How to customize right-click context menu in Windows without editing the registry [Guide]

Previous dotTech articles have covered how you can customize right-click context menus in Windows with the registry. However, with the freeware FileMenu Tools software you don’t have to open the registry to customize the context menus. It includes a variety of options for customizing the right-click context menus in Windows.

Go to this download page to add the FileMenu Tools software to Windows XP/2003/Vista/7. (Note: There may be bloatware bundled with the program — keep your eyes open.) Open the software’s folder, and click the Configure FileMenu Tools.exe to open the software window below. The software opens with a list of context menu tools which it adds to your desktop context menu by default.

FileMenu tools 2

Removing FileMenu Tool’s Submenu From the Context Menu

Right-click your desktop to open the context menu, and then select the FileMenu Tools option to open the submenu in the shot below. To remove this submenu, click Options and Enable File Tools on the FileMenu Tools software window. Clicking the Show All Commands in Submenu option merges the submenu with the primary context menu.

FileMenu tools5

To keep the submenu but remove a few of its context menu options, you should click on some of the submenu’s ticked check-boxes. Then click on the green Apply Changes option to remove them from the context menu. Next to that there is a red Cancel Changes option which undoes any modifications made with the software.

Adding Options to the Right-click Context Menu

You can add a variety of options to the desktop’s context menu, such as software shortcuts, by selecting the Add Command option. In the Properties pane at the bottom left of the window you should select an action for the command such as Run program. That adds a software shortcut to the context menu. Give the shortcut suitable menu text, and scroll down to the Program box where you should select the software to run when the context menu shortcut is selected. Then click the Apply Changes option. In the shot below, I have added a Pac-Man shortcut to the context menu.

FileMenu tools 1

Customizing the Send To Submenu

You can remove or add new options to the Send To menu tab on the context menu. Click the “Send To” menu column heading in FileMenu Tools to display the menu’s options as below. From there you can deselect options already on the menu by clicking the check-boxes, or you can select the Delete option instead. Click Add Command to add options to the Send To menu as covered above.

FileMenu tools 4

Removing Context Menu Options

Software applications add options to the context menus, and you can remove them if you select the Commands of other Applications tab in FileMenu Tools as in the shot below. Click on one of the folders there, such as All File Types, to open context menu options added by third-party software packages such as Glary Utilities. You can remove them much the same as the others by clicking their check-boxes, and then selecting Apply Changes.

FileMenu tools 3


Overall, FileMenu Tools is a great software package for customizing the context menus in Windows. With it you can add or remove shortcuts and options to the desktop and Windows Explorer context menus without opening the registry. Check out the software’s website for further details.

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  • BearPup

    Two years on and I still use FileMenu Tools. My tip: go to Major Geeks or Softpedia and download a clean install version, then disable the auto update mechanism in the Options menu. Never had a problem with Bloatware after doing that.

  • Jim-1

    [@Louis] I am a little late to this party. :-) I had the same problems and issues Louis had. After terminating the installer (that never completed a download), I did a web search for FileMenu Tools Portable, and found the latest version 6.6 on Softpedia. It worked with no problems at all. I was then able to use FileMenu Tools to remove six! entries by Glary in the file manager context menu. That menu still has unwanted entries from Acronis, Irfanview, and VLC that FileMenu Tools does not remove, so I will need to find another way to remove those items.

  • BearPup

    [@Louis] You’re welcome. As to the problem you describe, I’m not sure if its a configuration problem or a hardware or software problem; but solving it has proved elusive.

    As to your speculation that its 64 Bit related, nope, its not that. Both my computers run Win 7, HmPrm, 64 Bit OSes, and its never been a problem. Maybe you should write the software maker, describe exactly what you’ve done, and what the results have been, and see what kind of response you get (the company is called LopeSoft). Good luck to you.

  • Louis

    [@BearPup] Thanks BearPup, I also tried the portable version install, but same result — should follow your advice and also run CCleaner, just to be in the clear.

    According to the Changelog (last changed August 2013), there was some minor bug fixes, but nothing stands out.

    I’ll bookmark this for later reference in the future though, perhaps at some point there’ll be an update that fixes this (who knows, could be 64 bit related ?)

  • BearPup

    [@Louis] I feel bad that you and others have had such problems with FileMenu Tools; you’re not alone. When I do Tech Support @ Microsoft and people lose the ability to create new folders, I recommend FileMenu Tools as a viable alternative.

    I’d guess that maybe half the people I suggest it to also run into the exact type of installation problems you describe. My only suggestion to them is to use a “good” uninstaller (which you appear to have done) followed by a Registry clean through CCleaner. While that usually takes care of the problem, its not a guarantee. Perhaps an older version would indicate what changed between that version and now.

  • Louis

    Running Win 7 64 bit Home Premium, I’ve attempted to install this , twice now, first by declining each individual crapware, and on the second attempt by selecting ‘skip all’ right at the start — my firewall asked permission for ‘download manager’ to access the Internet though (denying permission stops the installation process, so there I allowed it, as a once off (but get frequent such requests during rest of the installation process, which I also allow each time).

    And so the ‘downloading and installation’ process begins, and continues ….and continues ….. seemingly ad infinitum !!

    As mentioned, after the first attempt, I had to close the process with Windows File Manager’, delete the installation file, re-download installation file, tried again —- same result, having to force the process to close also on the second attempt. .

    Anyone else having this problem ? Surely no software can take this long to install, especially with no crapware selected.

    Checked with both Revo & Comodo — no remnants of the software on my system, also nothing left in Programs folder, after also forcibly stopping the endless installation loop.

    Pity, looked like a handy piece of software.

  • Craig

    This is a handy program to have. Cheers.

  • BearPup

    [@Craig] I can only tell you what my experience has been – I decline everything offered except the main program during installation and I’ve had zero warnings or negative impacts.

    If all you’re wanting is a Start Menu replacement, I use and recommend Start Menu X, which is available in a paid or free version.

  • Craig

    I’ve been looking for a program that duplicates the Start Menu that I had in XP (RIP). But whenever I try to run FileMenu Tools, my Comodo firewall detects “UnclassifiedMalware@1” and stops me from running the program. How do I get a Malware free program installed?

  • BearPup

    [@KMHamm] Yes there is crapware offered, but you just hit ‘decline’ and that ends it. I’ve done that for every version of FileMenu Tools and its never been a problem. “Don’t throw the baby away with the bath water”.

  • KMHamm

    This installs with something called Monetizer. I don’t trust that.

  • Frank D

    This is a great program! Thanks for a great review!

  • BearPup

    I’ve used FileMenu Tools to overcome the Windows 7 ‘problem’ of not being able to create new folders. Thanks for this tip to shrink right-click menu. Very good use of this software.