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Enable or Disable Right-Click Context Menus in Windows Explorer

Have you ever had the context menus in Windows Explorer just completely disappear? There’s a simple registry hack that can turn the context menus off, which means you could also reverse that hack to re-enable the context menus.

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This hack probably isn’t very useful for most people, but we like to explain all the hidden features, including the boring ones.

Manual Registry Hack

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key (create the key if it does not exist)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

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Create a new 32-bit DWORD value on the right-hand side named NoViewContextMenu with one of these values:

  • Enable Context Menus: 0
  • Disable Context Menus: 1

The change should be instant, whether enabling or disabling the context menus.

Note that this setting could also be set under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE as well, so you should check both places if this doesn’t work.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/13/08

Comments (15)

  1. dpiluso

    It doesn’t work can u send me the regedit.exe file just export it then email it to me. Thanks

  2. Swirl;

    My 11 year old nephew was playing on my pc and now I have no right click on my mouse. How can I re-enable it?

  3. Chol

    I can find this link down to Explorer HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
    start from policies, i can see policies is not there at all.
    my computer Vista Home premium

    any ideas why it’s not der.

  4. David Spicer

    i was wondering if someone could tell me how to take that information and it make a .reg file myself?

  5. tarek.elzeenni

    my mouse right click doesn’t work as well and need to send me how to enable it ,,,mthks

  6. marz

    I already did what is instructed but yet it doesnt work for me i cant enable right click im using micrsoft windows professional 5.1

  7. Charles

    I have lost right click context menu

  8. H

    Hi,
    My right click also isn’t working.
    I looked for

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

    using the registry editor, but my version of Vista only has the following file structures:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies

    and

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

    I tried saving NoViewContextMenu enabled at both locations, but it still didn’t work.

    I would appreciate any assistance. Thanks.

    Kind regards,
    H

  9. hopi

    This is a nice presentation, but as you can see from the other comments, it is not fully accurate. I have this problem in Windows 7 Pro and need a real working solution.

    I am familiar with the registry, but in the registry there is no item that your info talks about. At that location there is a ‘policies’ item but it is totally empty.

    I can add and Explorer sub item to it and I suppose I could then enter the DWORD there, but would like to truly know if that is a correct thing to do BEFORE I go and do it… :)

    Please, many people have this problem.,.. I hope you can help further

  10. THE WORST COMPUTER GUY

    Hi guys Restart the machine to take effect.

  11. jim

    I am reasonably computer literae, having been abused by bill gates sinse windows 3.1, but this “solution” IS NOT! As HOPI and others said, it is incomplete, and most important, doesn’t work.

    However, it is the only solution I found in a number of searches…so that makes it THE BEST???

  12. QuBik

    well, may I join the «right-click troubles» fan club …

    Under Windows 7 64 bits and after a reboot, my right-click brings up a phantom cd-drive among my numerous drives. There’s then nothing else to do to get rid of it than reboot and avoid a right-click as long as possible. I tried everything, believe me… went acros every shell context menu there is, uninstall any suspicioous software, etc,. I may just have to live with it I presume, unless some genious appears in the middle of a solution cloud.

  13. Dietmarius

    Thank you!! – it worked immeditedly. This was the first time I chanded the reg editor. cool

  14. Dietmarius

    thnak it worked immeditedly. Later the problem reoccured. I am working in ir

  15. yogi

    thanks it worked for me!!!

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