How-To Geek

Is There a Windows 8 Equivalent for Recent Items/Documents?

If you’re a recent convert to Windows 8, you might be missing speedy access to your recently accessed items/documents. Read on to see how you can still access your recent activities.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader George Duckett is looking for his favorite Windows feature in Windows 8:

I used to use “Recent Items” and “My Recent Documents” in the start menu in previous versions of Windows to quickly open a recently opened document/activity.

Is there an equivalent aggregated list of recent documents in windows 8, or is it just per app?

If there isn’t an equivalent, is there any way I can quickly access a list of recently accessed/opened/edited documents?

Built-in menu or work-around, surely there is a solution for George.

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Avirk comes to the rescue with this tip:

Yes, there is a way to do this: Just open the run dialog box by pressing Win + R and type in “recent“. There you can see your recent activities.

Note: “Recent places” can be access under Windows Explorer’s under “Favorite”.

Also you can create a shortcut of the “recent” at your desktop and then pin it to start menu. For this just right click on desktop and seclect New>Shortcut. In file location type the path


and click the Next button, it will prompt the name and now click Finish. You will see the shortcut on desktop now and you can pin it to start menu. Also you can define Hotkey for this from properties now.

And there you have it, a quick way to reclaim the missing functionality and make it easily accessible.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/25/12

Comments (3)

  1. Bored

    Tried this in Win 8 Pro and it does not work.

    [Window Title]

    Windows cannot find ‘recent’. Make sure you’ve typed the name correctly, then try again.


  2. Bored

    By default, the only sub-folder under C:\Users\\Favorites\ is the Links folder.

  3. James

    Another valuable and often-used feature of Windows that seems to have either disappeared or been made much less intuitive to access. Is there *anything* in this horrid version that hasn’t been screwed up or crippled? I would not buy any computer with this pre-installed.. I would explain to the store that I don’t want a downgrade, then request Win7. I certainly wouldn’t wreck a good installation of XP or Win7 by downgrading to Win8. Any small improvements are far outweighed by the numerous niggles and annoyances.

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