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Example:

If I open an image in Preview, the "File/Open Recent" menu lists the name of the file.
If I then close the file, but still leave Preview running, the "Open Recent" menu still lists the file.
If I quit Preview, the "Show Recents" menu does not show any files.
If I reopen Preview, the "Open Recent" menu does not show any files.

blank open recent menu

I have a feeling this is a permissions problem, but repair permissions has not helped.

In Console, Preview is reporting the following error upon opening:

"29/02/2012 14:45:57.183 com.apple.Preview.TrustedBookmarksService: Failure to de-serialize bookmark data file."

I'm using Preview as an example here, but it holds for every app - whether they are bundled or downloaded - on my system.

System Preferences/Appearance/Number of Recent Items is set to 10.

I am running Lion 10.7.3 on an iMac 12,1 with a dual SSD and HDD internal drive setup.

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2 Answers

I would trash your preview .plist file located at:

~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Preview.plist

Restart Preview, and it should create a new one. It sounds corrupted.

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The recent documents are stored in ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Preview.LSSharedFileList.plist. So, you should thrash that (as well). –  HenningJ Feb 29 '12 at 15:29
    
I think doing one will recreate the others, but good point in case it doesn't. I thought that the recent files were actually stored in com.apple.Preview.TrustedBookmarksService.plist actually, so it's perhaps another to add to the list to remove and recreate. But I would start with the main one first. Check the datestamps on the ones mentioned in these comments to see if they get recreated also after you do, just out of interest. –  stuffe Feb 29 '12 at 15:37
    
I trashed ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Preview.LSSharedFileList.plist this is what made the lists empty. Before that they were displaying a list of old recent files that would never change. After that, I trashed com.apple.Preview.plist and it made no difference. –  matt Feb 29 '12 at 16:45
    
Did you trash com.apple.Preview.TrustedBookmarksService.plist? –  stuffe Feb 29 '12 at 17:01
    
Yes I did, it did not solve the problem. You use backticks ` to highlight inline code. –  matt Feb 29 '12 at 17:02
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

This worked for me:

  1. Turn on the Mac whilst holding down +R in order to boot from the recovery partition.
  2. On the top menu, click Utilities, then click Terminal.
  3. Type resetpassword and press .
  4. Click on your main hard drive.
  5. In the dropdown box under Select the user account make sure to select your username.
  6. Underneath where it says Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs, click the Reset button.
  7. Press +Q to quit the Reset Password application.
  8. Press +Q again to quit the Terminal.
  9. Press +Q one more time and click Restart.
  10. Click Mac OS X Utilities in the top left of the screen and click the Restart button.

I got the solution over at Apple Discussions:

I'm not sure where that list is stored, but I agree with your feeling that this is a permissions problem. However, repairing permissions with Disk Utility is not likely to help. That only repairs certain things, and doesn't affect the user folder at all, which is likely to be where the problem lies. You could try resetting the permissions on your home folder.

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@gentmatt thanks for editing! –  matt Mar 1 '12 at 11:22
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