Microsoft has introduced the jumplists feature in Windows 7. These jumplists are part of the Windows 7 taskbar and appear when the user right-clicks on an item in the taskbar.
Update: Jumplists are also a part of newer versions of Windows. The method described below works exactly the same on newer Windows systems.
They usually display the most recent items that have been opened, and can also contain shortcut links to program functions if the company or developer who created the program customized the display area.
One example of this would be a jumplist for an email program that may contain links to tasks such as writing emails or checking for new mails.
In addition, you may pin items displayed in the jumplist so that they remain available permanently.
The recent items that are displayed can be a privacy risk. Even more so as there are no obvious means to delete and manage them effectively. The only option that a user has is to right-click specific recent items in the jumplist for options to delete that item using the "remove from this list" option.
There is no option to delete all items or to exclude items from being displayed in the jumplist.
What most Windows 7 users do not know is that Microsoft stores the recent items list in a super-hidden directory that cannot be accessed directly in Windows Explorer. One of the options to access that directory is to copy and paste the following path into the Windows Explorer address bar.
This will display a list of encoded files. Each file contains the information of a specific jumplist. It is however not that easy to link those files to a jumplist. The only viable way to do that is to open the items in that folder in a text editor and search for recent items that are in the jumplist currently.
An easier way is to delete all files in the directory which will remove all recent items in every jumplist. This process can be automated with the command
Experienced users can add this to the Windows Task Scheduler to run the command on every shutdown of the system.
Another option that you may have is to disable the jumplist feature and enable it again afterwards. Note that this will affect recent items in other locations as well.
To do so right-click on free space in the taskbar and select properties. Switch to the start menu tab here and remove the checkmark from "store and display recently opened items in the start menu and the taskbar" and click apply. Once done, add the checkmark to enable the feature again.
Update: If you are using Windows 8 or newer, you find the option in another location. Tap on the Windows-key and load Settings from the Start Menu / Start Screen. Switch to Personalize > Start, and set the preference "Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar" to off.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.