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I do want Internet Explorer to maintain a history for websites I visit (e.g. to enhance performance with caching and provide quick access back to places I've recently visited)

However I have never, ever wanted Internet Explorer to track history for files it didn't even open!

e.g. when I view txt files, xml files, videos, mp3 files, doc files, spreadsheets etc... by "launching" them from elsewhere in Windows (e.g. Windows Exploring (the file manager, not the browser), or from Firefox, Chrome, etc. when they pass along a file to be handled outside the browser).

I'm open to running scripts daily to purge the bogus entries but ideally a one time regedit or similar fix would be preferred.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Here's how you stop the Recent Documents from being populated (not just hidden from Start Menu):

Here's how you stop Media Player from keeping history:

Is there somewhere else are you seeing the history of files you've opened besides these? Microsoft Office might keep a separate recent documents history, but you can disable that in preferences.

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Seems to work perfectly! – scunliffe Jun 16 '09 at 19:46

Unfortunately, this isn't as easy as you may think, since Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer are so closely integrated.

As far as I know, this isn't possible to do, because of this integration. You may want to look into Internet Explorer 8 and InPrivate browsing for a workaround.

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I was hoping this wasn't the case ;-) The IE8 InPrivate browsing doesn't really solve my issues since it isn't my surfing in IE that is the issue. It would assist with files opened from IE in an InPrivate session but that then wrecks my regular browsing history which I wish to maintain. Essentially I just want Windows to stop tracking history for "My Computer" (e.g. local files) but maintain it for any external files. – scunliffe Jun 16 '09 at 19:28

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