Here's a quick fix to disable the recent documents menu from windows xp.

Just follow these steps :-
  1. Remove caching of recently opened documents in recent documents folder.
  • Open run prompt (winkey+r)
  • Type gpedit.msc (The group policy editor) .
  • Then expand user configuration and select administrative templates.
  • After that select "start-menu and taskbar"
  • The window on the right provides various options that you can enable/disable. In this case scroll down to find "Do not keep history of recently opened documents" and then right click on it and enable it.
2. Removing the icon from start menu
  • Right click on start menu and then select properties.
  • Now select start menu tab and choose customize.
  • Then click on advanced tab and un-check "List my recently opened documents" at the bottom, then click ok and apply and then ok so as to apply these settings.
That's it now the recent documents icon will not appear on start menu and there will be no caching of recent documents in the recent documents folder.