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Vista - Recent Items Order - Alphabetical instead of Date Accessed

    Question

  •  

    Hi All,

     

    Just wondering if someone would be able to help me with an issue I have been having as there don't seem to be any resolutions on the web.

     

    I am running Windows Vista SP1 that has been deployed as an image not as a standalone installation, if that helps.

     

    I seem to be having a problems that when I select "Recent Items" from the start menu I am only shown about 15 entires but even worse they are only in Alphabetical order which means by the time I have opened more than 15 items the "extras" are chopped off as well as the fact I am not shown my "Recent Items".

     

    I have tried deleting the Recent Items folder but I can't. There is not delete option when I right click on the folder and there no Desktop.ini file in the Recent Items folder either.

     

    Any help would me massively appreciated as this is very annoying and seem quite a simple thing to fix... or at least I hope it is.

     

    Cheers,

    Humphrey 

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 5:56 AM

Answers

  • Humphrey

     

    The default for the Recent Items folder is to display that list in the order that the documents are used. The order will change as you open and close items on that list.

     

    The only option for sorting is to right click the Recent Items button and select 'Sort by name' which sorts the documents alphabetically. I don't see any way to change the sort order back to the default, except to simply use the list.

     

    There may be a registry setting that controls this default, but I could not find it? There also doesn't appear to be a Group Policy that controls this sort order?

     

    The only thing I can recommend would be to disable the Recent Items option, reboot the computer and then enable that option to see if this changes anything.

     

    You can increase the maximum number of items that are displayed in that list with a registry edit.

     

    Open Regedit.exe and navigate to:

     

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

     

    In the right side pane, right click and select New/DWord (32bit) Value.

     

    Rename this value to:  MaxRecentDocs   (Case sensitive)

     

    Double click the new value to see the details.

     

    Make sure that 'Decimal' is selected.

    Enter the maximum number of items you want displayed on that list in the Value Data box.

    Click OK.

     

    Press the F5 key and exit the registry editor.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer or Helpful button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 9:15 PM
    Moderator
  • Ann

     

    I had a chance this morning to do a bit more research on this issue.

     

    I installed Vista Home Premium on a friends laptop and immediately checked the default behavior of the Recent Items component. I found that it has indeed been changed from the previous 'most recent' default sort order. The installed default now appears to be 'sort alphabetically'. I tried all of the known ways to change the sort order and was unsuccessful?

     

    If this is important to the way you work, there is one workaround that might interest you. The following procedure will place a short to the Recent Items folder in the 'pinned programs' area at the top/left of the Start Menu.

     

    1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to:

    C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows.

    (Where 'username' is the name of your account)

     

    2. In the right side pane, right click the 'Recent Items' folder and select 'Create Shortcut'.

    This will place a shortcut in that folder.

    Use the left mouse button to drag the shortcut.

    Hover the shortcut over the Start Button and the Start Menu will open.

    Continue dragging the shortcut up to the top/left section of the Start Menu.

    Drop the shortcut in the list where you want it placed.

     

    3. You now have a shortcut to the Recent Items folder on the Start Menu.

    Click this shortcut to open the folder.

    Select Views and click the Details option.

    You can click the top of the 'Modified' column to sort the list of files by the most recent.

    You now have an easy way to access that folder and open the files you used most recently.

     

    I know it's a convoluted way to do this, but it works. 

     

    I would also go to the following website and let Microsoft know how you feel about the way this component works. They do not reply directly, but everything posted on this feedback form is entered into a database and read by the appropriate product teams.

     

    Give Us Feedback for Windows Vista:
    https://feedback.windowsvista.microsoft.com/default.aspx?productkey=winvista&mkt=en-us&backurl=http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_vista_master

    Hope this helps.

     

    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer or Helpful button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.

    ------------------------------------
    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

     

     

     

    Thursday, September 25, 2008 7:28 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Checkout http://www.vistax64.com/vista-general/110409-recent-items-list.html for a potential work around -- it's not a great solution but it's the best I've found so far!
    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 9:02 PM
  • Humphrey

     

    The default for the Recent Items folder is to display that list in the order that the documents are used. The order will change as you open and close items on that list.

     

    The only option for sorting is to right click the Recent Items button and select 'Sort by name' which sorts the documents alphabetically. I don't see any way to change the sort order back to the default, except to simply use the list.

     

    There may be a registry setting that controls this default, but I could not find it? There also doesn't appear to be a Group Policy that controls this sort order?

     

    The only thing I can recommend would be to disable the Recent Items option, reboot the computer and then enable that option to see if this changes anything.

     

    You can increase the maximum number of items that are displayed in that list with a registry edit.

     

    Open Regedit.exe and navigate to:

     

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

     

    In the right side pane, right click and select New/DWord (32bit) Value.

     

    Rename this value to:  MaxRecentDocs   (Case sensitive)

     

    Double click the new value to see the details.

     

    Make sure that 'Decimal' is selected.

    Enter the maximum number of items you want displayed on that list in the Value Data box.

    Click OK.

     

    Press the F5 key and exit the registry editor.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer or Helpful button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 9:15 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ronnie,

     

    Thanks for you help.

     

    I am using a SOE build machine so maybe when creating the default profile somehow this has changed the order of the recent items but I have never set the order to by Name so it should have been by last used. 

     

    I don't know if you can log a call with microsoft to enable a registry key to set this option as it seems to be a problem for  a number of people. It seems a bit small of an issue to completely rebuild you machine to get it working but would be really useful.

     

    Cheers,

    Humphrey

    Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:25 AM
  • Is Microsoft aware and working on this problem.  I tested the system, and put in 15 items, and it does not sort by the most recent item, only by aphabetical order.  The file keeps more than the 15 items displayed.  Any help is appreciated.

     

    Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:38 AM
  • Ann

     

    I had a chance this morning to do a bit more research on this issue.

     

    I installed Vista Home Premium on a friends laptop and immediately checked the default behavior of the Recent Items component. I found that it has indeed been changed from the previous 'most recent' default sort order. The installed default now appears to be 'sort alphabetically'. I tried all of the known ways to change the sort order and was unsuccessful?

     

    If this is important to the way you work, there is one workaround that might interest you. The following procedure will place a short to the Recent Items folder in the 'pinned programs' area at the top/left of the Start Menu.

     

    1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to:

    C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows.

    (Where 'username' is the name of your account)

     

    2. In the right side pane, right click the 'Recent Items' folder and select 'Create Shortcut'.

    This will place a shortcut in that folder.

    Use the left mouse button to drag the shortcut.

    Hover the shortcut over the Start Button and the Start Menu will open.

    Continue dragging the shortcut up to the top/left section of the Start Menu.

    Drop the shortcut in the list where you want it placed.

     

    3. You now have a shortcut to the Recent Items folder on the Start Menu.

    Click this shortcut to open the folder.

    Select Views and click the Details option.

    You can click the top of the 'Modified' column to sort the list of files by the most recent.

    You now have an easy way to access that folder and open the files you used most recently.

     

    I know it's a convoluted way to do this, but it works. 

     

    I would also go to the following website and let Microsoft know how you feel about the way this component works. They do not reply directly, but everything posted on this feedback form is entered into a database and read by the appropriate product teams.

     

    Give Us Feedback for Windows Vista:
    https://feedback.windowsvista.microsoft.com/default.aspx?productkey=winvista&mkt=en-us&backurl=http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_vista_master

    Hope this helps.

     

    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer or Helpful button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.

    ------------------------------------
    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

     

     

     

    Thursday, September 25, 2008 7:28 PM
    Moderator
  • I have this same issue and personally I find it unbelievable that Microsoft thinks anybody would want to see only the top of the list (alphabetically speaking) from their recent items folder when they click the Recent Items button.  This is so frustrating.  When I click "Recent Items" I would like to see - surprise! - the most recent items.   I've been searching for weeks for a solution online and found nothing other than "can't be done." 

    Friday, September 26, 2008 2:52 AM
  • Bob

     

    You can use the previous instructions to increase the amount of items that are shown on that menu.

     

    You can also use the latest workaround that I posted to put that Recent Items folder  in another location on the Start Menu.

     

    Hope this helps.

     

    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer or Helpful button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.

    ------------------------------------
    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

     

    Friday, September 26, 2008 3:02 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ronnie,

     

    Thanks for your help but I must say I am quite surprised that there is no way that the Microsoft Support guys cannot log this as a serious issue.

     

    I have posted a request on the website link you listed but to be honest this doesn't seem very thorough and you don't really know if anyone has picked it up or whether they will do something about it.

     

    Cheers,

    Humphrey

     

    Friday, September 26, 2008 3:10 AM
  • Humphrey

     

    I can guarantee that the proper product team will get your feedback. The feedback mechanism that is in place, although largely ignored by customers, is very good at getting the information to the right people. I have seen this process in action. Believe me, your feedback as a customer carries more weight than anyone else.

     

    The importance placed on the items logged from the feedback site depends on the amount of requests for a particular issue or feature. This is why it's always important to let them know if you want something changed.

     

    Regards,

     

     

    ------------------------------------
    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

     

     

     

     

    Friday, September 26, 2008 5:34 AM
    Moderator
  • Well thanks for you help again Ronnie. Hopefully more people find this Forum and post on the website you listed! Smile

     

    Lets hope they fix it in Windows 7!

     

    Cheers,

    H

     

     

     

    Friday, September 26, 2008 5:37 AM
  • I have the same problem - one day, the Recent Items list just started going alphabetical only.  Having worked with Windows 95, 98, ME, and XP, it is strange to me that suddenly in Vista this feature goes awry, and no one can find a way to fix it (other than the workarounds).

    But thank you, Ronnie, for your helpful comments.  I'll check the feedback link - I never knew that there was a way to give feedback to Microsoft!  I didn't know anyone cared .

    Thursday, December 4, 2008 6:17 PM
  • Hi,

    I am running Vista Home Premium (though I wish I was running basically any other O/S, windows 3.1 included)  and have been very frustrated by  the lack of sorting in the Recent Items but also that it only allows 15 items at a time.

    I did the registry changed detailed above (adding MaxRecentDocs and setting it to 25) but it absolutely will not show more than 15 items... in order to test it I after the registry edit I edited a few word files I've not looked at for ages and sure enough, three items that were in the list dropped off - ie: it STILL only shows 15 items instead of increasing to 18 items... so the registry edit did not work for me.

    I honestly can't believe how bad Vista is - I'm running Windows 7 beta on another machine and so far am very impressed.... but my work/development (.Net) laptop is Vista and so I'm stuck with it until W7 is in at least RC status. 

    Anyway, enough whining - anyone know how I can, once and for all, change the number of items on the Recent  Items menu?

    Cheers,

    Mike


    Monday, March 9, 2009 1:51 AM
  • I had the exact same problem. Followed the instructions (more or less) from this link and it worked well:

    http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/72816-recent-items-list.html

    1. Go to the directory where the "Recent" folder is stored and simply delete the folder
    2. Type shell:recent in the address field (of the explorer window). The file should now have been re-created
    Hope it works..

    Cheers,
    Sam
    Monday, December 7, 2009 12:12 AM
  • I have the same sort order issue with recent items on the start menu. Has MS fixed this bug yet? It makes the link effectively useless.
    Sunday, October 24, 2010 7:19 PM
  • I had the exact same problem. Followed the instructions (more or less) from this link and it worked well:

    http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/72816-recent-items-list.html

    1. Go to the directory where the "Recent" folder is stored and simply delete the folder
    2. Type shell:recent in the address field (of the explorer window). The file should now have been re-created
    Hope it works..

    Cheers,
    Sam

    This worked well.  Thank you.
    Monday, February 4, 2013 6:32 PM