Windows 7 comes with a nice feature called Jump Lists, which is unfortunately a global Windows setting: it cannot be enabled/disabled per application. I find it very useful to enable jump lists for a few applications like RDP Client, Putty and disable it for everything else.

Jump lists for applications that open a given file only once are not useful for me and are rather annoying and insecure, as the history of accessed files stays in yet another place in Windows. Not surprisingly there are methods and tools to extract jump lists history from a Windows system.

Here is how to selectively disable taskbar jump list per application:

  • Open the folder with jump list databases in Explorer (there is a file per application): %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations
  • Download a free program called strings from Windows Sysinternals into the folder from previous step
  • Launch cmd.exe and navigate to jump lists directory cd %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations
  • Strings.exe allows to extract readable words from any binary file, which allows to understand which application created a given jump lists binary database. Copy paste the below command to create a .txt file with strings for each jump lists database: for %i in (*Destinations-ms) do @strings -n 5 %i >%i.txt
  • Review .txt files to determine which application a jumplist belongs to. Use command line: findstr /I adobe *.txt or open .txt files in an editor - the application that created them would be obvious from application names and recently accessed file names
  • The fun part of disabling taskbar jump lists for an application is remarkably simple: create a directory with the same name as the jump list database file name. On my PC, to disable jump lists for Adobe Reader, I deleted ee462c3b81abb6f6.automaticDestinations-ms and created a new directory with the same name. If you ever decide to use disabled jump lists again - delete the directory and Windows will re-create the jump lists database file and the jump list history within it