How to clear Most Recently Used (MRU) lists in Windows, Office, IE

Most Recently Used or MRU are lists of recently used programs or opened files that the Windows operating system saves in the Windows Registry. These are also visible to any user from the drop-down menu of the program. For instance, if yo were to open the Run box, you will be able to see the recently used tools in the drop-down menu. While this is useful for most. as it allows them to use their favorite tools easily, for others this may represent a security or privacy concern, as anyone would be able to see this list. The same is the case for the Internet Explorer browser’s address bar. One will be able to see the list of websites visited. Windows does this not just for IE, but even for other programs like Microsoft Office and several other programs. You can if you wish delete and clear all these MRU traces in the Windows system, by following the steps laid down in this tutorial.

mru most recently used list

Clear Most Recently Used (MRU) list

These MRU lists can expose information like the names and locations of the last files you have accessed – for almost any file type, and this information is stored in the Registry. By looking at these MRU lists, someone could determine what files you accessed. Moreover, in most cases, these lists are displayed in drop-down menus of the program. Let us therefore see how you can clear the MRU lists.

Clear the Windows Explorer MRU Lists

As an example, to clear the MRU list for the Run box, using the Windows Registry, Run regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU

clear mru run

Here, delete all the values except the Default key to clear the Run box MRU list.

You can do the same for each of the following registry keys:

Find Computer command

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FindComputerMRU

Find Files command

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Doc Find Spec MRU

Printer ports

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\PrnPortsMRU

Explorer Stream

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StreamMRU

Use freeware MRU-Blaster

While most junk file cleaners do clear the MRU lists, you can also use a dedicated freeware like MRU Blaster, to delete all the traces and usage tracks from the nook and corner of your Windows 10/8/7 PC, including Windows explorer, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, etc. It can find and remove over 30,000 MRU lists.

clear Most Recently Used (MRU) list

The tool is simple to use. Download and install it – and then run it. In the Settings panel, you can set your preferences. Once done, click on Scan to get the results. Delete the results selectively or all at once to clear the lists.

You can download the freeware MRU Blaster from its home page. It comes to you from the makers of Doc Scrubber and SpywareBlaster.

Anti Tracks, Wipe Privacy Cleaner and Privacy Eraser are other tools in this category which can help you clean Most Recently Used Lists in Windows.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.