The right click context menu is obviously an important part of Windows and can be very useful for providing shortcuts and options to do numerous things. From scanning a file for a virus or adding something to a zip file, to running a program as administrator, the list of possibilities is huge. Sadly, a lot of software tends to leave behind data in the context menu as well, even when it’s been uninstalled and no longer on the system. A utility that did that exact thing to me recently was Winpatrol. Obviously, it didn’t take long to get rid of it with a tool like ShellExView.
But minor issues aside, the context menu is a great place to put things to save time and make life a bit easier. With the arrival of Windows 8 removing the Start Menu by default, and limited space on the Task Bar if you already have several programs pinned, a well organised and efficient context menu could be a real time saver. Trying to find what you want by putting an icon on your desktop for just about everything isn’t really a practical solution.
The good thing about using the context menu is although you need registry editing experience or a third party utility to create the entries in the registry for you, once you do that, no software needs to be running in the background. Here’s a couple of quick and easy ways to get useful and important entries into the context menu with the minimum of fuss.
A useful program to put some custom entries in to your context menu is Your Menu. This is an easy to use little tool that can add a single program entry in to the context menu, useful for a single application. Or you can create a cascading menu with several entries in a sub menu which makes the context menu cleaner and allow for more entries inside less space.
Your menu comes as both an installable version and portable executable which is under 100K.
Usage is easy, pressing the single radio button asks for a name which will be the text to display in the menu. Then click in the “Select a program” box and point to the executable file. Click ‘Generate Reg File’ which will generate the necessary files. Two registry files will be created, one to install the context menu, the other to remove it again.
A cascading menu is a similar process, click the radio button and enter a name to display in the menu. The Executable name is obviously the name of the entry inside the sub menu and the process is the same for selecting a program. ’Generate Reg File’ finishes the process and the registry files will be created.
The program does have a few quirks in that every time you click to create the reg files it adds extra back slashes to the entries, and to edit a path the select program window has to be opened and then closed again. Luckily, it only has to be used to create the registry files and doesn’t have to stay running in the background. An option to import menus for editing would have been a welcome addition.
Compatible with Windows 7
This next utility is essentially a small collection of registry tweaks in the form of three .reg files to install, and another three to remove again. They are accompanied by a small frontend executable which will offer to create a restore point, but it’s not needed to use the tweaks as the registry files are located in the Tools folder. As it’s a zip file just extract to where you like and run the ContextMenu.exe to get to the frontend.
There are three different menus to enable, the first is the ‘Control Panel’ menu which will give you quick access to some of the common Control Panel options.
The second menu is ‘System’ which gives you quick access the things like the Event Viewer, Disk Cleanup and System Restore.
The third menu gives shortcuts to some common Windows 7 built in utilities like the Command Prompt, Notepad and Sticky Notes.
To uninstall the menus simply click the ‘Uninstall’ button of the menu you wish to remove in the frontend, or double click the relevant uninstall.reg file in the tools folder.
Compatible with Windows 7
Obviously, IF you have sufficient knowledge of the registry, you can add extra options in or take them out yourself with either programs registry files. These options give some useful right click shortcuts to make some common Windows functions more quickly accessible. I would advise that if you have a context menu entry to a program that is no longer there, remove that entry as it could cause a lag with the context menu looking for programs it can’t find.