Customizing the menu of Windows systems: a few simple ways

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Customizing the menu of Windows systems: a few simple ways
Customizing the menu of Windows systems: a few simple ways

Any Windows user in their daily work constantly refers to the use of special menus called through the RMB. Indeed, in some situations, many actions to open files, call some functions of the system or programs are greatly simplified. However, most of the operations presented there, if we are talking exclusively about Windows settings, and not about installed applications, the user simply does not need. In addition, in the RMB menu, often some items that are essential for performing everyday tasks may not be available. Below we will consider some of the simplest ways to customize the menus of Windows systems, giving preference to the lists presented in Explorer. But it’s worth saying right away that it’s better not to touch the system items that Windows itself creates, and not applications during the installation process.

Easiest method to add file open menu items

One of the most usedoperations is the opening of files of a certain type (format) using some application. If an association is set for a format, it will automatically be opened in its associated program. But sometimes the same file type needs to be edited in different applications, if, for example, the standard Windows applet does not suit you for some reason.

Everyone knows that for this purpose, the item "Open with …" is used in the RMB menu. But the desired program may not be displayed among the available ones! In this case, you need to use the choice of another application, scroll the list to the very bottom, and then use the "Other applications" item, which has an arrow pointing down.

Selecting an application to open a file
Selecting an application to open a file

If the desired program is not in the list, click on the item to search for an application on this computer and specify the location of the program's executable file on the hard drive, in a virtual partition or on removable media. After that, even if you do not set the use of the selected program to open all files of this type, the application will automatically appear in the RMB menu.

Configuring the Explorer context menu: basic actions with the registry

All this is good, but getting rid of unnecessary operations using the above method will not work. To customize the menu for yourself, you will have to slightly tweak the system registry entries located in the HKCR section. They are sections of the same name called ContextMenuHandlers, which are nested in the ShellEx orshellex in four directories:

  • AllFileSystemObjects;
  • Directory;
  • Folder;
  • Drive.
Deleting context menu items in the registry
Deleting context menu items in the registry

You just need to delete unnecessary subsections with the names of programs or actions from the destination folders, and then reboot the system.

If you want to configure the menu for opening a file using a manually selected application, you need to find the OpenWithList subkey in the same registry branch.

Note: In order to avoid damage to the registry due to incorrect actions, it is strongly recommended that you first backup it using the export function in the file menu.

Setting menu items in installed programs

Sometimes for programs that embed their own operations in the RMB system menus, using registry editing is not necessary at all. This can be explained by the example of archiving applications. Many people probably noticed that after installing them, too many unnecessary items appear in the RMB menu, corresponding to a quick call to operations with archived data. To set your own options, for example, in the WinRAR program, through the options menu on the main panel, go to the settings, move to the integration tab and simply disable the embedding of program commands in the OS shell.

Editing OS Integration Parameters in WinRAR
Editing OS Integration Parameters in WinRAR

If you want to perform additional (advanced) actions, click the context menu items button, and then selectin the menu, set up (activate) a particular command for use in the "Explorer", then save the changes made.

Using the CCleaner optimizer

A popular optimizer program called CCleaner also looks good. It has a special section of the service, in which you need to go to the startup subsection and move to the context menu options tab. Here the field of activity is wider.

Customizing the context menu in CCleaner
Customizing the context menu in CCleaner

Not only can you disable commands for some frequently used applications, but also remove some system operations or even get rid of commands built in by antiviruses. Just highlight the unwanted item or several, and then click the off button located to the right.

Changing menu options in the ShellExView utility

Another utility that allows you to easily and easily customize the menu and "Explorer" and system commands is called ShellExView and is the most common portable application. The program interface, however, is in English, but it will not be difficult to deal with it.

Sort all the presented commands by type (Type), and then you can proceed to editing the items for which the type field indicates the Context Menu.

Disabling Menu Components in ShellExView
Disabling Menu Components in ShellExView

To deactivate a component, you just need to press the button with a red circle on the top panel. The inconvenience of the program is that adding your own items will be quite problematic (if notsay that it is impossible at all).


But in this application, you can add the desired operation without any problems. To do this, in the running program, you can either drag the desired command from the right block and place it in the desired system menu, or use the manual addition of items.

Options for adding menu items to UWCMC
Options for adding menu items to UWCMC

To do this, in the Add/Edit Item block, enter an arbitrary command name, after which you will need to open the command settings menu to add the file corresponding to it (not necessarily executable). Through the browse button, find the required object, and then select an icon for it or set the desired position (top, middle, bottom). The item will be added to the group marked in the list of sections at the top left.

Summary of results

Finally, it remains to draw a line and see which of the presented solutions seems to be the most relevant. By and large, without the necessary knowledge, it is not worth making changes in the registry (this is fraught with irreversible consequences if you do not make a backup copy in advance). But the easiest way is to use the programs presented above. It seems that CCleaner will be the best option, since this application is completely Russified and looks simpler when compared with the other two utilities. But these programs are portable and do not need to be installed on a hard drive.

If you need to quickly edit the Start context menu, the easiest way is to use the free Win+X Menu Editor app. With himeven without a detailed description, any user will figure it out.

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