The right-click menu, or context menu as it technically called, is an integral part of the PC experience. SO integral, in fact, that I cannot even imagine using a computer without the ability to right-click on items and get additional context-based options. The unfortunate thing about this menu is that it can easily get cluttered fast, especially when you install multiple applications that add new entries to it. When you install something like WinRar, you might even get four new context menu entries. Right-clicking on an item and getting a menu as long as the screen itself is just not acceptable.
The hard way of managing the context menu
People that do not want to download third-party apps can manage the context menus of their PCs through the Registry. The database holds pretty much every context menu entry out there and users who are comfortable with modifying it can easily remove items. Read our guide on removing items from the context menu through the Registry for more information on this.
The easy way: NirSoft’s portable apps
Dealing with the Registry is not everyone’s idea of fun, especially when there are easier ways to tackle an issue. NirSoft’s excellent ShellMenuView and ShellExView can help you add and remove context menu entries in seconds, with just a few clicks. The first app takes care of regular context menu items while the second one deals with shell extensions which are usually more complex entries that can cover multiple areas. Both apps are tiny and portable so you should download both immediately.
Note: After applying any changes through these two apps, you will need to restart Windows Explorer. Otherwise, the changes will take effect after restarting your computer or signing out and then back in to your account. Windows Explorer can be easily restarted via Task Manager. Right-click on your Taskbar and select “Task Manager”. Then, find Windows Explorer in the Process tab (you may have to click on More details to bring up additional tabs), select it and then click on the “Restart” button on the bottom right corner.
After launching the application, you will see a huge list of extensions and their corresponding context menu entries. To disable items, all you have to do is select them from the list and click on the red circle from the toolbar at the top. The green circle is used to enable items instead, in case you want to add entries back.
As you can see, these context menu entries cover multiple areas and events even for a single extension as they have to be available in any circumstance. Disabling them has no impact on Windows or their corresponding app as the entries are supposed to be there for your convenience only. Of course, there are items that add unique functions to the context menu but they should be fairly obvious, such as the option to scan any item with Windows Defender.
NirSoft’s second context menu app works mostly the same, with some important differences. The way you disable and enable items is exactly the same but the entries themselves are quite different. For example, a shell extension might handle the drag and drop functions of the right mouse button in specific areas of Windows or for specific extensions like .ZIP and .RAR archives.
As a bonus sidenote, ShellExView can also add several items to “My Computer”, the Control Panel, and the Desktop. For instance, you can easily add the Control Panel to My Computer or add shortcuts to your Libraries on the desktop. To start with, click on the Type category and scroll down till you find the “Shell Folder” items. Choose anything with that type, click on the File menu, expand the “Add select items to” menu and choose your desired location. And if you are unhappy with the changes, just select the item again and disable it by going to the “Remove selected items from” menu.