Vista: Clear Recent Items

Purging the Recent Items list on the Start menu is easy. Here is how to do it.

If you don’t like the recent items list, hack_vista has already shown how one can prevent items from ever appearing there.

However, if you were just viewing that questionable photo and want to clear your Recent Items list, here is how to do it.

1. Left-click the Start Orb to open the Start menu
2. Right-click on Recent Items
3. Select Clear Recent Items List


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
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The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • roger

    it does not get cleared altogether……….the questionable material still comes out on recent items list when we search

  • Jesse

    When I right click on Recent Items. Clear recent items list is not a choice on the menue. It used to be a menue choice but it’s gone. i’d like it back. Any Ideas on how to get back.

  • fl4ir

    whys it always crash windows explorer when i try clear recent items? i think it could be to do with long filenames but its so annoying. i see why some ppl hate vista when they cant get simple thing like this right, or offer a fix. =(

  • Anonymous

    just follow the steps given above…that is
    click start->right click recent items->clear recent items will appear. click it

    • Phil

      Not true…like Jesse above,..clear recent items, is not show as a choice on my list

      • Ticked off at Vista

        Ditto for me, I don’t get a drop down list. Anyone know where the folder is that stores these so I can just delete everything from it like I used to in XP?

      • divyang

        i can’t get “clear recent items” by right clicking recent items.

        • Ccc221

          You can switch the start menu to the classic view as in XP by right clicking on a blank space which gives you properties…click on properties, click on start menu, select classic…apply…click on customize…clear records option is there, as before.

  • Steve

    I have to agree with the others who say there is no “Clear Recent Items List”. Clicking Explore brings up Windows Explorer pointing to the Recent folder where you can then delete all (or selected) shortcuts.

    • Helpful Anon

      If you right click and click open, you can select them all and delete them that way.

      • Keill Randor

        You can delete if you hover the mouse over the file that you want to delete – it should go light blue. Then press Ctrl + Del. You can use the cursor keys to move up and down the file list.

        • Jason5670

          that just doesnt work why is this so hard to delete old file names in the drop down box

  • Anonymous


  • Drew

    right click on the bottom and go to properties then start menu and at the bottom it says privacy and gives you to options to unclick “store and display a list of recently opened files”

  • mixmaster

    Thanks Drew….that worked, what I did was uncheck both boxes and clicked apply then the “recent” was gone, then I went back and re-checked them, which brought the recent back and it was empty at that point.

    • Wiqarali

      The better way would be to change your menu style to classic , then go to properties and customize and clear the items history,

      after that you can again switch to new menu style while the list will be cleared.

  • abdul

    It Worked, thanks soo much bro !!!