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How to Clear Start Menu Programs

April 29, 2009 by admin · Leave a Comment 

When you search files using “search option” in the start menu, Windows keeps the information regarding the last files you have searched and the items you have searched on those files. Any others who use this function can easily see what you have searched for and this will affect your privacy and security. You can see the ‘Files & Folders’ and ‘Computers’ search history when you open the “search results” window (Start  Search  Files & Folders or Start  Search  Computers). In some cases, the search history is not visible in the “Search results” window. But, it will be there in the windows registry and can be accessed easily.

What is Windows Start Menu Run history?

When you open a program from the “start menu”, windows stores the date and number of times you used the program as an encrypted database. If you are a person who takes care of your privacy and security then it is required to erase user assist data regularly. If you do not delete the UserAssist data, it also affects the performance of the system. When the number of entries in the registry increases, it slows down the system performance.

Windows stores full run history in the registry location:

“HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\UserAssist”

How to erase windows start menu run history (recently opened programs)?

As all of us know, Windows keeps a list of last searched files using the “search” option in the start menu. This will affect your privacy, if you are a person who likes to keep your files and documents private. It is recommended to clear the start menu run history before leaving the computer, especially when you use a public computer in an internet café or office. Otherwise, others who have access to the computer can easily see what files and document you searched for in the computer. You can erase start menu run history both manually and using some special software. Several software products are now available in the market which can easily erase start menu run history.

How to erase start menu run history on Windows Vista:

Follow the below instructions to erase the recently run programs list from your computer with Windows Vista as the operating system.

•    Click the “start” button on the bottom left position of the screen.
•    Select “settings” from the list
•    Click on ‘Taskbar and Start Menu Properties’ on the right panel.
•    Click to open ‘Start menu’ tab.
•    Select ‘Customize’.
•    Click the “clear” button to erase all the recently run programs.
•    Click “ok” to proceed with the process of clearing start menu run history.

How to erase start menu run history on Windows XP:

Follow the below instructions to erase the recently run programs list from your computer with Windows XP as the operating system.

•    Right click on the “start” button on the bottom left of the screen.
•    Select “properties” from the list
•    Click on “Start menu” tab.
•    Select ‘Customize’.
•    Click the “clear” button to erase all the recently run programs.
•    Click “ok” to go forward with the process of clearing start menu run history.

Editor’s Comment:

It is no longer necessary to clear start menu programs manually.
Now there is software that can automatically clear all your start menu programs  for you.
For a list of the ones we’ve found to work the best, be sure to read this article on Privacy Software.

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