Keeping an application out of the recent programs list

I’ve grown to like the recent programs list in XP but, I use WIZMO by Steve Gibson often to close drives and eject removable media and I don’t want it showing up in the list. Also, I have desktop or quick launch shortcuts for many programs that I use frequently so, I don’t want them in the list either.

Right clicking on an item in the recent programs list lets you pin it to the menu so that it is always up top but there is no option to exclude it from the list. Searching around I found the solution in a Microsoft Knowledge Base Article , a simple registry edit will prevent a program from appearing in the recent programs list. Here’s the instructional text from the article:

WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
2. Add an empty string value named NoStartPage to the following registry key, where Program name.exe is the name of the executable file that is used to start the program:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTApplicationsProgram name.exe
3. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer

In searching for the recent programs exclusion solution, I stumbled onto information that I have never found at any of Microsoft’s sites. This tip solves a somewhat annoying situation that I hadn’t tried fixing yet, programs never appearing in the list of the open with dialog.

Tip: Show Programs in the Open With Selection Box
This setting allows you to decide which programs are listed in “Open With” dialog box which is shown when an unknown file type is opened. Go to Start/Run/Regedit and navigate to this key: [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTApplications]
To stop a specific application appearing in the “Open With” list select the associated sub-key and create a new empty string value called “NoOpenWith”. To allow an application to be shown in the list delete the “NoOpenWith” value. Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

In that list of tips I also spotted a command line utility built into XP that I hadn’t looked at before. The description on that tips page isn’t clear to me so I’ll write my own description here. The program is named “ASSOC”, as with all good command line programs for Windows, if you enter ASSOC /? at a command prompt you get the usage instructions, which say:

Displays or modifies file extension associations

ASSOC [.ext[=[fileType]]]

.ext Specifies the file extension to associate the file type with
fileType Specifies the file type to associate with the file extension

Type ASSOC without parameters to display the current file associations. If ASSOC is invoked with just a file extension, it displays the current file association for that file extension. Specify nothing for the file type and the command will delete the association for the file extension.

This is handy for getting a list of all currently assigned file associations, simply enter:

ASSOC >C:Assoc.txt

at a command prompt or,

CMD /C ASSOC >C:Assoc.txt

in the “Start-Run…” dialog and you’ll get a text file list to review.