I use the winr combo a lot to run commands and open paths. How can I increase the "buffer" of that selection box, or provide a longer history to select through? Is there a third party replacement that will hijack that same winr command so I can do this through some other mechanism?
You can't increase the MRU (Most Recently Used) list past 26 entries because Windows uses a letter to keep track of them in the registry, and the English language only has 26 letters. :)
As for a replacement, while product recommendations are generally off-topic, here's a couple you can check out for yourself to see if they fit the bill (never used either personally):
SlickRun is a free floating command line utility for Windows.
This is a multi purpose launcher and a more advanced and customizable version of Windows' run.