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Adobe Reader drop-down menus are actually a "recently viewed documents" list. There are a few ways to update the list.

I'm running Windows 7. How can Adobe Reader 11 files be permanently deleted from the drop-down as well as the prompt box that lists them? I've deleted them in documents so that when I click on each one in Adobe Reader, the prompt says that there was error and the file cannot be found. I've tried finding an answer online as well as other users. However, there doesn't seem to be a solution. Also, there's no mention of it in their database. Thanks for your help.

In this excerpt from Answercast #78, I look at the way that remembered document lists are formed in programs and possible ways to get rid of them.

Adobe Reader dropdown menus

It's possible that there may not be a solution.

I believe what you're looking at in that dropdown is what's called the "recently used list" or "recently viewed list." All Adobe is doing, and many other programs do this as well, is they're simply keeping a list of the five or ten or however many documents you've most recently opened.

That's a convenience to you. There's a high probability that if you looked at it recently, you may need to look at it again. They're making it a shortcut so all you have to do is click on that in the dropdown and poof, the file opens.

Remove dropdown menu items

How to get rid of it? Boy, you know... how I typically get rid of it is (in most programs) doing exactly what you just did - gets rid of it.

In other words, I try to open it. The open fails and the software is often smart enough to realize that, "The open failed. This recently used document is gone - so I'm going to remove it from the recently used document list."

Set preferences

Another possibility I suppose: is to take a look in Preferences. If Adobe has the option, turn off the "recently used document list" - or if they have the opportunity to change the number of documents remembered, you might try reducing the number to the smallest number possible. Save that and make sure the list is now empty.

Then if you want the feature at all, go back and turn the feature back on - or increase the number to a more reasonable five or ten, or whatever makes sense to you.

Recently used documents list

So that's what I think is happening here. I think it is simply the "recently used" feature that is confusing things a little bit.

In general, there's really no harm in just leaving those there. As you continue to open other PDF documents, over time, those files that used to be recently viewed won't be recently viewed any more - and they'll disappear of their own accord.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6133 - December 13, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
Joe F
December 14, 2012 8:59 AM

Wouldn't CCleaner take care of that?

The other, better option would be to use Foxit instead of Adobe.

Theo
February 1, 2013 12:37 AM

I am using Adobe Reader 11.0. It saves the recently used file names in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\11.0\AVGeneral\cRecentFiles
When you delete those entries, they will be gone from the list. If you would like to preserve some entries, (I did not test this), you may have to edit the sequence numbers so there is no hole.

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