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The right click (context) menu is minimal and clean on a fresh installation of Windows. Install a bunch of applications and soon the context menu is loaded with all kinds of opening options from various applications.

How do I remove items from the right click (context) menu?

I find that there are different types of right click menu items:

  • Global items that appear in all context menus.

  • Items that appear only on folders.

  • Items that appear only on files.

  • Items that appear only on special folders (Ex: Right clicking a folder of MP3s shows up a context menu with items like Play with Windows Media Player.)

  • Items that appear only on certain file types (Ex: Right clicking a MP3 file shows up a context menu with items from Windows Media Player/Foobar2000/VLC/your-favorite-media-player begging to open this file.)

I want to be able to delete all these kinds items from the right click (context) menu.

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6 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I've written a lengthy explanation of how to clean up a messy context menu, using either the registry editor or some freeware NirSoft tools.

How to Clean Up Your Messy Windows Context Menu

alt text

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That is exactly what I was looking for! My problems are solved now, thanks! :-) –  Ashwin Sep 11 '09 at 5:19
    
Is it windows 7 compatible? –  Bruce Connor Oct 9 '09 at 6:43
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From here:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Run
  3. Type in regedit and click ENTER
  4. Browse to the following: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
  5. You simply delete or export then delete the keys you do not want

There are several "kinds" of menu handlers, however, so you could browse to any of the following and perhaps find stuff you want to get rid of:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\OpenWithList
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
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Gosh! I wish I could do the same for right clicks in Firefox... I don't want to loose all addons, but I would wanna loose the options in this sort of way –  Ivo Flipse Jul 16 '09 at 10:13
    
Thanks Paolo. I find that this still does not remove some options that appear on special folders (filled with MP3s) and does not remove file type specific items. –  Ashwin Sep 11 '09 at 2:52
2  
@Ivo: there's the Menu Editor addon for Firefox for this: addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/710 –  Snark Sep 11 '09 at 3:33
    
Just deleting the bad entries in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell seems adequate for most cases. –  Brock Adams Jul 8 at 13:55
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If you're running Windows XP, Microsoft has a free utility called Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP. The specific "PowerToy" that has the remove menu items options is called "TweakUI".

How to edit menu options with TweakUI:

  1. Download, install and open TweakUI.
  2. Click on the the "Templates" option on the left hand side.
  3. Check/uncheck the items you want.
  4. Bonus: Add other custom items.

Link

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Thanks Frank. TweakUI Templates works only for the New context menu item. –  Ashwin Sep 11 '09 at 5:21
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Oops. Didn't realize How-To-Geek had it covered. (Not used to the aero look & didn't even realize it was ShellExView.)

Direct link to nirsoft's page for reference, http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html.

"ShellExView - Shell Extensions Manager" http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html Shell Extensions are in-process COM objects which extends the abilities of Windows operating system. Most shell extensions are automatically installed by the operating system, but there are also many other applications that install additional shell extension components. For example: If you install WinZip on your computer, you'll see a special WinZip menu when you right-click on a Zip file. This menu is created by adding a shell extension to the system. The ShellExView utility displays the details of shell extensions installed on your computer, and allows you to easily disable and enable each shell extension. ShellExView can be used for solving context-menu problems in Explorer environment. For more information, read the following article: Right-click is slow or weird behavior caused by context menu handlers.
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To do this, I use Glary Utls:

Glary Utilities is the #1 free, powerful and all-in-one utility in the world market! It offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC.

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To add to the other answers, here are other software that can also edit the Context Menu:

  • Default Programs Editor - Its UI makes it easy to disable context menu of a specific file type.

  • MenuMaid - Its UI makes it easy to disable all context menu from a specific program.

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protected by studiohack May 17 '11 at 22:46

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