Some Windows 10 users have reported a strange bug. It seems that the “Open With” option on the right-click context menu is missing. If you’re experiencing this bug, we have a solution using the registry.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

NOTE: Before performing the steps in this article, check if you are trying to select “Open with” for one file or more than one file. The “Open with” option is only available when you select ONE file. If you have TWO OR MORE files selected, the “Open with” option is not available.

Open the Registry Editor by clicking on Start and typing regedit . Press Enter to open Registry Editor, or click on regedit under Best match.

Give regedit permission to make changes to your PC.

NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings.

In the tree structure on the left, navigate to the following key:


NOTE: The asterisk is an actual registry key under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, as shown on the image below.

If you do not see a key called “Open With” under the ContextMenuHandlers key, right-click on the ContextMenuHandlers key and select “New” > “Key” from the popup menu.

Type Open With as the name for the new key.

There should be a Default value in the right pane. Double-click on “Default” to edit the value.

Enter the following in the “Value data” edit box on the Edit String dialog box. We recommend you copy the following text and paste it into the box.


Then, click “OK”.

Close the Registry Editor either by selecting “Exit” from the “File” menu or by clicking the “X” button in the upper-right corner of the window.

The “Open with” option on the context menu should be available right away. If not, try restarting explorer.exe or logging out and logging back in.

If you don’t feel like diving into the Registry yourself, we’ve created some downloadable registry hacks you can use. There is one hack to add the Open with option to the context menu and one hack to remove it, in case you decide you don’t want it after all. Both hacks are included in the following ZIP file. Double-click the one you want to use and click through the prompts. Remember, once you’ve applied the hacks you want, you may have to log out of your account and log back in or exit and then restart explorer.exe for the change take effect.

Open with Context Menu Option Registry Hack

The hack to add the Open with option to the context menu is really just the applicable key, stripped down to the value we talked about in this article and then exported to a .REG file. It adds the “Open With” key and sets the value we talked about as the value for the key. The hack to remove the option deletes the “Open With” registry key. And if you enjoy fiddling with the Registry, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to make your own Registry hacks.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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