The Jump Lists feature in Windows helps you to quickly open a recent item or do some pre-determined action without moving back and forth between drives and folders. As you can tell, Microsoft Office makes a good use of these Jump Lists and displays your recent documents so that you can open them quickly. As good as it is, sometimes you don’t want your recent documents to appear in the Jump Lists. There may be any number of privacy and security reasons for this. No matter what the reason is, using a simple registry edit or a group policy setting, you can make Windows automatically clear your recent documents list when you shut down your system. Here’s how.
Clear Recent Documents on Shutdown – Group Policy Method
If you are using the Pro version of Windows, then the easiest way to clear recent documents when you shut down your system is to use the Windows Group Policy Editor. This method lets you quickly enable and disable the automatic action without messing around.
To start, search for “gpedit.msc” in the Start menu and open it. This action will open the Windows Group Policy Editor.
Now, navigate to “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar” on the left panel.
Find and double click on the policy “Clear history of recently opened documents on exit” appearing on the right panel.
The above action will open the policy properties window. Here, select the “Enabled” radio button, and then click on the “OK” button to save the changes.
To make sure the changes take effect, either restart your system or use the below command to force update Group Policy settings.
Clear Recent Documents on Shutdown – Registry Method
Note: before proceeding, backup your Registry. This helps you to roll back when things go bad.
If you are using the Home version of Windows, then you will not have access to the Group Policy Editor. However, you can use the Registry Editor to make the same changes, although it is a bit cumbersome.
To open the Windows Registry Editor, search for “regedit” in the Start menu, and click on it. Alternatively, you can also use the run command
In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location on the left panel:
Now create two keys. Right-click on the “CurrentVersion” key, and then select the option “New > Key.”
The above action will create a new blank sub-key. Name the new key “Policies,” and press the enter button.
To create the second subkey, right-click on the newly-created Policies key, and select “New” and then “Key.”
Name the new sub-key “Explorer.”
After creating the required keys, we need to create a value. To do that, right-click on the right panel, and then select the option “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
Name the new value “ClearRecentDocsOnExit,” and press the enter button.
The new value is disabled by default. To change that, double-click on it. This action will open the “Edit Value” window. Here, enter the Value Data as “1,” and click on the “OK” button to save the changes.
Just restart your system and you are good to go. From this point forward, whenever you shutdown your system, the recent documents Jump List will be automatically cleared for you.
Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above method to automatically clear recent documents when you shut down Windows.