for the last time. You don’t need to open specific folders to view the files you last opened. But if you share your PC with your family, friends, or coworkers, you probably won’t be very comfortable sharing what you’ve been working on with everyone.

The good news is that you can erase or disable recent files with just a few clicks. This article will show you how to do it.

How recent files work in Windows 1

The Recent Files menu is a simple, yet powerful and convenient Windows feature that provides quick access to your most recently used items. It also allows you to quickly reopen any of these items without having to go through the normal process of opening an item. If you are working on multiple documents each day, it will save you time when trying to figure out what to work with next.

To further increase the efficiency of your computer, you can choose to pin specific files that you access frequently. Pinned files will always be part of the recent files list no matter how long you go without accessing them.

Most apps in Windows also display a list of the most recently used or most recently created items as soon as you open them. For example, Microsoft Word will display all recent documents, Microsoft Excel will display all recent spreadsheets, and Internet Explorer will display all websites you have visited recently.

The Windows 10 algorithm behind the Recent Files menu is designed to work as follows:

  • The files are listed in chronological order, with the most recently used file appearing at the top of the list.
  • The default number of items listed is 10, but the user can increase this number by adjusting the markup.
  • Over time, older items will move down the list as newer items move to the top of the list.
  • If you open an item that is already on the list, that item will come back to the top of the list.
  • Pinned items will move up and down the list like any other item, but they will never go away.
  • If the number of items you’ve pinned to the list equals the maximum number specified in the markup, there won’t be any new additions to the list until certain items are pinned.

How to erase recent files in Windows 10

There are several ways to clear your recent files history in Windows 10:

(a) Using the File Explorer icon in the taskbar

  1. Launch File Explorer on your computer. By default, the File Explorer icon is pinned to your taskbar. The icon itself is shaped like a suitcase with a pale blue handle.
  2. Once the File Explorer window opens, click “File” in the upper left corner, then select “Change folder and search options.”
  3. Under “Confidentiality”, click on “Delete”. This will immediately erase your recent files history and now you will start to populate the list again.

Unlike most Windows 10 commands, deleting recent files does not come with a confirmation dialog. Your recent files are erased immediately without any further action.

(b) Manual erase of recent files

All the files you open on your PC are automatically stored as cached data. If you want to clean up your Recent Files menu, you can find this information and safely delete it. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Run window by typing “run” into the search bar in the lower left corner of your screen. You can also press the Windows key and “R” simultaneously.
  2. Type the following command at the Run prompt:
    %AppData%MicrosoftWindowsRecent

    This should open a new window with a list of all of your recent file history.
  3. Click on “Select All” in the menu bar.
  4. Once you have selected all the items in the list, click on “Remove” and then select “Permanently remove” from the drop-down menu. At this point, any files you recently accessed will disappear from File Explorer.

How to turn off recent files in Windows 10

Recent Files is undoubtedly a great feature that allows you to quickly get back to your most recently used documents or folders. However, this feature also comes with more clutter. There will be more and more items in your File Explorer as you continue to use your computer. If you prefer to start with a clean slate every time you log in, you should permanently turn off recent files. There are several ways to do this. Let’s see how each one works:

(a) Deactivation through the Group Policy Editor

If your computer is running the “Pro” version of Windows 10, you can use Group Editor Policy to change various settings on your system.

Group Policy Editor is a tool that can be used to manage policies and settings in Windows configuration. It is most often used to manage password policies, system security controls, or account-related options on computers in an organizational domain. It may also be possible to use this tool with your personal computer. However, you should consult your device’s documentation before attempting any modification.

Here’s how to clear your recent files history using Group Editor Policy:

  1. Open the Run window by typing “run” into the search bar in the lower left corner of your screen. You can also press the Windows key and “R” simultaneously.
  2. Type the following command at the Run prompt:
    gpedit.msc
  3. Click on “Ok” to execute the command. This should launch the “Local Group Policy Editor” window.
  4. Under “User Configuration”, click “Administrative Templates”.
  5. Double-click on “Start menu and taskbar”.
  6. Double-click “Remove recent menu items from Start menu.”
  7. In the window that appears, select the “Enabled” option, then click “OK”.

(b) Deactivation via the control panel

The Control Panel can help you fine-tune your system so that it never keeps track of your file history no matter how often you use a program or application. To turn off recent files using this approach:

  1. Type “control panel“in the Windows search bar.
  2. Once the control panel opens, click on “Appearance and Personalization”.
  3. Click on “Taskbar and Navigation”.
  4. Click on “Start”.
  5. Disable the button next to “Show recently opened items in shortcut lists on startup or taskbar.”

(c) Deactivation via Registry Editor

To disable recent files using the registry editor:

  1. Open the Run window by typing “run” into the search bar in the lower left corner of your screen. You can also press the Windows key and “R” simultaneously.
  2. Type the following command at the Run prompt:
    regedit
  3. Click on “Ok” to execute the command. This should launch the “Registry Editor” window.
  4. Open the following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer
  5. Right-click on the right pane, click “New,” then select “DWORD (32-bit) Value” from the drop-down list. This will instantly create a new value named “New Value # 1”.
  6. Rename the name to “NoRecentDocsHistory”.
  7. Right-click on the new value, then click “Edit.”
  8. Enter “1” under “Value data”, then click “OK”.
  9. Restart your computer.

After restarting your computer, Windows will no longer display your Recent Files menu in File Explorer.

Additional FAQs

Why do I have to erase recent files from time to time?

Erasing recent files often has several advantages. First of all, you can declutter your system and make sure that important documents are not accidentally deleted or overwritten. Second, no one will be able to track your Windows usage history if you share your computer with others. In addition, a compressed file explorer can slow down your computer and make it start for much longer. It can also lead to other issues, such as out of memory errors or error messages that appear when working with certain programs, slowing down the overall performance of your PC.

How can I delete individual files from recent files?

If you want to erase some items and keep others:

1. Open the Run window by typing “run” into the search bar in the lower left corner of your screen. You can also press the Windows key and “R” simultaneously.

2. Type the following command at the Run prompt:

%AppData%MicrosoftWindowsRecent

This should open a new window with a list of all of your recent file history.

3. Click on the specific item you want to remove.

4. Click on “Delete” and then select “Delete permanently” from the drop-down menu. At this point, the item you selected will no longer be in the Recent Files window.

3. How can I hide recent files in File Explorer?

If you want to get rid of the recent files list without changing your system too much, you might be better off hiding the list completely. Here’s how:

1. Launch File Explorer on your computer.

2. Click “File” in the upper left corner, then select “Change folder and search options”.

3. Under “Privacy”, clear the “Show recently used files in Quick Access” and “Show frequently used folders in Quick Access” check boxes.

4. Click “OK” to save your new settings.

Keep your story private

Windows 10 is designed with privacy in mind. If you don’t want other people to see what you’ve written or used recently, you need to erase or turn off recent files on your computer. In this article, we’ve shown you how to do it.

Why do you like to clear your recent file history from time to time? How exactly do you do

Let us know in the comments section below.