Remove an Entry from Browser MRU list

Removing pesky URLs containing typos from your browser's MRU list


In the last article, we looked at how to handle lexicon strings for System Settings in a transport package. In this one, we'll cover a more mundane topic: how to remove items from your browser's Most Recently Used (MRU) list. This is the list that drops down when you begin typing a URL in the browser's address bar.

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Probably everyone in the world knew this except me, so this article is to remind me, and to inform the handful of you who haven't yet bothered to discover it.


The Problem

Sometimes I mis-type a URL in my browser. Even though the URL is not found and not what I wanted, my browser is dumb enough to put it on the Most Recently Used (MRU) list. A week later, I want to go to the same URL. I start typing it. My browser says, "here, let me help you with that," and completes the incorrect URL. I don't notice the typo and hit enter. This is not just a frustrating side trip to the wrong URL. It actually moves the entry even higher up on the MRU list. That's because, as far as your stupid browser is concerned, you just used it again. Eventually, I start remembering that the URL is bad, but I still have to keep looking at it when the MRU list drops down.

I'm an old-school tech. person. (Notice the period after "tech" there in the previous sentence — in my day, "tech" was not a word.) I always assumed that there was a way to fix MRU errors, but remembering the old days, I figured it would involve somehow finding the MRU file, opening it in an editor, manually removing the entry (assuming that MRU file wasn't encrypted or in some un-editable form), and saving the file. In case you assume that I'm senile for thinking that, consider that if you want to change the run-window MRU list in Windows 10, you have to fire up the registry editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU, then edit the entry using Regedit's wacky and limited editing conventions.

Since I was always in the middle of doing something when I noticed the bad MRU entry, I repeatedly made a snap decision that it wasn't worth spending time to solve a minor annoyance.


The Solution

One day last week, I couldn't take it any more. It was time to find out how to fix this. It's embarrassing how simple and uniform this turned out to be. When the MRU list drops down, you use the down arrow to select the offending entry (or right-click on it), then press the delete key. That's it. And it works in almost all browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge ... even the hated IE). It doesn't appear to work in Opera, and of course it won't work in Tor, which has no MRU list.

Note that, for obvious reasons, this won't work on "suggestions" that can also appear in the MRU list when placed there by a search engine.


Coming Up

In the next series of articles, we'll look at code to find Symlinks in a MODX site.



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