How to Manually Edit the Right Click Menu in Windows.
The last time I right-clicked on the file, it annoyed me that it took a full two seconds to load the context menu. Why? Well, because I installed so many different applications on my computer that some of them were automatically added to the context menu when I right clicked!
Some programs ask you if you want the option to be added to the context menu, while others do not. Sure, I probably said yes a couple of times thinking about how useful it would be to have this in my right-click menu, but there are many that I never use!
If you’re looking for a way to remove apps from the context menu for files, folders, and desktop, you can do it yourself with a little registry hack. If you don’t want to mess with the registry, check out my previous post at free utilities to edit the right-click context menu
First, take a look at my ridiculously long right-click menu:
Now this is too long! Have Dreamweaver, Notepad, Antivirus, Pinky Basket, PKZIP, SmartFTP, and PowerISO! Wow! So how do you make the menu more manageable?
First, be sure to back up your registry in case something goes wrong. Now open the Registry Editor by choosing Start, then Run and typing REGEDIT.
Edit Right-click on the file list
There is one context menu for files and another for folders. To navigate to the section for files, navigate to this registry key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ * \ shellex \ ContextMenuHandlers \
You should now see a list like this:
All folders listed in ContextMenuHandlers are applications that appear when you right-click a file in Windows. You can delete the folder to remove the option, or simply disable the folder, which is better if you want to bring it back later.
You can disable an application by clicking a folder in the left pane, then right-clicking the key value in the right pane and choosing Change.
All you have to do is add a minus sign without parentheses (-) in front of the key value, as shown below:
Click OK, then the Update button “at the top and try right-clicking the file! The program should disappear from the context menu. If the minus sign option doesn’t work, you can simply delete the entire key for that particular program by right-clicking and choosing Delete.
You may notice that there are additional elements in the right-click context. menu that is not displayed under this key. This is because not all menu items are stored in one place. You can also find other menu items for programs stored in the following locations:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ * \ shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ AllFileSystemObjects \ ShellEx \ ContextMenuHandlers
Edit Right-click on the folder list
You can also follow the same steps as for folders; it’s just a different path in the registry. To change menu options for right-clicking on folders, go here:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Folder \ shellex \ ContextMenuHandlers \
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Directory \ shell
You have to scroll a little, but once you get there, it should look something like this:
Again, you can delete folders in ContextMenuHandlers, or you can simply disable them by editing the key and putting – in front of the value. Everything is simple and works like a charm!
Edit Right Click Menu for Desktop
Yes, the desktop on Windows has a different place in the registry for its context menu. Fortunately, it has the same structure as the one shown above, so you won’t have any problem with how to delete items.
Most programs never add anything to the desktop context menu, so you won’t often use this registry hack. The location of the desktop menu items is here:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Directory \ Background \ Shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Directory \ Background \ shellex \ ContextMenuHandlers
If you’ve always wanted to get rid of that annoying Gadgets menu item in the desktop context menu, now it’s possible!
You can also easily add any application to the desktop context menu. Just right click on the shell key and choose New – Key. Name the key whatever you want, it will appear in the context menu. In my example, I created a key called Paint.
Now right click on the new key and select New – Key again. This time name the key command. Now double click on the default in the right pane and paste the path to your program. This is what my registry entries look like:
You can go directly to the desktop, right click and you should see a new option for your program!
So, these are three different context menus in Windows and how to edit them using the registry. If you have questions or concerns, please leave a comment. Enjoy!