News How to Get Full Context Menus in Windows 11

Jan 12, 2021
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I have nothing against the style of the new context menus. And honestly, I hate having a huge context menu with crap I don't want there. Windows has never had a good/easy way to deal with this but with a lot of registry editing, I can usually get it down to a reasonable size. So a smaller menu with just the things I want would be great. The problem is that instead of letting us decide what options show up in this smaller menu, it's only what they decide goes there. If they had an option to "pin" things to this menu so that we could decide what items were useful enough to see, that would be awesome. I doubt they will listen. They seem to really be pushing the "we know what's best for you" thing here. If I'm being optimistic, they will add some sort of options like this in the future. But my pesimisim is taking over at this point.
 

DataMeister

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Can Tom's Hardware start making a running list of these Windows 11 registry fixes in a single text file that can be applied to any new computer?
 

Nolonar

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Can Tom's Hardware start making a running list of these Windows 11 registry fixes in a single text file that can be applied to any new computer?
Eh, just right click on the key (left side of regedit) where you modified a registry value and select the "Export" option. This will create a .reg file, which is basically just a text file containing all the entries within that folder (as well as the path of the folder). Just double-click on that .reg file, and it'll automatically apply all entries contained within.

For this particular example, the .reg file would contain:
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[KEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
@=""
or similar.

You can easily combine multiple .reg files by copy-pasting the contents of one .reg file to the next (minus the "Windows Registry Editor Version" part).

And if you need to remove the registry value again, just use:
Code:
[KEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
@=-
or to get rid of the entire key:
Code:
[-KEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
or:
Code:
[-KEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}]
You should decide for yourself which registry changes are relevant to you, and mix them yourself into a .reg file.
Collecting all of Tom's Hardware's registry edits into a single file is probably not a good idea, because not every one of their edits is relevant to everyone.

PS: I recommend using comments, so you know what each key/value does. That way, if you ever decide to get rid of a specific "feature", the comments can help you identify which key/value is responsible for that.
Comments are added by putting a semicolon ( ; ) in front, like this:
Code:
; Revert Win11 context menu to old context menu
[KEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
@=""
 
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waltc3

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Thanks for the tip, Avram. Works great in Win11 22468! I cannot see the sense in having two context menus when one will suffice.
 

infiniteimp

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Avram, you're the best man! Thanks for this article.
The minimalist context menu was my main reason for not switching to Win11. The rest I can work around but this one was a serious pain.
Now, if someone could just find a hack to restore some of the task bar functionality (namely the ability to add the address bar to it) I'll be set.
 

apiltch

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So I tested this in 22000.194 (running in a VM) and it worked. Other things to try (and please let us know if they work):

  1. Stopping and restarting explorer.exe (launch a cmd line as admin and enter kill /f /im explorer.exe then start explorer.exe) after the regedit is done.
  2. Running regedit as admin.
 

apiltch

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Avram, you're the best man! Thanks for this article.
The minimalist context menu was my main reason for not switching to Win11. The rest I can work around but this one was a serious pain.
Now, if someone could just find a hack to restore some of the task bar functionality (namely the ability to add the address bar to it) I'll be set.
You can, in a way, get back the classic taskbar, but it might be buggy. I explain how in this tutorial (https://www.tomshardware.com/how-to/windows-11-look-like-windows-10).
 

apiltch

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Can Tom's Hardware start making a running list of these Windows 11 registry fixes in a single text file that can be applied to any new computer?
The thing is that not all of these fixes are right for every person. The context menu one is probably the biggest no-brainer, IMHO. For example, the "classic" taskbar you can get back is pretty buggy (task view doesn't work on it nor does search). Moving the taskbar to the top of the screen (https://www.tomshardware.com/how-to/windows-11-taskbar-move-to-top) has its own set of bugs, namely that flyovers for some things still appear on the bottom or in the center. What we will do is provide a better table of contents of the different tutorials so folks can find them more easily.
 
Oct 4, 2021
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Worked great for me on build 22000.194 , thanks a lot!

Apart from the lack of Toolbar support in the new Taskbar this was one of the most annoying new "features". I understand wanting to simplify the O/S for normal users but I wish they'd add a "power user" area of the settings so we can re-enable some of those classic elements that a lot of us are used to using on a day-to-day basis!

For those having issues, if you have copied and pasted the names of the new registry keys from the web site, just check you haven't accidentally copied any leading or trailing spaces and have rebooted. That is what I did wrong the first time!
 
Oct 5, 2021
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Works now on my VM image Windows 11 21H2 2200.194. Updated to latest.

To my surprise the key existed already, with sub keys like 'ThreadingModel', with value 'Apartment'.
I exported this before my test to remove these keys:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}]
@="File Explorer Context Menu"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InProcServer32]
@="C:\\Windows\\System32\\Windows.UI.FileExplorer.dll"
"ThreadingModel"="Apartment"


- It says i'm not allowed to remove, so i had to RMB on the CLSID, Permissions, Advanced, change ownership from System to myself, set checkmarks, ok, then 'Full Control', Ok.
Now I was able to remove both keys successfull and rebooted the machine.

Now it works!
 
Oct 6, 2021
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I was able to fix my context menu and rename on right click. ONCE. Now it reverted back to W11 crap menu. I didn't know how convenient my life was with every other Windows before 11...
 
Oct 15, 2021
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Press Win + R and type cmd then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter and agree to run the command line window with admin rights, then paste the following into the command line window with a right click:

Code:
reg add "HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32" /ve /t REG_SZ /d "" /f
and press Enter. Then reboot or whatever was suggested before to make the changed setting work. This does all the click here and click there in one line. The GUI stuff is okay if you want it the long way home.
 

enewmen

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Didn't work for me on 22000.194. Triple checked and triple rebooted. I appreciate your effort fixing this Microsoft mistake!
Didn't work for me until I noticed an extra space in the reg key. Check for a space before and after the name.
Maybe now I can keep Win 11 awhile and at least tolerate it while I try to get used to it. BTW many power settings are GONE. The only way to change is to use Control Panel which itself is hidden.
 
Last edited:
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UnCertainty08

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Sep 9, 2020
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Didn't work for me until I noticed an extra space in the reg key. Check for a space before and after the name.
Maybe now I can keep Win 11 awhile and at least tolerate it while I try to get used to it. BTW many power settings are GONE. The only way to change is to use Control Panel which itself is hidden.
Thank you so much.
I tried manually editing regedit myself. but it would not work. I did as you instructed and now it finally works. I hated what they did. Still probably going back to windows 10 for the time being but having the sensible context menu back sure makes life with windows 11 better.
 
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