Windows 7 / Getting Started

Keeping Programs off the List

You have a top-secret program that you do not want anyone else to know you have. Every time you run a program on your computer, Windows 7 records it and places the shortcut on your Frequently Run Programs list. Sometimes this is not always a good thing and can cause a privacy or job-security problem.

For example, let's use the situation of a guy named Rudi. Rudi is a big Solitaire player. It is not the best game, but he likes it because it is an alternative to actually doing work. Every time Rudi plays Solitaire, Windows 7 automatically adds the game to the Frequently Run Programs list. In this situation, program tracking creates a big problem for Rudi. He is concerned that one of his fellow employees or manager might see his Frequently Run Programs list and discover where he spends his time. What should he do? First, Rudi should buy a copy of Windows 7 Tweaks, and then he should follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start menu and select Run. Type regedit and click OK to start the Registry Editor.
  2. Expand the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder.
  3. Search through the list of folders until you find the folder called Applications and expand that, too.
  4. Now you will see a list of every executable file for the programs installed on your computer. To hide a program from the Frequently Run Programs list, expand the folder that is the executable for the program. To hide Solitaire, expand the Solitaire.exe folder.
    Tip If you do not know the name of the executable file that a program shortcut points to, you can easily look this up by right-clicking the shortcut and selecting Properties. In the Properties box, you will see a full path to where the file is located and the name of the file.
  5. Can't find a folder called Solitaire.exe? That is because some Windows applications are not listed. If your application is listed, skip this step. Otherwise, you need to create a new registry key. To do so, select the Applications key within HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. Right-click and select New, and then select Key. Type in the name of the executable for the name of the key. For Solitaire, name the key Solitaire.exe.
  6. Now that you have found the folder for the application or have created one, expand it so that you can see all its values. Then right-click the executable's folder that you just created or found in the registry. Select New, and then select String value. Type NoStartPage as the name of the string variable.
  7. Close the Registry Editor and then log off and then back on. You will never see Solitaire in your Frequently Run Programs list again.

Now Larry can play as much Solitaire at work as he wants without having to worry about it showing up in his Frequently Run Programs list.

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