Recent documents was basically integrated in Windows so that one can easily open the file or program that user has closed without going back to the root directory. However, it creates some serious risks on the privacy of user as well.

The recent document history usually does not bother the users if they are using their private computer because it reduces the chances of someone having a look at the files and programs you had opened. However, if you are using a shared computer, you may not want to leave the track record of some of the important files you have opened on it.

How To Clear Recent Documents

Therefore, it is important to know how to view, open and, most important of all, delete the recent document history to make sure that no one else can know what you have opened, edit or used on a particular computer.

The how-to-delete procedure of recent documents varies with the version of Windows you are using. Therefore, I have listed the method of deleting the history of recent documents for two of the most widely used versions of Windows i.e. Windows XP & Vista and Windows 7 & 8.

For Windows XP & Vista:

Method#1: (For Removing Selected Files)

Before moving on to deleting the history of the most recently closed documents, you must first know from where to browse it. The very first thing that you will need to do is to go to ‘Start Menu’. In start menu, there will be an option of ‘Recent Documents’ in between ‘My Documents’ and ‘My Pictures’.

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When you will take your mouse pointer on it, a side menu will be opened having the history of your most recently closed documents.

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Now you will need to right click on the file or program you want to delete from the history and select the delete option from the drop down menu of right click and that particular file will be removed from history.

Method#2: (For Clearing The Entire List)

In case, you want to delete the entire list of the recent documents history, then the given above method is not for you. For those who want to delete the entire list of recent documents, there is another efficient way.

The first thing that you will need to do is to take your mouse pointer on the start menu and right click on it. From the right click menu, select the last option which will be ‘Properties’.

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Selecting the ‘Properties’ option will open a dialogue box in which there would be two options the first one will be ‘Start Menu’ and the other one will be ‘Classic Menu’. Make sure that there is a check placed on ‘Start Menu’. Just beside the ‘Start Menu’, there will be a ‘Customize’ button which you will need to click.

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Clicking the ‘Customize’ button will open another dialogue box having two tabs from which you will need to select the ‘Advanced’ tab.

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At the bottom of that dialogue box, there will be a ‘Clear List’ button. All you need to do is to click that button and all your recent history will be vanished.

Method#3: (Clearing The Entire History)

The simplest and easiest of all for removing the entire history of recent documents is to go to ‘Start Menu’ and select the ‘Run’ option.

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Selecting the ‘Run’ will open a dialogue box in which you will need to type this command ‘Recent Docs’ or ‘Recent Documents’.

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Click ‘Ok’ button at the bottom and it will open a window containing all files and programs that you have opened and stored in the history. Select all by using the shortcut ‘Ctrl+A’ and press ‘Del’ button or right click and select ‘Delete’ option.

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Doing so will remove the entire recent document history.

For Windows 7 & 8:

Similar to Windows XP & Vista, the recent document history can also be removed in latest versions of Windows i.e. Windows 7 and Windows 8.

In order to remove the history in Windows 7 & 8, you will need to go to the ‘Start Menu’ and right click on it.

From the right-click menu, select the ‘Properties’ option which will open a dialogue box having multiple tabs in it. From those tabs, you will need to select the ‘Start Menu’ tab and then click on ‘Customize’ button.

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Clicking the ‘Customize’ button will open another dialogue box having multiple options. However, you are not required to do anything to that list of options. Our concerned options will be listed at the bottom of the screen from which you will need to select the second or last option ‘Number of recent items to display in Jump Lists’. Just after this option, there will be a number counter having default value ‘10’ which you will need to change to ‘0’.

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After changing the value to ‘0’, click ‘Ok’ button. After carrying out the above mentioned steps, go to start menu again and you will see that there will not be any history of recent documents.