Friday, April 02, 2010

Remove unwanted entries from the Right Click menu

A context menu is the little menu which pops up when you right click on files, folders or icons. e.g., right click on a desktop icon and if you have Anti-virus installed it will have 'Scan with ... Anti-virus' as a choice.
The first step to getting rid of these entries involves opening the programs in question and looking through their options to see if you can unselect any 'integration' or 'context menu' options they have. If that fails, and the program absolutely insists on being an intimate part of your Windows, you can edit the registry as follows:

1. Before we make any changes in the registry, and even though you should have a full System Restore and/or Registry backup already, back up the registry keys which will be affected in this tweak:


2. Do this by opening Regedit, find the relevant sub-folder, right-click on it and select Export. Make sure the "Selected Branch" option is selected under
Export Range, then enter a descriptive name and save it somewhere safe. Do that for each one of the four sub-folders above. If anything goes wrong, instead of firing up System Restore or restoring the entire registry you can double-click on these files and everything is quickly fixed.

3. Now, go to the following sub-folders and delete references to programs you know have set up offending context menu entries. For example, in my system under [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers] I found the key Symantec.Norton.Antivirus.IEContextMenu which I deleted. The first volley in the war against the invasion of my menus by Symantec. Here are all the places you should look in:




4. As you're removing all the unwanted program entries, you should see the effects immediately - no reboot required. Remove an entry from the [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers] subfolder for example and open Explorer, then right click on your hard drive name and you should see the corresponding program you removed in the registry is gone from the context menu too. When you're done, you should see the default context menus devoid of the added rubbish.
If any of the programs whose context menu entries you've removed start displaying strange behaviour, restore the registry entries you backed up previously, or just reinstall the program. As long as you only delete program entries and none of the default Windows entries, all the normal context menu items will still remain.

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