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How to Easily Customize Your Windows Explorer Context Menus with FileMenu Tools

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We’ve previously covered customizing Windows Explorer’s context menus by adding custom shortcuts and removing existing shortcuts with the Registry Editor. FileMenu Tools is an easy-to-use, graphical alternative to these fairly complicated registry hacks.

FileMenu Tools can add new context menu items and remove existing ones, whether they came with Windows or a third-party program. It also comes with a variety of new context menu options, but you can easily disable them, if desired.

Getting Started

When you download FileMenu Tools and install it, it’ll try to install a toolbar – you’ll probably want to opt out of this.

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By default, FileMenu Tools adds a new submenu with a variety of additional tools. If this looks like a lot of clutter to you, don’t worry – you can hide all the default options and create your own options that won’t appear in a submenu.

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After it’s installed, launch the Configure FileMenu Tools application from your Start menu or desktop to get started. You can also select the Configure FileMenu Tools option in the FileMenu Tools submenu.

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There are three tabs in the FileMenu Tools window. One lets you manage the context menu items that come with FileMenu Tools and create your own, one deals with the Send To menu, and one manages other context menu items.

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From the main tab, you can disable individual context menu items that come with FileMenu Tools or click the Options menu and disable all the included tools entirely.

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You can also uncheck the “Show all the Commands in SubMenu” option to place all custom commands in the main menu. This will be cluttered if you’re keeping the default set of options, but may not be a bad idea if you’re only using a handful of custom options.

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FileMenu Tools keeps the options grouped, even if you disable the submenu.

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Creating New Menu Items

To add a new context menu item, click the Add Command option in the sidebar.

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Use the options in the Properties pane to customize your new option. For example, let’s say we want to add an “Open in Firefox” option for HTML files. First, we’d set the Menu Text option to our desired name – “Open in Firefox,” in this case.

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In the Extensions pane, we’ll enter “htm,html” to have the option show for both the HTM and HTML file extensions. The info box at the bottom of the Properties pane explains each option and its syntax.

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We only want this option to appear for files, not folders and drives, so we’ll set both “Folders” and “Drives” to “No.”

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In the program properties section, we click the Program button and browse to the Firefox.exe file in our Program Files folder. FileMenu Tools automatically detects the appropriate icon, but we could also set a custom one with the Icon option.

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After you make this change – or any other change – you’ll have to click the green check mark-shaped “Apply Changes” button on the toolbar to activate your changes. If you made a mistake, you can click the red “Cancel Changes” button instead.

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After we click the Apply button, our new option appears in the appropriate context menus.

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You can also create custom Send To menu items on the menu Send To tab.

Customizing the Shortcuts

From the Send To menu tab, you can disable options that appear in the Send To submenu. For example, if you have Skype installed but want to remove the Skype shortcut from the Send To menu, just uncheck the Skype option.

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You can even disable the Send To menu items that come with Windows.

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From the “Commands of other applications” tab, you can disable options that other programs have installed – for example, unchecking the 7-Zip option removes the submenu that 7-Zip installs.

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To disable commands that other applications have installed, you’ll need to run FileMenu Tools as administrator – right-click the shortcut can select “Run as administrator” to do this. If you don’t, you’ll see an error message when you try to disable these commands.

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Do you have a different preferred application for tweaking your Windows Explorer context menus? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 04/25/12

Comments (13)

  1. Clarence

    I use a little app called MultiLaunch which came out after Win 95 first came out. It’s also free and adds a tab to the properties tab that lets you add an app or more to run whenever you want. I use it in XP, Vista, and Win 7. I’ve enountered no problems with it so far. I also use the Power Toys Send To app from MS too and I find those give me enough flexiblity without putting to much on the right clip menus.

  2. John Fowles

    Simply amazing HTG. I had delayed looking at my email whilst putting a few finishing touches to part of a tutorial on context menu tweaking . I was specifically working on the part covering File Menu Tools which I had stumbled upon when searching for ways to add a “Move To” command and a listing of ny particular requirements for destinations to move a file to.
    I had previously found another great program that covers much more than its rather misleading title indicated.it is Default Program Editor
    Yes another part of my context menu tutorial covers that program
    I hope to return with a link to my eventual tutorials soon

  3. Jeremiah

    Nice article. I will definitely be trying this one out.

  4. rizzoli

    Very nice. The one thing I dream of is a right click ‘save to’ submenu. I’m so sick of every program having some random save to folder option and having to click-click-click-click-click-click through every flipping time. Someone please tell me I’m just too dumb to have found a solution to this….

  5. John Fowles

    Rizolli said something like this:-
    Very nice. The one thing I dream of is a right click ‘save to’ submenu. I’m so sick of every program having some random save to folder option and having to click-click-click-click-click-click through every flipping time. Someone please tell me I’m just too dumb to have found a solution to this….
    Err Umm no you are not dumb but probably a relative newbie here if not you must have a memory like a sieve
    one of the better and more useful tutorials that have been shown here in recent months is
    Customize the Windows 7 or Vista Send To Menu

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/customize-the-windows-vista-send-to-menu/
    This clearly points you to the location of a hidden system folder called wait for it….
    “send to” into which you can paste shortcuts to any folder you want which then appears on the popout send to selection menu you can even add a send to link to that menu to rapidly add more items
    I am working hard on a complete tutorial on the enhancing the context menu but every day I learn something new and exciting!

  6. Superevil

    I refuse to install anything that comes with a toolbar or any other “extra” software. If you wanna get paid for you software that’s fine but don’t be a dick and throw in some malware.

  7. Chris

    @ Superevil + 1, NO toolbars ever

  8. Brian

    Be very cautious with this application. I installed it on windows 7 64 bit. It completely messed up my right click X64 context menu and everything was missing. It seems as if it turned off all my application installed menus by default and ‘Scan with MSE was completely gone and not an option to turn on. After turning menu items on, my system was hosed. Everything I clicked in my taskbar and Start menu said ‘item cannot be found, do you want to delete’. This included windows explorer. I could not even run the uninstaller and even if I did, I was not sure if it would restore my pre-installation settings. It says nothing about messing with existing stuff or being able to restore the original conext menu.
    It also does not install an uninstall option.
    What is worse, when I rebooted to safe mode, I had the same issue. Nothing would run, not even Revo.
    Fortunately, I had a 2 day old system restore that I think has worked.
    This can be dangerous .. be very careful and take a backup or system restore before trying it.

  9. Chris Hoffman

    @Brian

    That’s horrible, I’m glad you had a restore point. I installed this myself (it was recommended by a reader or two) and it worked fine for me, including uninstallation.

    I suppose anything that messes with your context menus can cause problems — I’m really sad to see that happen to you, though — my apologies. The program had good reviews and worked for me.

  10. Chris Hoffman

    @Superevil, Chris

    Toolbars definitely suck. I go out of my way to warn users about them on the rare occasion that I write about a program that includes them (ViStart was another one going around that was quite popular and included a toolbar.)

  11. rizzoli

    @ John Fowles (The Collector, The Magus?)……………..Thank you! Actually I am a long-term lurker here but have less time to check in daily, as I used to. You have saved me a lot of time and I thank you for replying.

  12. Mike Hodish

    I installed this on Win 7/64, and had no trouble, and did NOT get asked to install a toolbar, either. Odd.

    I actually installed this hoping it would have a function that I have always sought, but it does not:

    I want to be able to highlight some text, from any source, (web page, word doc, whatever) right click on it, and be able to have an option to open an email in my default email program, with that text pasted into the message.

    Any ideas how to do this? I suspect that answer lies in the “Commands of other applications” tab.

    TIA, Mike Hodish

  13. Chris Hoffman

    @Mike Hodish

    That would be awesome. Unfortunately, you can’t actually do that.

    Here’s the problem: Each program implements its own right-click menus. So you’d have to add a command to each application separately. For example, you can probably find a Firefox or Chrome extension to let you do this in your browser. But you couldn’t add this feature to Notepad, because Notepad doesn’t support extensions.

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