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One thing that I use almost every minute is the Windows Run box (WINDOWS+R). It let's you type a path and auto-completes it really quickly so that you can jump to any dir in no time.

My problem is that I recently swapped disks and re-organized content so a few of the drive letters changed while most (but not all) the dir structure stayed the same. Now the auto-complete is giving me a lot of old results that don't physically exist anymore and it's not only annoying but the advantage of speed is not there anymore because I now have to check for old results in my auto-complete!

How can I clear that auto-complete's cache?


EDIT: I'm not talking about how to clear the last run items from the Windows Start menu. This is completely different. What I'm talking about auto-completes directories in the file system and is "remembering" old auto-completed paths (which are NOT programs, just paths).

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migrated from May 24 '11 at 16:02

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I thought that the autocomplete cache just selected from the last run items and so they were the same thing. Sorry if that's not the case. I also just cleared the recent documents checkbox in the taskbar properties and that didn't work either... I am on an XP machine at the moment. – Tom Chantler May 24 '11 at 14:30
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Try looking here:

EDIT: I am on an XP machine, so I can't test this next bit, but does it work?

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Seems that I was unable to find that "Clear" button in my Windows 7. Was it moved? – Uwe Keim May 24 '11 at 13:54
While I couldn't find it wither, this is the same thing as Stuart Dunkeld's answer: the list of the last run items, not the auto-complete cache. – Anonymous May 24 '11 at 14:10
@Dommer, I followed the link in your EDIT and did what said there. I already had those options disabled... but... I checked them and hit Apply. I opened and closed a few programs, and then went back there and unchecked them again, hit Apply, and my auto-complete is now working properly again! So, in a weird way... it worked! – Anonymous May 24 '11 at 14:47
Hey that's awesome. Glad to (possibly) have been of help! At least this might help anybody else who encounters the same problem. – Tom Chantler May 24 '11 at 14:54

Clear the entries in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU

Edit: AutoComplete in the Run box is set in (of course) Internet Explorer's settings (Content Tab / AutoComplete): there's a button to Delete Autocomplete History. If that doesn't work, you could try turning AutoComplete off, rebooting, and turning it on again.

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This gives me the list of the last run items (which I had already disabled), not the auto-complete cache. – Anonymous May 24 '11 at 14:10
You made me laugh with the "(of course)" comment... but I just found a solution (see Dommer's post). Thanks, anyways! – Anonymous May 24 '11 at 14:49

I would do it the following way:

  1. Get SysInternal's Process Monitor
  2. Filter to "Explorer.exe" as the process/file
  3. Execute Win+R
  4. See what is happening in Process Monitor (I assume that some registry/files are involved)
  5. See whether you can delete those found entries/contents.


Seems others have better answers than I, please see those for a direct solution to your question.

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+1 for a nice answer, inspired by Mark Russinovich no doubt! – Tom Chantler May 24 '11 at 13:53
@Dommer Thank you :-) – Uwe Keim May 24 '11 at 13:55
I tried doing this but filtering Explorer.exe left me with 33.405 things to look at and to be quite honest I didn't really know what to do after that. I tried Win+R and typing some stuff but didn't notice any changes :( – Anonymous May 24 '11 at 14:12

It's definitely not stored in the registry as I've searched it, so no idea where it lives.

The only way I've found to do this is to use CCleaner, .

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At least on Windows 8 the auto-complete history you are looking for is at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\TypedPaths

A solid state OS drive and NirSoft's RegScanner and you're set to find anything in the registry quickly.

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I just found out the answer on my Windows 10 machine, booting from a Linux liveCD and doing a grep search.

It's in C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent.

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