You can quickly open recently used items in Windows Vista, and you can access all of your recently used items in one place — regardless of the application you used to create them. Finding your recently used items through Recent Items in Windows Vista is the quickest way to open those files.


Open the Start menu.

Click the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.


Right-click any blank area.

A good bet for a blank area is to try floating your cursor lower on the Start menu, close to the Start button. If you highlight an application while floating your cursor around, looking for a blank area, you can be sure that's not a blank area.


Choose Properties.

You can choose Properties from the resulting shortcut menu.


Click the Start Menu tab.

You can find the Start Menu tab in the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box that appears after you choose Properties. Likely, the Start Menu tab is already displayed.


Select the Store and Display a List of Recently Opened Files check box.

The Store and Display a List of Recently Opened Files check box may already be selected, so in this step, you're just making sure that it's selected.


Click OK.

Now that you're sure that recently opened files will display when you follow the path in the next step, you can close the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box by clicking OK.


Choose Start→Recent Items.

Recent Items displays a submenu that lists your recently opened files. So to access the file you want, just choose that file from the submenu to open it. If a file in the Recent Items list can be opened with more than one application — for example, a graphics file that you might open with Paint or in the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer — you can right-click the file and use the Open With command to control which application is used to open the file.

There’s another way to look for documents you’ve worked with recently. Recently used programs will be listed in the main Start menu. If you open a program there will typically be a list of recently used files at the bottom of the application’s File or similar menu.