Word - deleting a file from Recent Files

markperl1
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A client inadvertently deleted a file from his Recent files list in Word 2016. When he went to retrieve it from the Recycle Bin, the file was not there. I poked around his computer certain he'd made a mistake, but couldn't find the file.

 I ran a test on his computer, and sure enough, deleting a file from Word's Recent files list deleted the file without putting it in the Recycle Bin.

I ran the same test on my own computer with the same results. Deleting a file from Word 2016's Recent files list deletes the file without putting it in the Recycle bin.

Both computer are Windows 10 and both copies of Word are from the desktop product, not Office 365 version.

I was really surprised by this behavior, and wonder if this is the new norm.

????

Happy New Year to all!
Mark
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Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Deleting a file from the recent file list will not delete the file as it will just remove the shortcuts of the file within the UI of MS Word and Windows 10.

Search for the filename in search bar to locate the word file.

Author

Commented:
Jackie

When the file is right clicked, 2 of the available options are "Remove from list" and "Delete file." The behavior you've described is Remove from list. Clicking "Delete file" literally deletes the file without putting it in the Recycle bin.

I just tried it again with the same result. It's repeatable behavior on 2 computers in disparate environments. I'd never tried deleting a file from within Word before, so this behavior really surprised me.

Mark
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
I too as Jackie read your question that way. Unless you have a backup, there are limited recovery options there.
depending where the file was stored. If in a DFS share space, dfs snapshot may have the file.
If local, trying to quickly scan the disk to see if the remnants can be recovered. getdatabacknt or something similar......
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Author

Commented:
Arnold

Recovery of the file isn't the issue because my client had a backup of the file.

The issue for me is the stunning behavior Word, and the balance of the applications (Excel just did the same thing) within the Office suite. One deletes a file in Windows, and it can be recovered from the Windows Recycle Bin.

I'm just very surprised that deleting files from within any Office suite  application permanently deletes the file.  Interestingly, the confirmation dialog box does not ask if you want to permanently delete the file, as it does if one did a shift/delete on a file from anywhere else in Explorer/Windows.

I'll install Office 2019 to see if the same behavior continues.
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Mark,

> I'll install Office 2019 to see if the same behavior continues.

I just tried it with Word 2019...same behavior! Regards, Joe

Author

Commented:
Weird. WTF was MS thinking?

Thank to all who chimed in, and happy New Year to you guys!

Mark
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
> WTF was MS thinking?

Clearly, they weren't. :) There should be an Option controlling that behavior and/or two context menu items:

Delete file permanently
Send file to Recycle Bin

Btw, here's the Word 2019 context menu:

Word2019 Recent file context menu
Regards, Joe
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
well - they may have been thinking that delete file = delete file; not move to recycle bin; but i agree it is weird they use it so here, while in all other cases delete = move to recycle bin
i can also add in ACcess that entry does not exist - only remove from list, which works ok
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi nobus,

> they may have been thinking that delete file = delete file; not move to recycle bin; but i agree it is weird they use it so here, while in all other cases delete = move to recycle bin

Yes, and, of course, the distinction is really important. A program as robust and as critical as Word (and all MS Office apps) should certainly make the distinction. I recently wrote a relatively small program (fewer than 1,500 lines of code), but made sure I offered both in it...here's the Delete dialog from that program:

delete dialog
Hard to imagine that the huge, feature-laden Word program (or other Office apps) does not have such a feature. Btw, Happy New Year! Regards, Joe
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
Joe, may i return your best wishes, and add  mine for a good Year in good health?
also the fact it is different in ACCess is also very weird - it shows no continuity trough the different parts of office, which one would have expected -  at their price….
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
Thanks for the best wishes, nobus.

Yes, weird that the various MS Office apps have different behavior with respect to that feature...I agree with you that we'd expect consistency in all the Office apps on it.
I always tell my clients, friends and relatives to have reasonable expectations about computers and the software running on them...and those expectations should be low. To me this is a perfect example of that. I've been in the computer business for over 55 years, and am not surprised by this behavioral inconsistency of the Office suite because this type of thing has always been around. Having been a programmer, It's just the nature of programming, from my perspective. Give 10 people the same specs for a program, and you'll most likely end up with 10 very different programs because of the different creative natures and logic patterns of each programmer.

Thank you to all who chipped in, and Happy New Year to all!

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