Recent Items in Windows 8: Pin to Start, Taskbar, or Desktop

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Recent Items list was a useful feature in Windows 7. For instance, if you had just closed a file but cannot remember the filename or the path, the feature would come to the rescue. It was also handy to quickly reopen files. Unfortunately, it is no longer available in Windows 8. One obvious reasons for this is now we don’t have a Start Menu anymore. Not to fret though, some of the functionality is still available, only the way to use it has changed.

Just like in Windows 7 you can pin applications to the taskbar. So to open a recent file, you just have to right-click on its application shortcut in the taskbar and open the file from its Jump List. The problem though is that you need to have the application pinned. For that, find the app shortcut from My Computer or Start screen and choose “Pin to Taskbar”.

Applications and Jump Lists are fine if you can remember which application your were using or have it pinned to the taskbar. However, there are times that you just need to find a recently used file opened in a seldom used application. In such cases, Recent Items list would be handy.

Thankfully Recent Items folder has not been removed; it still exists, but its just not accessible as it was in older Windows versions. It’s saved at this location:

Ways to Open Recent Items List in Windows 8:

  • Open the Run dialog box by pressing the key combination Win + R, and type in “recent“.
  • Add Recent Items shortcut to Explorer Favorite: To do this, simply drag the Recent folder to your Favorites list.
  • Add Recent Items to Desktop: Right-click Recent, select Send To > Desktop (create shortcut).
  • Pin Recent Items to Modern UI Start screen: Right-click on Recent and select Pin to Start.
  • Recent Items Windows 8

  • Pin Recent Items to Taskbar: Recent is a special folder, so we can’t simply add it as a Toolbar. For this we will use a freeware program called TaskBarPinner. Run it and click on the Pin a Folder option. For Folder path, provide this: “C:\Users\[username]\Recent“. However, the shortcut doesn’t show recent items as a Jump List.

No method provides the same convenience as in Windows 7 and earlier Os’s, but until you get used to the new Windows 8, these tips will help you find your recent files a little faster.