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In Windows 7, the recent programs list in the start menu appears to be ordered by how often each program is used (or more specifically, launched via the start menu?).

Just to satisfy my curiosity, is there a count that is kept somewhere that I can access? It'd be interesting to see how many times I run iTunes vs RealPlayer, for example.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Obviously the Shell team needs to create some protection to prevent other applications from messing with it. However somebody already found out how to get to this information. The data is using a very basic encryption and it's stored in the registry under:

HKEY_USERS\S[Long number]\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\UserAssist

You can download his application that decrypts it:

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Neat little program! – Jeff Bridgman Jan 18 '12 at 13:31

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