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.

6 Answers 6


I've written a lengthy explanation of how to clean up a messy context menu, using either the registry editor:

If you want to clean things up the truly geeky way, you can open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to one of the following keys…

Most of the menu items that used for all files and folders can be found by looking at one of these keys:




Items that are specific to folders can usually be found in one of these keys instead:



You can read more at: How to Clean Up Your Messy Windows Context Menu

Or use some freeware NirSoft tools like ShellMenuView or ShellExView.

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  • 1
    Here are some more places where right click menu can be. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
    – vee
    Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 22:55
  • How about the "Open in Read Only" and "Open in Protected View Items"? How do you get rid of those? The Context Menu Handlers key has some opaque items, like GUIDs. Could some of the menu bloat be hiding there? Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 15:25
  • 1
    What about the safety of NirSoft? E.g. here is the following concern: "DLL hijacking vulnerabilities in Nirsoft tools". Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 14:37
  • @The-how-to-geek Your link is 404.
    – Pod
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 8:40

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:

  • 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. Commented Sep 11, 2009 at 2:52
  • Just deleting the bad entries in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell seems adequate for most cases. Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 13:55

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.

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.


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.


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.



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