Windows 11 Classic Context Menu

Windows 11 ships with a simplified right-click context menu for File Explorer (and the desktop) that is different from the Windows 10 context menu. If you’d like to use the classic Windows 10 right-click menu instead, you can do so by modifying your registry with a few clicks. Here’s how.

Edit the Registry Yourself

To get the full, legacy right-click context menu in Windows 11, you have two choices: You can edit the Windows Registry yourself or download our one-click hack in the section below.

Warning: The Registry Editor is a powerful tool. Misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. Still, this is a simple hack, and if you follow the instructions completely, you shouldn’t have any problems. If you haven’t used the Registry Editor before, consider reading about how to use it before getting started. We also recommend backing up the Registry (and your computer) before making any changes.

If that sounds like too much of a hassle, just skip to the “One-Click Registry Hack” section below. Otherwise, let’s get started.

First, click the Start button and type “regedit”, then click the “Registry Editor” icon when it appears.

In the Registry Editor window, navigate to this key—or you can paste it in the Registry Editor address bar to go there quickly:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\

Navigate to the correct key in Registry Editor on Windows 11.

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Right-click the blank area in the right portion of the window and select New > Key, then paste  {86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2} as the key name.

Right-click in Registry Edit and select New > Key.

Next, right-click on {86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2} in the Registry Editor sidebar and select New > Key. Then name the new key InprocServer32 .

Right-click the key and select New > Key.

Next, double click the “(Default)” key under InprocServer32 to open it, then close it without making any changes by clicking “OK.” This will make the value entry for it blank instead of “(value not set).”

Click "Ok."

After that, close Registry Editor and restart your Windows 11 PC.

When you reboot and sign in again, right-click an item in File Explorer or on your desktop. You’ll see the classic right-click context menu. Hello, familiar friend!

The classic context menu as seen in Windows 11.

If you change your mind and want to restore the default right-click context menu, follow the instructions in the section below.

RELATED: How to Restart a Windows 11 PC

Download Our One-Click Registry Hack

If you want to use the classic Windows 10-style right-click context menu without having to edit your registry manually, you can download a registry modification file we have prepared.

Download the Windows 11 Classic Context Menu Hack

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After you download the file, unzip it to any location, and you’ll have two files: “win11_classic_context_menu.reg,” which performs the hack, and “undo_win11_classic_context_menu.reg,” which removes the hack (in case you change your mind).

In general, you shouldn’t trust registry files that you find on the internet without checking them first. You can verify that it’s not malicious by opening the file using Notepad (right-click, select “Show More Options,” then choose “Edit”) and looking at its contents. It will look like this:

Looking at the contents of the registry file.

As you can see, it’s pretty simple. The “win11_classic_context_menu.reg” file contains two keys that will be added to your registry when you open it.

Once you’re ready, double-click the REG file, and you’ll see a warning stating that adding information to the Registry could potentially damage your system. Click “Yes” to continue.

Click "Yes."

After that, you’ll see another pop-up notifying you that the information was added to the Registry. Click “OK.” Next, restart your PC to make the change take effect. When you log back in and right-click a file, you’ll see the classic context menu.

RELATED: What Is a REG File (And How Do I Open One)?

Restore the Default Windows 11 Context Menu

If you change your mind and want to use the default context menu that Microsoft intended with Windows 11, you can either run “undo_win11_classic_context_menu.reg” (found in the ZIP file we provided), or run Regedit again and remove HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32 . Then restart your PC. When you log back in, the default context menu will be back.

This registry hack was working as of Windows 11’s initial release in October 2021. In the future, it’s possible that Microsoft will disable this registry hack with an update. Since application developers can add options to the new Windows 11 context menu, this hack may become less necessary over time as apps get updated to support Windows 11. Until then, enjoy your classic context menu!

RELATED: How to Update Windows 11

 

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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