The Recent Documents folder on the Windows XP Start menu displays a list of files and documents that you most recently used. But if you are not using this feature, it is best to disable it since it will reduce the time it takes to boot Windows plus when you are sharing the computer, you won't leave any tracks behind.
Here's how to disable the recent documents history:
1. Type regedit in the Start/Run window.
2. Navigate to HCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
3. Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value of NoRecentDocsHistory by double clicking.
4. Set the Data Value to 1. Save the value and close the registry editor.
The next time you start Windows, your recent documents folder would remain empty and won't track your open documents.
Update: There are other settings like NoActiveDesktop, NoRecentDocsNetHood, NoUserNameInStartMenu, etc under the same hive key. You might want to disable them if you rarely use them.