Windows – How to Clear the Recent Documents List

If you’re sharing your Windows computer with other members of the family, then know that they can access your “Recent Documents” list, and failing to delete said list might come back to bite you in the back later on. So if you’re sharing your PC or laptop with others, it might be wise to delete the Recent Documents list every time. However, there might come a time when you fail to do this manually, and as such, which will, once again, bite you in the back. So what you can do is let the operating system do it for you.  To do this, you will have to do a Registry edit, and since you’re going to do a bit of tweaking there, do not edit anything else than what is told unless you really know what you’re doing. This is because making a wrong move in regedit can harm your computer’s data, which might even cause it to become inoperable.

Windows - How to Clear the Recent Documents List

Clearing the Recent Documents List in Your Windows Computer

Step 1 – Start by accessing the registry editor in Windows by clicking the Start button and typing in regedit. It should immediately appear under Best match. Press the Enter key or click on it to access the Registry editor. Make sure to give it proper permissions for you to edit things to your PC.

Step 2 – While inside the Windows Registry Editor, use the left sidebar and navigate towards the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\. Once again, don’t navigate towards anywhere else unless you really know what you’re about to do.

Step 3 – Once clicked on, you would then have to create a new value in the Explorer key. Do a right-click within the Explorer key and choose New, and then DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new value as “ClearRecentDocsOnExit” without the quotes. And yes, there aren’t any spaces in between those words.

Step 4 – On the newly created value, do a double-click on ClearRecentDocsOnExit to open its properties window. Under the Value Data, by default it should say 0. Change the value to 1 and hit the OK button. Take note that there are no Save or Continue buttons here as the operating system saves anything here immediately.

Step 5 – After closing the Registry Editor of your Windows operating system, the next time you sign out of your user account, or restart or shut down your computer, all of the recent documents should be cleared.


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Windows – How to Clear the Recent Documents List
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