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I used to use "Recent Items" and "My Recent Documents" in the start menu in previous versions of Windows to quickly open a recently opened document/activity.

Is there an equivalent aggregated list of recent documents in Windows 8, or is it just per application?

If there isn't an equivalent, is there a way I can quickly access a list of recently accessed, opened, and edited documents?

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up vote 43 down vote accepted

Yes, there is a way to do this: Just open the run dialog box by pressing Win + R and type in "recent". There you can see your recent activities.

Note: "Recent places" can be access under Windows Explorer's under "Favorite".

Also you can create a shortcut of the "recent" at your desktop and then pin it to start menu. For this just right click on desktop and seclect New>Shortcut. In file location type the path


and click the Next button, it will prompt the name and now click Finish. You will see the shortcut on desktop now and you can pin it to start menu. Also you can define Hotkey for this from properties now.

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No idea why this has been accepted as an answer. Typing "recent" into the run dialog results in an error. – pmcs Mar 7 '13 at 4:39
May be something going wrong on your side, I had use that command without any problem. Alas! now I don't have Win8 for your query at the moment, but I'm sure you should have to give a try to sfc /scannnow for any error on your system. – avirk Mar 7 '13 at 7:13
Win8 Pro 64bit en-US here, works fine. – Szymon Szydełko Jun 27 '13 at 11:57
Error Message: Windows can not find 'recent' – Arif Aug 2 '13 at 22:06
@danwellman give a try to `shell:recent' command and see if it helps you. As it works on windows 7 and I don't have Windows 8 now. So can't dig deep for this. – avirk Sep 22 '13 at 12:59

Since avirk's solution didn't work for me I searched further and found a similar solution in Is there a Windows 8 "Recent Items" Jump List? .

It says you can access the recent files via


I had to navigate manually to the location, but then I could drag the folder to the "Favorites" icon.

So I finally got a working solution now.

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This should be the right answer (for Win 8). – mshsayem Jun 20 '13 at 14:48
In Windows 8 I have a "Recent" joint folder in C:\Users\<username>, which points to that AppData folder. Have you browsed that folder in your PC to see if it's really not there? You should see it if you run this from a console: C:\Users\yourusername>dir r* /a. – Andrew Feb 9 '15 at 12:51

You can pin your applications (such as Word or Excel) to the taskbar. Once you do that, you'll have your recent item list for that application when you right click the icon.

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The Win + R "recent" thing doesn't seem to work, or at least work reliably for everyone. I've found what I think is a better solution and it'll work for everyone.

Open a Command Prompt (Win + R and type cmd and hit enter).

By default this should start in your user directory, for example C:\Users\UserName. If you're not already there, change to that directory. Run the following command:

mklink /J "Recent Items" "AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent"

This will create a link to your recent items in your home directory that is also navigable via the folder view on the left side of Explorer, which a normal shortcut is not.

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This is a nice solution. To make it even better and quicker to access your recent items, you can create a Windows Taskbar toolbar item out of this since it acts like a folder. Just right-click the taskbar -> Toolbars -> New toolbar... and select the new reference created by the cmd above. Now you can access the items directly from the taskbar! – Neil Monroe Mar 19 '14 at 19:47

Launch File Explorer. There is a Recent Places link under Favourites. This includes all sorts of things that are not documents.

You could pin the associated application to the Taskbar. You then right-click and see a jumplist of recent documents, but this is application specific. All we want is an easily exposed method to see a menu list of recent documents that doesn't require you to launch a shortcut to a folder of other shortcuts. Windows 7 had this, Windows 8 does not.

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This worked for me. – Ramhound Dec 5 '12 at 12:09
  1. Just open the run dialog box by pressing Win + R and type in "recent". There you can see your recent activities in the Explorer window.
  2. In this Explorer window, right-click the icon for the “recent” path and choose Copy address.
  3. Now, go to the Desktop and right-click and choose Paste shortcut. A shortcut icon pointing to “recent” will be created. You can now right-click this icon and choose Pin to start.
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  1. Open Windows Explorer, My Computer or press the Windows + E key.
  2. Navigate to "C:\USERS\"USERNAME"\". "USERNAME" is the name you logged onto Windows with.
  3. "The recent folder should be in the list shown.
  4. Right-click on the folder and select pin to start.

The recent folder will now be on the start screen. When you open it you see all your recent files and folders. Right-click on any file for the context menu.

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Another option is Win + F to bring up the file search tile - then type in the partial file name.

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The point of the recent items is surely that you don't remember the file name – Jon Grant Jun 27 '13 at 10:32

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