Thursday, 18 November 2010

Clearing the Recent Files lists in Acrobat X Windows

Acrobat X and Reader X on Windows see a change in the way your list of recently-opened PDF files is displayed. Organizer and history have been removed, and when the application is open with no active document, the new Welcome Screen is shown, on which you can have between 1 and 5 files listed (a number you can change via the General Preferences panel). The same list is shown at the bottom of the File menu.

Users have demanded the Ninja reveals how to clear these lists, to remove files that are either sensitively-named or no longer relevant (for example temporary files that have been deleted). There is no feature within the user interface to do this, so you must erase the entries from the Windows Registry. Doing so is safe, and will affect Acrobat or Reader X the next time it opens.


The key (and subkeys) to delete for Acrobat X are in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\10.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles


You can erase this entire key, Acrobat will simply replace it next time a file is opened. The easiest way to make the change repeatedly is to save a small text file with the following two lines of content, change the extension to ".reg", and double-click it.


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\10.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles]


If you want to do the same for Adobe Reader X, change "Adobe Acrobat" to "Acrobat Reader", so the .reg file reads:


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\10.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles]


..or to clear them all at once, use both in the same file:



Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\10.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles]
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\10.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles]


I know people would prefer a nice little checkbox on the Welcome Screen, but life isn't always fair. Ninjas take this as an excuse to contemplate the intricacies of applying pain from across a crowded room.

[UPDATE: As of version 10.1.1 you can hide the Welcome Screen using a checkbox in the preferences panel - see this link for info. The registry keys described here still work to control the files shown on your menu and on the Welcome Screen when it's shown - the list remains active even if the preference is turned off).

7 comments:

  1. What's really daft is, even if a PDF file listed on the recent-list has subsequently been deleted, and you click its title to try to open it, and you of course get the "There was an error opening this document" message, still Acrobat does not remove that file from the recent-list! With many other apps having a recent-files list in the "File" menu, if a file has been deleted, and you select it from the menu, then after failing to open, the file is delisted from the recent-list. Doing that is a quick way to remove incriminating filenames from there after the files were deleted, and without having to muck about in the registry! I'm surprised Acrobat does not do it.

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  2. We know that the lack of a "Clear History" tool is causing some complaints, and all such issues are considered by the product team for future updates - though there are no guarantees.

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  3. I just made an "interesting" discovery -- if you pin the Acrobat X desktop shortcut to the Win7 taskbar and then "right click" you will see the TEN most-recent documents notwithstanding that you've only chosen to have Acrobat X display ONE recent file/document.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In reply to Stephen:

    The "Recent Files" entries displayed on the Windows 7 Jump List (which is what you're seeing) are nothing to do with Acrobat - they're controlled by Windows itself, so reducing the count in Acrobat's preferences has no bearing on it (and in fact they often won't agree, as the Jump List only shows files opened via the OS).

    To change the Jump List entries count, right-click the Windows Start Button -> Properties and click the Customize button (or click Start -> Settings -> Taskbar and Start Menu -> Start Menu -> Customize).

    On the dialog which opens, you can set the "Number of recent items.." spinners to any value from zero to 60.

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  5. If I had known about that "feature", I would not have upgraded :(

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  6. Thanks for the tip, saved me lot of time and problems ;)

    ReplyDelete

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