One of the first things you might notice in Windows 7 is the addition of the new Gadgets and Screen Resolution items to the context menu. The only problem is that you might not really want them there—so we’ll explain how to get rid of them.

No clue what we’re talking about? If you are using Windows 7 and you right-click on the desktop, you’ll see a bunch of new items at the bottom:

For extra credit, if you want to get rid of that Catalyst item, we’ve already written about how to remove the ATI Catalyst Control Center from the desktop context menu.

Remove Gadgets and Screen Resolution Items

Normally removing items from a menu should be a simple registry hack, without any complicated instructions—just like removing the ATI item that we mentioned above. The problem, in this case, is that the new Windows 7 items are actually protected by special permissions making them annoying to remove—but we’re geeks, so all things are possible.

You’ll want to open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following registry key:


Once you’re there, you might notice that while you can see the three new items, you can’t remove or rename them.

What we’ll need to do is give ourselves permission to the keys, starting by right-clicking on the DesktopBackground key and choosing Permissions.

Now you’ll want to pretty much ignore everything in here, and click the Advanced button.

Head to the Owner tab, click on Administrators in the list, and then check the box for “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”.

Make absolutely certain you’ve checked that box before you click Apply!

Now head back to the Permissions tab, and select Administrators in the list (which should say Full Control already), and check the box for “Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object”.

Make absolutely certain you select that checkbox before clicking Apply!

You’ll be prompted by Windows, asking if you really want to proceed. We do.

And now, you should be able to rename or delete any of the keys. I would advise making a backup by right-clicking on DesktopBackground and choosing to export into a reghack file.

For example, to remove Gadgets and Screen Resolution from the menu, I’ve deleted both of those keys (after making a backup, of course).

Combined with removing the ATI Catalyst item from the menu, we now have a nice, clean desktop menu.


Stay tuned, because in an upcoming article we’re going to teach you how to do even more with the context menu.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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