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Windows 7 - Hiding Recent Files from the Start Menu

By default, Windows 7 keeps a record of all of the documents and other files which you open on your computer. A list of these previously-accessed items appears in the start menu by default. While having such a history of the computer's usage may be convenient for some, others find that it encroaches on privacy, especially on shared computers. Fortunately, it is easy to disable the recent documents feature and remove it from the start menu altogether. Follow the guide below to learn how to do this in just a few clicks.

Right-click on the start menu orb or on any unoccupied area of the taskbar and click "Properties". The "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" window will appear. Click on the "Start Menu" tab to customize the start menu. You'll see two check boxes under the privacy section. The second option can be safely disabled if you don't want anyone else seeing exactly which files you have been accessing recently. The first option will remove recently open programs from the start menu which many people will find inconvenient.

Although recently accessed items will still be recorded by Windows, you can prevent them only from appearing in the start menu if you prefer. To do this, right-click on the start button and go to "Properties." Return to the start menu tab and click "Customize." You will be presented with an extensive list of options which allow you to fully customize your Windows 7 start menu by choosing exactly what's displayed and what isn't. If you scroll down the list, you'll find an option called "Recent Items." Remove the check mark from this box and click on "OK" to save your changes. The recent documents section of the start menu will disappear immediately.

If you decide later that you want to use the recent documents feature, you can activate it again at any time by checking the two boxes mentioned above as well as the "Recent Items" option. With the feature enabled, you can also choose how many items you want to have displayed. When you click "Customize" in the start menu properties window, you'll see an option at the bottom of the window called "Number of recent items to display in Jump Lists." Type in the maximum number of items you want (up to 30) and click "OK" to save your changes. This option is unavailable if you have the recent documents feature turned off.


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