How to delete folder items from the recently viewed list in the start menu

The recent items folder in Windows Vista stores a record of all the files you have recently viewed on your computer. You might have created a document or saved a picture, and it will all be there for anyone to view on the list. The recent items folder traces every move you make when it comes to files. You might only change one word in a document and this file will show up on the recent items list.

Where is the recent items list and how do I view it?

To get a quick look at the recent items list you can simply open the start menu and hover your mouse over the recent items link. As shown in the screenshot below, all the recent files that have been accessed on the computer show up. It does not show where you have been on the internet because the recent items only shows files you have accessed.

If you click on any of these files they will open. No need to search for them. This is a great feature if you always want to find what you have been working on recently, however it is not good in the way of privacy.


How to get to the recent items folder?

To get to the recent items folder you can simply go to the start menu and right click on Recent items. This will bring up another menu where you can choose explore. This will automatically open your recent items folder. You can also type this path into the address or path bar and press enter. C:UsersMitzAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsRecent. You will need to change my username (mitz) to your username. YOu can see the path to the folder in the top bar in the screenshot below.

delete items in the recent folder

Who can view your recent items list?

Anyone that is signed into your computer can view your recent items list. Obviously it is very easy to find.

Can other users view your recent items folder?

In theory another user can view your recent items folder if they are signed in as an administrator, however no details show up. It is basically an empty folder when it really is loaded with recent files. The only way I have assessed someone’s recent items folder is to sign into their user account.

How to clear the contents of your recently viewed list from the start menu?

If you go to the recent items folder you can simply select all files and delete them. However there is an easier way.. Simply go to the start menu and right click on Recent Items and choose Clear recent items list and the files and records will be deleted for you. See the screenshot for more details.


Notes on deleting files from the recent folder list:

  • If you are the only one that uses your computer then your recent items list can safely remain and continue to record your actions.
  • If you are concerned that someone can see your recent items that you have accessed then simply delete the list as shown above.
  • To access the recent documents on a Windows XP computer here is the path C:Documents and SettingsusernameRecent Documents