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Access Your Recently Changed Files Quickly with This Windows 7 Taskbar Tweak

I've noticed that a lot of people lament the disappearance of the Recent Documents menu in the move from Windows XP to Windows 7.

If you want a one-click way to get to files you've recently edited -- or even new files, such as items you just downloaded to your PC -- I have just the thing for you.

Piles for Windows is a free utility that places a new icon on your Windows 7 taskbar. Just associate Piles with a folder -- such as Documents or Downloads -- and anytime a file changes or is added to this location, it'll show up in the icon's Jump List. Check out this video to see how it works:

Piles is a pretty nifty program, and I know a lot of people will really dig it, which is why I've written about it today. But to be honest, I don't really see the point -- I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Windows already makes it quite easy to get to new and recently changed files:

  • Want one-click access to recently edited documents? Pin the programs you commonly use to the taskbar. Files you edit appear in their Jump List. And it's easier to find a recently edited file in the scoped and filtered Jump List of a specific program than browsing through a jumbled list of undifferentiated files.
  • Need to quickly open a folder like Downloads? Pin it to the taskbar. You can pin any number of folders to the Windows Explorer folder in the taskbar.
I think that Windows 7 actually simplifies file management, but YMMV. If you prefer a cross between Windows 7 and the old Windows XP way, Piles is free and effective.