Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Why most Microsoft Windows systems have a slow right-click context menu new option?

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, right-click in any blank space inside a window and choose new option. Then a list of file types available for creation will appear, but on most systems this will cost some processing time, enough to be considered slow in comparison to other right-click operations.

Is this some kind of bad Windows registry implementation, or just some crappy algorithm used in background, any guesses?

share|improve this question

migrated from Jul 27 '09 at 6:11

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Come to think of it. That's actually a great question :P How intence can it be to keep a list of possible file-types in memory? :P - I guess it loads all the filetypes when you hover over new. Remember, not all "new" files are empty. – Meeh Jul 26 '09 at 19:00
Typically the issue is slow shell extension handlers. – Larry Osterman Jul 26 '09 at 22:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

this article could be useful: Right-click is slow or weird behavior caused by context menu handlers (the article have two solutions)

share|improve this answer

Are any of the items in the context menu have a reference to a network location/resource? I've had items get in there that was pointing to another computer on the network, but that computer could not be reached on the network. Windows is pretty aggressive when it comes to locating/searching for network resources and gives up much later than you would initially think. This happens to me often in our semi-broken roaming profile setup at work.

share|improve this answer

The submenu is built up from a list of registry entries. When you have too many options or your registry is too clogged, then it can take while to get constructed. Then the list will be cached, I believe. The construction of the list might be long because it is not just a simple lookup but some references to other registry entries have to be resolved.

share|improve this answer
It's > 20,000 registry accesses to open that menu here. The registry is very unlikely to be the culprit here. Heck, it's a database optimized for raw speed and nearly everything you do in Windows involves thousands of registry accesses. THe only things that can take rather long here are (a) querying shell extensions and (b) looking into all programs that appear in the list to get the icons. Larry Osterman already said in a comment that it's usually (a). – Joey Aug 2 '09 at 8:24

I'm not sure exactly but just wanted to point out, my right-click > new on Win7 is completely fast, no slowdowns here. I can't remember for Vista, but I think this is an XP and possibly Vista -only problem that has obviously been fixed. Unless it's only my computer...

share|improve this answer
I think it's just you. It's rather slow on my Windows 7 machine. – MatrixFrog Jan 5 '11 at 21:08
Dunno, but my current laptop was last reformatted 3/9/2010 and the 'new' menu still opens almost instantly. Maybe it's some sort of driver or program or something (but I have a ton of stuff installed too so I dunno). – Ricket Jan 5 '11 at 23:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.