Customizing Recent Programs List in Microsoft Windows 7

Recent programs are the applications that Microsoft Windows 7 displays in the start menu. The applications are displayed because they have been accessed by the users quite frequently. In other words, although applications reside in their respective folders which are located in the ‘All Programs’ category of the start menu, if users access certain applications frequently, the icons of the applications appear in the Recent Programs list allowing users to access those programs easily and quickly.

By default Recent Programs list can contain maximum of 10 programs and if users start using any other program frequently, the very first program that was added to the list automatically gets removed in order to make room for the new program. When a fresh copy of Microsoft Windows 7 is installed on a computer and no applications are accessed by the users, Recent Programs list does not have any program to display. The list gradually gets populated as users keep on using applications on a regular basis.

Recent Programs list can be customized to hold the maximum number of programs in it. While configuring, the maximum number of programs that Recent Programs list can hold can be increased or decreased as individuals’ requirements and preferences. The list can contain minimum and maximum of zero and 30 programs respectively. If the maximum number of programs that Recent Programs list can contain is decreased from their default value, i.e. 10, the size of the start menu remains the same. On the other hand, if the maximum number of programs of the Recent Programs list is increased, the length of the start menu increases accordingly in vertical direction.

Since the customization of Recent Programs list of the start menu is a user specific task, no elevated privileges are required to modify the list. However changes that are made to the list using one user account are not reflected on the list of any other account of the computer.

Customizing Recent Programs List

In order to customize the maximum numbers of programs that Recent Programs list can contain, steps given below must be followed:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer.
  2. Right click the taskbar, and from the displayed context menu click Properties.
  3. On Taskbar and Start Menu Properties box, go to Start Menu tab and click Customize button.
  4. On the opened Customize Start Menu box, under Start menu size section, increase or decrease the value in the Number of recent programs to display box.

    Customize Recent Programs List

  5. Click OK to confirm the modifications, and back on Taskbar and Start Menu Properties box, click OK again to allow the changes to take effect.
Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.