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I recently got a macbook air and am getting used to the mac os interface... Liking it so far but still relearning how to do some basic stuff.

For example, right clicking on VLC, and all the pr0n I've been watching comes up! Don't want to risk that popping up if someone else is using my computer for a few moments.

I've tried setting the Number of recent items under system preferences to none, but vlc still remembers all my filthy video titles! What gives?

In windows I could clear my recent documents easily enough, or use a tool like ccleaner to clear system cache, browser histories, recent documents etc with one click.

Can you recommend something similar for mac?

(I know the best solution for this is separate user accounts - but would like to be confident that I could pass my laptop quickly to someone at a moments notice without all my recent activity being 2 clicks away!

Thanks for any help.

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Up vote because you're being honest about why you want the history to disappear! – Ian C. Dec 11 '11 at 17:19
Nevertheless the better way would be to enable the guest account and switch to the login screen whenever somebody wants to use your computer. – patrix Dec 11 '11 at 17:35
+1 to Patrix who provided a quick, workable answer. Don't know why Patrix didn't put that as an answer. – Global nomad Dec 11 '11 at 18:10
I did acknowledge user accounts in the question however this is about quickly handing my laptop to someone, not for an extended period of time. Closing all my apps is overkill for this use case. – Mark Dec 11 '11 at 19:32
@Mark, if you switch users to Guest User, you don't need to close anything (except perhaps for performance reasons). To get back to your regular account, the user would need to have your password. – jhfrontz Jul 20 '15 at 16:06

There's always the Clear Menu items:

This would remove most of the property lists that store recent documents:

rm ~/Library/Preferences/*LSSharedFileList.plist

(Applications keep the old list of recent items until they're reopened though.)

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I can not find that clear menu. Could you please tell me where it is? – rohan-patel Mar 20 '13 at 8:19
Ok. Apple--> Recent--> Clear. But that does not remove files as asker wants. :-( – rohan-patel Mar 20 '13 at 8:21
After I removed the *LSSharedFileList.plist file, I had to log out and then log in again to make the recent documents disappeared. – Rockallite Nov 9 '15 at 9:02

There is an easy fix to this...

1. Go to System Preferences
2. General
3. On Recent Items, Select None
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This only gets rid of things under the Apple Logo > Recent Items list. It wouldn't, for example, clear your Safari history or the VLC recent items history. Those histories are maintained per-application. – Ian C. Sep 9 '14 at 3:25
Ian C, it does in fact clear VLC recent items history. You're correct that "recently opened files" has nothing to do with Safari history, but that wasn't the question. – redux Sep 10 '14 at 9:36

In addition to using the Clear Menu items in Finder and various applications, you can delete the global list of Recent Places that show in all open & save dialogs.

defaults delete NSGlobalDomain NSNavRecentPlaces

You do not need to be root for this. It deletes the NSNavRecentPlaces key from ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist.

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As per the article Clear and manage recent places in OS X on CNET, this command in terminal

defaults write -g NSNavRecentPlacesLimit -int 0

will eliminate this from your machine.

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Open VLC, go to File->Open Recent-> Clear menu, this will clear the menu even when right clicking the dock icon.

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I know EXACTLY what you are referring too... I actually found the answer and it was simple! I didn't like when I opened my finder, that all of my recent documents were listed there...especially since my work computer is not facing in a favorable position to people walking behind me. I didn't need a long list of my resumes and cover letters showing for everyone to see. Here's where I found the answer.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – grgarside Mar 24 '15 at 16:13
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – Mark Mar 24 '15 at 17:40

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