How to edit right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer – TechRepublic | Hot Mobile Press

Learn how to reduce the number of commands in the Windows 10 version of the menu using handy third-party utilities.

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Right-clicking on a folder or file in Windows 10 File Explorer will trigger a context menu with a series of commands, including several from third-party applications. But as you install more apps, this menu can become cluttered with a long list of entries. Many of these are commands you’ll probably never use and make navigating the menu difficult (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A Editing the right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

For Windows 11, Microsoft trimmed the menu down to the bare minimum to make it smaller. You can remove commands from the menu in Windows 10, but to do that you’ll have to delve into the registry and look for several different keys. Instead, you can trim and crop the menu more easily using two third-party utilities from NirSoft called ShellMenuView and ShellExView.

To help you edit the right-click menu in Windows 10 File Explorer, ShellMenuView shows entries located in specific registry keys, while ShellExView shows those in a different set of registry keys. Therefore, you should use both tools to reach as many commands as possible.

SEE: Checklist: Backing Up Windows 10 Systems (TechRepublic Premium)

While both utilities are helpful, dealing with all the possible commands in the right-click menu can still prove tricky. This is due to the context-sensitive nature of the menu, which means the menu changes depending on whether you right-click a folder or file, and what type of file you’re clicking. Because of this, it’s best to open these tools side-by-side with File Explorer, with the right-click menu open, so you can see the commands you want to remove.

First, download ShellMenuView and ShellExView from NirSoft website. None of the programs require installation. Just unzip the downloaded files. Normally you would use ShellMenuView first to remove certain key entries and then turn to ShellExView to clean up commands that ShellMenuView doesn’t display.

Open ShellMenuView and the program will display many of the possible commands in the context-sensitive menu in alphabetical order (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B Editing the right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

Open File Explorer and right click on any folder to open the context menu. Then position ShellMenuView and File Explorer side by side (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C Editing right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

Now select a specific command from the File Explorer menu that you never use and want to remove. Look for the entry in the ShellMenuView window. For example, there may be an Add to Windows Media Player List menu command that you don’t want or need to use or see. Look for this entry in ShellMenuView. You will find several references to it, each listing a different extension, including file extensions as well as directories. You can start by removing the entries for directories so that this command no longer appears when you right-click a folder. You can then switch to specific file types.

To remove an entry in ShellMenuView, right-click it and choose Disable Selected Items. You can select multiple entries, right-click them, and then uncheck Selected Items (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D How to edit right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

Try the same with other commands in the context menu. Be sure to check for third-party applications. In addition to right-clicking a folder in File Explorer, right-click a few different file types to reveal a different set of context-sensitive commands. You want to try to access as many items as possible so you can easily find them in ShellMenuView. If you can’t find a specific command, ShellMenuView provides a search function that allows you to find an entry by filename (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E How to edit right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

Next, open ShellExView and view it side-by-side with File Explorer, with the right-click menu visible in a folder. In ShellExView, look for entries whose type is context menu, as listed in the third column. To simplify this process, sort the list by type. To remove commands in ShellExView, right-click on them and choose Disable Selected Items (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F Editing the right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

If you get a warning about disabling a specific command, leave it alone. If you run into trouble disabling a command, you can always right-click it and choose Enable Selected Item. When you’re done, right-click a folder and then a file in File Explorer to confirm that the menu is less cluttered and hopefully more user-friendly (Figure G).

Figure G

Figure G How to edit right-click context menu in Windows 10 File Explorer.

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