Does W10 still have "My Recent Documents"?

I miss this useful feature in older Windows versions. It seems to be
gone according to my quick Google searches. :(

Thank you in advance. :)

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Last updated November 14, 2019 Views 16,269 Applies to:

[Pin to Start explanations added 24 Sep 2016, Pin to Taskbar explanations added 29 May 2017.  I have not altered the diagrams to reflect the fact that I am now on Ver 1703 because I don't think there are any substantive differences.]

Set up Recent items and Recent folders

1  Recent items folder

The nearest equivalent is called Recent items and it can be found using File explorer {just paste the whole of line 2 into its address bar}

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

Check that you have switched on the Recent items facility.  See Settings, Personalisation, Start.  Turn on the poorly described item Show recently opened items ... as illustrated below.  This control does not only affect Start & the Taskbar, it enables entries in the Recent items folder itself.

You can get to the Recent items folder quickly in future using one of these methods:

1.1  Make a shortcut to it  On your Desktop, right-click, select New, Shortcut then just paste its path into the path entry & give it whatever name you want such as Recent items.

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

1.2  Add it to Quick access - method 1  In File explorer, click on File, Change folder & search options, General tab, Privacy sub-heading.  Set the upper of the two checkboxes.

1.3  Add it to Quick access - method 2  Go to one folder short of it in File explorer, so that's

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows

then right-click on its Recent items subfolder & select Pin to Quick access.  That will add a shortcut to it in the top of the File explorer Navigation pane [its left-hand pane].

1.4  Add it to Start menu  Go to one folder short of it in File explorer, so that's

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows

then right-click on its Recent items subfolder & select Pin to Start.  [see same diagram]

1.5  Add it to the Taskbar {This procedure works for any File explorer shortcut that you want to add}  To put any shortcut to a folder on the Taskbar you have to make it in an awkward way. 

  1. On your desktop, right-click, New, Shortcut
  2. In Location, enter %windir%\explorer.exe %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
  3. Click Next,
  4. Enter whatever name you want such as Recent items for the shortcut {this name will appear in a screentip when you hover over it on the taskbar so make sure it is fairly easily understood},
  5. Click Finish.
  6. Double-click on the shortcut to test it then close the window that will have opened,
  7. Right-click on the shortcut and select Pin to Taskbar,
  8. Restart the computer or just log out then back in again,
  9. Test it from the Taskbar.
  10. You can just file the shortcut you created away somewhere now, it does not have to stay where you created it because Taskbar will have made its own copy of it already.

2  Recent folders folder

This shows you the folders that contain recently changed items.

You can get to the Recent folders folder quickly in future using one of these methods:

2.1  Make a shortcut to it  On your Desktop, right-click, select New, Shortcut then just paste its path into the path entry & give it whatever name you want such as Recent folders

%windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}

2.2  Add it to Quick access  Go to the Recent folders folder using the above shortcut if you want then right-click on its entry in the File explorer Navigation pane on the left & select Pin to Quick access.  That will add a shortcut to it in the top of the File explorer Navigation pane.

2.3  Add it to Start menu  Go to the Recent folders folder using the above shortcut if you want then right-click on its entry in the File explorer Navigation pane on the left & select Pin to Start.  [see same diagram]

2.4  Add it to the Taskbar {This procedure works for any File explorer shortcut that you want to add}  To put any shortcut to a folder on the Taskbar you have to make it in an awkward way. 

  1. On your desktop, right-click, New, Shortcut
  2. In Location, enter %windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{22877a6d-37a1-461a-91b0-dbda5aaebc99}
  3. Click Next,
  4. Enter whatever name you want such as Recent items for the shortcut {this name will appear in a screentip when you hover over it on the taskbar so make sure it is fairly easily understood},
  5. Click Finish.
  6. Double-click on the shortcut to test it then close the window that will have opened,
  7. Right-click on the shortcut and select Pin to Taskbar,
  8. Restart the computer or just log out then back in again,
  9. Test it from the Taskbar.
  10. You can just file the shortcut you created away somewhere now, it does not have to stay where you created it because Taskbar will have made its own copy of it already.

2.5  Add Recent folders to the Save As dialog in all applications [a procedure that needs to be repeated every time you need to use it]  See part 2 of the instructions posted by ThePhinx.

2.6  Add Recent folders to the Save As dialog in all applications [permanently] See part 3 of the instructions posted by ThePhinx.

Denis

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

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[Edited a couple of minutes later - I last used this folder only a couple of days ago.  I have just checked two computers & their Recent items folders are both empty.  Perhaps a recent Windows update has changed things & this facility is no longer in use.]

The nearest equivalent can be found using File explorer {just paste the whole of line 2 into its address bar}

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

and you could get to it quickly in future using either or both of these methods

1  Make a shortcut to it - on your Desktop, right-click, select New, Shortcut then just paste line 2 into the path entry & give it whatever name you want such as Recent items.

2  Go to one folder short of it in File explorer, so that's

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows

then right-click on its Recent items subfolder & select Pin to Quick access.  That will add a shortcut to it in the top of the File explorer Navigation pane [its left-hand pane].

Denis

Thanks. Mine shows them so far. I wonder why MS removed it. :(

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W10 file explorer is terrible. Get rid of the dam "libraries." Get rid of " Quick Access." Why do drives and folders show up numerous times in the folder tree? I couldn't find any "Recent Documents". Tried the fixes in the forum suggestions to no avail. I found "recent folders" and pinned to Quick **** but it is empty. Then I recalled that Word used to keep a list of recent files. So I tried this: Open Word. Click on the Word Office Icon at the upper left. Presto, down drops a recent documents list. I tried the same thing in Excel and it worked there also. Do the developers at Microsoft actually get paid for this mess?

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Ant,

Just to round things off, I have edited my earlier post about the Recent items folder.

I had altered a setting that I thought only affected the Start menu & the Taskbar but that turned out to control the entries in the Recent items folder itself.  Now that I have turned this setting back on, my Recent items folder is working correctly again.

I have also added instructions in my first post for checking this setting and for getting to the Recent folders location.

Denis

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

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Thanks for this thread.  Very helpful (and agreed, W10 is not necessarily improved in this area).

I now have Recent Items and Folders showing up in File Explorer's Quick Access and on my Desktop.  Can one also add both to the Start Menu?  I followed the steps above, but no "Recents" are showing up on Start.  Thanks.

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Freemac,

The setting concerned adds recent files to the jumplists of various applications not the Start menu itself.

However, you can pin them to the Start menu if you want. 

Recent items folder  In File explorer, go to the Recent items folder then move up one level so you are in the parent folder and Recent items appears as its subfolder.  Right-click on Recent items and select Pin to Start.

Recent folders folder  In File explorer, go to the Recent folders folder then right-click on its entry in the FE navigation pane on the left & select Pin to Start.

I'll add these instructions to the post at the top of this page.

Denis

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

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Thanks Denis.  I was looking for both on the left side of the Start Menu, not (in my case below and to the right) as a tile.  My bad.  I'm good to go!  Thanks again.

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Thanks for a very thorough reply.  I have some comments still.

The START image you posted, with (going upwards) Start, Themes, Lockscreen, Colours, etc.is definitely different than mine. Option on the right as well. I do have Windows 10, is this a settings issue?

2. I cannot put "Recent Files" on the Taskbar, which is my favorite and most useful place to retrieve from. Relying on main screen is not ideal when you have lots of stuff open.

Lastly,

Is MS preoccupied with looks instead of efficiency now? I would not be surprised.

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Leslie,

I must have been on the Anniversary version [ver 1607] when I made that diagram but it looks almost the same now that I am on the Creator's update [ver 1703]. 

It does switch into a single column mode if you make the window too narrow so you would only see the right-hand side].

Put a Recent items shortcut on the Taskbar

To put any shortcut to a folder on the Taskbar you have to make it in an awkward way. 

  1. On your desktop, right-click, New, Shortcut
  2. In Location, enter C:\Windows\explorer.exe %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent
  3. Click Next,
  4. Enter whatever name you want such as Recent items for the shortcut {this name will appear in a screentip when you hover over it on the taskbar so make sure it is fairly easily understood},
  5. Click Finish.
  6. Double-click on the shortcut to test it then close the window that will have opened,
  7. Right-click on the shortcut and select Pin to Taskbar,
  8. Restart the computer or just log out then back in again,
  9. Test it from the taskbar.
  10. You can just file the shortcut you created away somewhere now, it does not have to stay where you created it because Taskbar will have made its own copy of it already.

This is a user-to-user mutual support forum where users ask questions and users answer questions.  None of us has much insight into what drives Microsoft.  Personally, I think they are probably driven by the needs of their corporate customers who do not want such a comprehensive ability to customise the computer that their own corporate IT help desks would be unable to understand what one of their users had done and hence how they could return the computer to its intended state.

Denis

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

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Prompt, clear and useful. Thank you.

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