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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clearing Windows History


Have anyone tried removing items in Windows history as in Run window history items, most recent documents, web browser history, most recent applications like stuff?
As usual, a bizzare requirement of deleting the Run window history came to me.

After some wondering here and there I found that there is a registry position where the Run window history is recorded. You can find that entry at

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU

in the registry editor. (To open Registry Editor go to Run window and type RegEdit.)
All the history entries dropped in the Run window will be in the list. If you wants to edit or delete an entry you can edit or remove them using the registry editor.
In some scenarios this list will be empty even though there are items in the Run history. In such a case there is an option you can set so that the next restart will erase all the history items. This method is really good if you want to start fresh removing al history items. This will remove Run history, recent programs, recent documents, internet browser history, etc by one shot.
Interested, ok so to do this first open the registry editor. Then go to the following location

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Now you need to add a Binary Value named ClearRecentDocsOnExit (Edit -> New -> Binary Value), then make the binary value of that to 1 (Edit -> Modify Binary Data).
The next time you shutdown or restart Windows it will take little longer to shutdown because it is clearing the history items. After you start again you will be free of your history items.

If you always want to start fresh at each restart keep the setting as it is. If you just needed to clear the history at that point like me you have to either delete the value we made or have to make the binary vale 0 so it will not clear the history at each restart. If you needs to change this find the ClearRecentDocsOnExit value and modify the value to read 0 so windows will keep your activity history.
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