locked
Recent Programs List: can someone explain the rules / logic behind this? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Seriously, I can't figure it out.

    I have the "recent programs" and "recent" documents" options set to 10. The jump lists work, but I have no comprehension of why programs do not appear in the recent program list (e.g. I used Excel about an hour ago, but it does not appear in the list, whereas programs I used over a week ago are there.

    Thinking about it, I would imagine that it could be a reverse chronological list of applications one has run; or perhaps a most popular list with the applications you use most frequently at the top.

    But any logic I try and figure out doesn't match reality.

    Any ideas?
    Sunday, June 21, 2009 2:41 PM

Answers

  • The list is actually based on frequency, I believe, not recency. It takes into account how often they are used and when they were installed. A program you installed last month and used 8 times might be under a program you installed today and use 6 times.

    I might be off on the behavior though, I've never read the documentation. :P

    Hi

    The real truth about how the Recent Programs List behaves is that you cannot know.  :)

    If you ask, you may get an answer similar to "The process is still patent pending and we cannot reveal the process".

    The best guess is that programs collect points each time they are opened, and lose points when they are not used for a certain period of time. They are displayed in that list based on their points, or maybe not.

    However, the understanding is that it will not be revealed because if it were, then third party program developers would be taking advantage of the process to keep their applications in that very visible list, permanently.

    Fun reading by the ultimate insider:

    What determines which programs show up on the front page of the Windows XP Start menu?

    Points are earned by programs, not by shortcuts

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP

     

    Monday, July 13, 2009 3:26 AM

All replies

  • Dr Bob,

    The recent program list is made up entirely of programs which have shortcuts available under "All Programs" - if the shortcuts don't already exist, they won't turn up in that menu. They don't, however, need to be started from these shortcuts in order to contribute to the total number of times they've been run (which determines whether they appear here); that is, opening an Excel spreadsheet from within your Documents folder will still tally a point for Excel in this ranking. Much of users' confusion, I think, stems from how these tallies are calculated.

    Programs can be removed from this list by right-clicking them and selecting "Remove from this list."

    -Alex
    Sunday, June 21, 2009 8:15 PM
  • Thanks axfelix,

    that sheds a little light on the subject. All the programs in question do have shortcuts in the ALL Programs list, Microsoft Office Excel for instance. However Excel, the most recently used program but one when I posted the question did not appear in the list, but today it has appeared in the list.

    For example the top of the list is the program for my Logitech Harmony remote, and it is almost 2 weeks since I used that last.

    Do you know the rules that determine what is in the list?

    Bob
    Monday, June 22, 2009 12:02 PM
  • Thanks for the tip on how to remove the junk from the recent program list.

    However, the list does not follow the rules that you say.  For example, Firefox never shows up in the recent programs list, even though there's a shortcut for it in the All Programs list, the desktop, and the quick launch bar.  Also, I have a suite of Adobe applications, all installed together and sitting neatly in the same shortcut folder.  Yet some applications never get registered there.  DreamWeaver and Premiere Pro do, Photoshop does not.  The behavior is actually quite random and confusing.

    But at least I can now get rid of Sticky Notes and Snipping Tool, whatever they are.  I wonder if it's as easy to put them back should I ever need them...
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 10:18 PM
  • The list is actually based on frequency, I believe, not recency. It takes into account how often they are used and when they were installed. A program you installed last month and used 8 times might be under a program you installed today and use 6 times.

    I might be off on the behavior though, I've never read the documentation. :P
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 11:41 PM
  • The list is actually based on frequency, I believe, not recency. It takes into account how often they are used and when they were installed. A program you installed last month and used 8 times might be under a program you installed today and use 6 times.

    I might be off on the behavior though, I've never read the documentation. :P

    Hi

    The real truth about how the Recent Programs List behaves is that you cannot know.  :)

    If you ask, you may get an answer similar to "The process is still patent pending and we cannot reveal the process".

    The best guess is that programs collect points each time they are opened, and lose points when they are not used for a certain period of time. They are displayed in that list based on their points, or maybe not.

    However, the understanding is that it will not be revealed because if it were, then third party program developers would be taking advantage of the process to keep their applications in that very visible list, permanently.

    Fun reading by the ultimate insider:

    What determines which programs show up on the front page of the Windows XP Start menu?

    Points are earned by programs, not by shortcuts

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP

     

    Monday, July 13, 2009 3:26 AM
  • Funny.  At least MS is an equal-opportunity ignorer.  I use the Command Prompt about 10 times a day, and it has yet to show up on the recently used list.  Just because something is patented doesn't make it a good idea, and trading off usefulness for cleverness never pays off.  If the list's contents are too obscure to understand, it's just a waster of time.  I waste time scanning for items that I *KNOW* should be there, and I'm amazed at some of the old stuff languishing there.  I've been using PCs since MS-DOS 1.1 and I know a bad UI idea when I see one.


    Monday, July 13, 2009 7:09 AM