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How To Delete Thee Recent Documents List

May 15, 2008
Your computer keeps track of the documents, files, and even the applications that you have been opening. This record is what is known as the recent documents list. Technically speaking, the recent documents list would actually make it easier for any computer user to keep track of the files he or she has recently been processing. Let us just say that you closed a certain file, and you realize that you need to access it again for more processing. But then, you can no longer remember the filename or the location of the file itself. By looking at your recent documents list, you can easily determine which particular file you were working on.

However, keeping such a list can pose a security threat as well. Any person who has access to your computer can easily browse through this list, to see the files you have been working on. By merely clicking on the file itself, that person can then open the file and check it out for himself already. We all know how important privacy is, especially when we are dealing with files that contain very sensitive information. If your business deals with sensitive information for your clients, such as their social security information and their credit card details, then it is a must to monitor your recent documents list as vigilantly as needed.

A very effective way to do this is to delete the contents of this list itself. You can do this by opening your Recent Documents folder and deleting its contents. This would transfer the files to your Recycle Bin, which you should then empty out. This is the basic method of erasing such files. However, this does not really guarantee complete deletion of the files themselves because the memory space once assigned to these recent documents still exists. With the help of sophisticated technology and software, these files can still be retrieved easily.

There are several ways to get rid of this list effectively. The main important thing here is to know the exact location of where this list is kept. Oftentimes, the list is composed of files that come with the .lnk extension. These files are visible when you hit Start then Recent Documents.

There are also times when the list is kept in the Windows Registry. To access the list, you have to go through the Registry Editor. Press Start, then Run, then key in regedit. This will then open the Registry editor. The problem then is to find the appropriate category here. You can use the search function that comes with the Registry editor. Once you do find the category in question, you can then delete the report or change the filename. This way, the report will be rendered useless.

However, you should be extremely careful when you use the Registry editor. This tool was actually conceptualized and designed for the more advanced computer users. Deleting the wrong key or keys can even cause a whole system crash. To avoid this worst case scenario, it is recommended to enlist the services of professionals here. This way, when you are deleting your recent documents list, you won't be deleting any keys that can cause the very breakdown of your system.
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