The Windows context menu—the set of options that pops up when you right-click a file or folder—is one of the quickest ways to execute simple commands. That’s why it’s unfortunate that Windows doesn’t give users any real control over the contents of these context menus. Programs sometimes install rogue options (or sets of options) in the menu, and there’s no easy way to get them out, short of uninstalling the program.
Enter ShellMenuView, a free program from NirSoft (makers of a ton of great, techy system utilities) that allows you to view and edit the context menu options for all the different file types on your PC. Here’s how to use it.
First, you’re going to need to download the utility from NirSoft. Just hit up the ShellMenuView page at
and scroll to the download section near the bottom of the page. Grab the appropriate installer (make sure to grab the x64 installer if you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows) and extract ShellMenuView to wherever you keep your program files.
Do the same for ShellExView—it’s located at www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html .
So, now that you’ve got ShellMenuView installed, all that’s left to do is run it. When you do, you’ll be greeted with a long, long list of context menu options (below). Any command you’d like to remove should be in this list; the trick is in finding them.
If you tried ShellMenuView but you’re still stuck with an unwanted context menu behavior, you might be dealing with a shell extension, rather than a simple context menu option. A shell extension can change more than just the basic context menu options. It could, as a simple example, change the drag-and-drop options that pop up when you right-click and drag a file. To deal with these, we’ll use ShellExView.
Functionally, it works exactly the same as ShellMenuView. Just run it, and try to track down your rogue process (above). It can be difficult to find a particular third-party shell extensions among the tons and tons of default Windows ones, so it helps to sort the list by the Company field.
Here’s a cool bonus feature of ShellExView: The folders that show up in your My Computer folder and on your desktop are regulated by shell extensions. That means that we can use ShellExView to customize what shows up in those locations.
To do so, start up ShellExView, and filter the extensions by Type. Scroll down to the extensions of the Shell Folder type. These extensions (as you might expect) control certain special folders, like the Recycle Bin and the Network Places. To add one of these folders to My Computer, the desktop, or the control panel, simply select the extension, click the File menu at the top of ShellExView, scroll down to the option marked “Add Selected Items To…”, and then select the location you want (above).