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?

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 27 '09 at 6:11

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  • 2
    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
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    Typically the issue is slow shell extension handlers. – Larry Osterman Jul 26 '09 at 22:01

this article could be useful: Right-click is slow or weird behavior caused by context menu handlers http://windowsxp.mvps.org/slowrightclick.htm (the article have two solutions)

  • Just in case the linked article get expired, it advises you to do either of 2 things: Use ShellExView (a free software from nirsoft) or editing registries (only recommended for advanced users) – Hoàng Long Jul 28 '16 at 6:37
  • The date of this answer is Dec 18 '12 – moonw Jul 28 '16 at 15:07

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.


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.

  • 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...

  • 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

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