I have Office 2007 installed on a laptop running Windows XP Pro. When I go to open a file in Excel or Word, there is no list of recent documents. On the Options/Advanced page, the "show this number of recent documents" spinner displays 0 but is grayed out so I can't change it. The help page it directs me to describes how to disable the list, but not how to enable it. In Word, it says something about the list being disallowed by Group Policy, but I am not part of any workgroup and, as far as I know, the policies are all uninitialized, so it should be allowed by default. There are recent files listed in MRU keys in the registry.
A similar question has been answered, but I believe that only applies to Windows Vista or 7 because the folder mentioned doesn't exist on my system. Instead, the folder "%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Office\Recent" contains shortcuts to recent docs for both Excel and Word.
Any other ideas?