At one time, I wrote an article on how to clear the list of recent items in Windows. If you added the Recent Items option to the Start Menu, you or someone else could see all the files you recently opened!
If you’re obsessed with privacy and don’t want anyone else to see which documents you’ve opened, clearing this list is essential! However, starting with Windows 7, there is a new feature called the Jump List. You can read my previous post to understand how jumplists work.
With Jump Lists, this functionality has mostly moved from the Start Menu to the taskbar in Windows 8 and Windows 10! For example, if you open multiple Word documents and then right-click on the Word icon in the taskbar, you will see the following list:
Even worse for something like a web browser. When I right-clicked the Chrome icon in the taskbar, I was surprised to see a list of my most visited sites and recently closed tabs!
If no one is using your computer, that’s fine, but otherwise it’s like looking at your personal items quickly! Obviously, Microsoft created this feature for convenience so that you can easily open a web page that you visit very often or a file that you have been working on recently.
Each program must individually support this feature to see the list. If the program doesn’t support Jump Lists, you won’t see anything when you right-click the icon.
Clear individual jump menu items
Now when it comes to removing items from the Jump List, there are several ways to do this. First, let’s start by removing individual items from the list. The easiest way to get rid of a single item is to just right-click it and select Remove from this list.
Obviously, this is just for cleaning up a small number of items. If you delete all items, you will have to tweak the setting in Windows. The procedure for doing this differs depending on which version of Windows you are using. I’ll show you how to do this on Windows 7 and Windows 10.
Turn off Windows 7 Jump Lists
To prevent Windows from saving and displaying a list of recent items on the taskbar, you first need to right-click on the taskbar and select Properties.
Now click on the Start Menu tab, then deselect the Store checkbox and display the recently opened items in the Start Menu and in the taskbar box.
Click OK and all data stored for recently opened items will be deleted. Now when you right-click any program on the taskbar, no personal information is displayed. Note that this is a good way to erase all saved data and start from scratch.
If you want, you can tick the box again and it will start storing recently opened items, but with a clean slate. Obviously, just don’t check this box if you never want Windows to save your history.
Turn off Jump Lists in Windows 10
In Windows 10, the procedure has changed. If you right-click on the taskbar and go to the Properties section, you will see that even the Start Menu tab is no longer there.
For Windows 10, you need to click Start first and then Settings. Then click “Personalize”.
Click Start in the left menu, and then click Show Recently Opened Items in Jump Lists on Startup or the toggle button on the taskbar so that it says Off.
Manually clear jump lists
All recent items in any Jump List are stored by Windows in a hidden location that you can get to in Windows 7 or later by going to the following folder in File Explorer:
% APPDATA% Microsoft Windows Recent AutomaticDestinations
Copy and paste this into Windows Explorer and press Enter. Now you will see a list of files with very long and confusing names. This is because all jumplists are coded. Each file is a list of recent items for a particular program’s Jump List.
There is no way to determine which entries correspond to which jumplists unless you open the file in a text editor and view it. However, since all files are only recent items in the Jump List, you can delete all files and this will clear all recent items in all Jump Lists.
These are different ways to clear the Recent Items list from the Windows Jump List. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!