Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I remove documents listed on the Adobe Reader menus?

I’m running Windows 7. How can Adobe Reader 11 files be permanently deleted
from the drop-down as well as the prompt box that lists them? I’ve deleted them
in documents so that when I click on each one in Adobe Reader, the prompt says
that there was error and the file cannot be found. I’ve tried finding an answer
online as well as other users. However, there doesn’t seem to be a solution.
Also, there’s no mention of it in their database. Thanks for your help.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #78
, I look at the way that remembered document lists are formed in programs and possible ways to get rid of them.

]]>

Adobe Reader dropdown menus

It’s possible that there may not be a solution.

I believe what you’re looking at in that dropdown is what’s called the “recently used list” or “recently viewed list.” All Adobe is doing, and many other programs do this as well, is they’re simply keeping a list of the five or ten or however many documents you’ve most recently opened.

That’s a convenience to you. There’s a high probability that if you looked at it recently, you may need to look at it again. They’re making it a shortcut so all you have to do is click on that in the dropdown and poof, the file opens.

Remove dropdown menu items

How to get rid of it? Boy, you know… how I typically get rid of it is (in most programs) doing exactly what you just did – gets rid of it.

In other words, I try to open it. The open fails and the software is often smart enough to realize that, “The open failed. This recently used document is gone – so I’m going to remove it from the recently used document list.”

Set preferences

Another possibility I suppose: is to take a look in Preferences. If Adobe has the option, turn off the “recently used document list” – or if they have the opportunity to change the number of documents remembered, you might try reducing the number to the smallest number possible. Save that and make sure the list is now empty.

Then if you want the feature at all, go back and turn the feature back on – or increase the number to a more reasonable five or ten, or whatever makes sense to you.

Recently used documents list

So that’s what I think is happening here. I think it is simply the “recently used” feature that is confusing things a little bit.

In general, there’s really no harm in just leaving those there. As you continue to open other PDF documents, over time, those files that used to be recently viewed won’t be recently viewed any more – and they’ll disappear of their own accord.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips & a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

NOW: name your own price! You decide how much to pay -- and yes, that means you can get this report completely free if you so choose. Get your copy now!

2 comments on “How do I remove documents listed on the Adobe Reader menus?”

  1. I am using Adobe Reader 11.0. It saves the recently used file names in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\11.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles
    When you delete those entries, they will be gone from the list. If you would like to preserve some entries, (I did not test this), you may have to edit the sequence numbers so there is no hole.

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.