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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17 Responses to “Vista: Clear Recent Items”

  1. March 30, 2009 at 5:45 pm, roger said:

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


  2. April 03, 2009 at 6:03 pm, Jesse said:

    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.


  3. May 23, 2009 at 4:49 am, fl4ir said:

    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. =(


  4. July 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm, Anonymous said:

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


    • August 01, 2009 at 5:16 pm, Phil said:

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


      • January 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm, Ticked off at Vista said:

        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?


      • February 17, 2010 at 4:52 am, divyang said:

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


        • August 18, 2010 at 6:51 am, Ccc221 said:

          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.


  5. August 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm, Steve said:

    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.


    • July 01, 2010 at 8:11 am, Helpful Anon said:

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


      • September 28, 2010 at 7:09 am, Keill Randor said:

        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.


        • April 07, 2011 at 9:27 pm, Jason5670 said:

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


  6. October 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm, Anonymous said:



  7. October 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm, Drew said:

    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”


  8. January 22, 2011 at 2:54 am, mixmaster said:

    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.


    • March 28, 2011 at 6:37 am, Wiqarali said:

      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.


  9. January 28, 2012 at 7:49 am, abdul said:

    It Worked, thanks soo much bro !!!


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