How to Check Recently Opened Files in Windows 7 and Location

Recent Documents are not included in the Windows 7 start menu. You will not find it where it used to be available on earlier Windows Operating Systems. In this guide, you will learn how to check recently opened files in Windows 7 and the location of recent documents/files. Adding them to the start menu will help you to access them quickly and frequently.

Accessing recent files is very useful to view the recently opened files from a local computer or network location. Sometimes you would have opened and worked with a file but forgot the exact location of it later. By viewing the recent documents list, you can easily find the particular important files no matter where it is saved.

Also, knowing the location is helpful to delete/clear the recently opened files on a computer for privacy purposes if you want to hide them.

Location of Recent Documents/Files in Windows 7

Recent Documents Location in Windows 7

Since it’s a user-specific history, you will find the list of recently accessed files, folders and other places under every user profile folder. Show hidden files option should be enabled (in folder options) to browse this path.

To clear or remove the recent documents in Windows 7, delete all files from this location. Do not worry; you will not delete the original files; these are just shortcuts (reference) of the file/folder located on your PC or network.

How to Show Recent Documents in Start Menu

Here is the default setup without the recent documents on the start menu,

No recent files in Windows 7

To add it to the start menu, follow the below steps.

1) Right-click on the Windows taskbar and go to Properties.

Under Start Menu,  click Customize as shown below.

customize start menu

2) Find out ‘Recent Items’ and enable it. Also, you can control the number of items to show in the list from the start menu.

how to check recently opened files in windows 7

3) Press OK to show recent documents on the start menu.

Add to start menu

How to Disable or Turn Off Recent Items in Windows 7

Sometimes, you don’t want to track or view any recent history. In that case,  it can be turned off or disabled permanently in Windows 7.

You will find the privacy option as shown below under the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties. Simply removing the check box will stop keeping the history of files/folders in Windows 7 recent items.

disable windows 7 recent items

Image credit

With the above steps, you must know how to check recently opened files in Windows 7. Also, you should be able to locate Windows 7 recent files and add them to the start menu. Meanwhile, you can permanently disable this feature, so Windows 7 will not record the history of the recently accessed files.

If any of the above solutions did not fix the Windows PC issues, we recommend downloading the below PC repair tool to identify and solve any PC Issues.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

14 thoughts on “How to Check Recently Opened Files in Windows 7 and Location”

  1. I tried the above questions, perhaps you disable recent items (enabled do not keep history of recently opened documents), try to follow the steps – the steps below :

    1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.
    2. In the left pane, click on the arrow to expand User Configuration > Administrative Templates, then click on Start Menu and Taskbar.
    3. In the right pane, right click on Do not keep history of recently opened documents and click on Edit.
    4. Select Not Configured or Disabled.

  2. I’m found located folder recent items but i’m not found file recent documents, please help, i’m use windows 7 32bit, thank’s before.

  3. WTF? This is Windows 7? You take all the logical useful functions from previous systems and bury them where no one will ever use them? Pure genius! What’s next, remove the start button and replace it with command line? Best of luck with your crappy OS. Mac is about 100 years ahead of you guys. You can try to copy them but you still just don’t get it and you never will.

    • “What’s next, remove the start button”
      I guess they read your comment when they developed Windows 8… =)

  4. Guaranteed solution to this problem:

    Upgrade your Windows 7 to Mac OSX and you won’t need to worry about these silly problems.
    Time is money people!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Only a monkey can’t find recent documents on their desktop. Where is the folder that stores recent shortcuts and .wmv files

  6. Open “start’ menu
    Right-click and select ‘property’
    Select the tab ‘start menu’
    Select ‘customize’
    Enable the option ‘display recent items’
    Adjust the number of items you want to display (10 by default)
    in the Privacy section (still on the ‘start menu’ tab) activate ‘Store and display recently opened items…’

    And the recent items folder is located:
    (where %YOURNAME% is the account name)

    Type “recent” (without quotes) in ‘run’ and press enter. A window will appear that contains recently accessed items.
    You can access ‘run’ by pressing window button+r.

  8. I can find the recent items list but there are never any items in the list. It never gets populated.

    I have done all these things listed in this forum but it does not work. I even tried to paste a shortcut into that recent items folder.

  9. I can only assume that all those people thanking you have not actually applied the instructions you have given. The problem is “Recent Items” in Windows 7 is not the same as “Recent Documents” in previous versions of Windows, so your “tip” does nothing to assist users, like me, who are trying to set up a “Recent Documents” folder.

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