How to Clear File Search MRU History in Windows

When you click the Search text box in Explorer, the previously typed search queries (MRU) are displayed in the drop-down box. Also, when you type a search query, the autocomplete lists possible matches as you type. Here is how to clear the search entries individually and collectively, in Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10.

You can remove an item from the Search MRU list by highlighting that item (using the mouse, or Up/Down keys) and then pressing the DELETE key.


Search MRU in Windows 7

clear file explorer search history
Search MRU in Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can use “Clear search history” option listed under “Recent searches” ribbon button in the Search tab.

clear file explorer search history

To clear the entire Search MRU History via the registry directly, use these steps:

1. Click Start, type Regedit.exe and press ENTER.





2. Navigate to the following branch:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\WordWheelQuery

3. Right-click the WordWheelQuery branch and choose Delete

This clears the entire search MRU list. To clear specific entries, double-click each binary value until you find the appropriate value to delete. Right-click on the value and choose Delete.

clear file explorer search history

4. Exit the Registry Editor.

Registry Fix

To automate the above task, download w7_clearsearchmru.zip. Unzip and run the enclosed REG file.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

10 thoughts on “How to Clear File Search MRU History in Windows

  1. My God! You’ve got no idea how this helped. Without you, my secret could’ve been exposed! It could’ve ruined my life! Thank u sooo much

  2. awesome help.. not a techie.. cant go through with messing registry but worked like magic to make me able to delete few search entries.

  3. This is the first time I read a guide about changing registry settings where the author doesn’t warn about being careful because if you make a mistake messing around with registry values you could make your computer unusable.

  4. Now if you want to permanantly disable Search MRU list,

    1. Click start and in the search area type gpedit.msc

    2. Now the group policy editor will open. In it go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Explorer

    3. In the settings panel under Windows Explorer look for Turn off display of recent search entries in the Windows Explorer search box

    4. Right click it and select edit

    Use not configured or disabled to keep search history enabled.

    Use Enable to disable the search history

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