The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.
Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
The ArcMap Recent File List, visible on the ArcMap startup dialog box as well as in the File menu, is generated and updated when map documents are opened. It is stored in the registry in the following locations:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\ArcMap\Recent File List
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\Desktop10.0\ArcMap\Recent File List
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\Desktop10.1\ArcMap\Recent File List
In ArcGIS 9.x, the ArcMap Recent File List is hardcoded to maintain a maximum of six of the most recent files. In ArcGIS 10.x, a maximum of nine files is maintained. It cannot be altered.
To clear this list, delete the 'Recent File List' folder in <path>\ArcMap\. It is regenerated once a map document is opened or saved.