Modify and cleanup the right-click context menu with ShellExView

Nowadays it seems like every program and its grandmother adds an entry into the right-click context menu. Don’t hate you it when you right-click on something and it takes around 10 seconds just to load the context menu? Or, maybe you dislike the fact how cluttered your context menu is? Not sure how to make it “less cluttered”? Well, no worries – Nirsoft’s ShellExView should do the trick!

ShellExView is a small 42.5 KB executable (comes in portable and installer versions) that helps you make your context menu less cluttered and makes it more organized; it’s a simple tool from which you get to modify, disable, or enable extensions on the context menu.

Using ShellExView is very easy; all you have to do is run the program, click on an extension name, then use the button toolbar at the top or the right-click menu to modify the extension in question:

(Take note that all changes are made in real time. In other words, there is no need to “save” your work have you have modified some extensions – everything is “automatically” saved.)

For example, to cleanup my cluttered right-click context menu…

…I disabled many existing extensions:

This is the end result I got:

Now would you look at that; my right-click context menu is a lot less cluttered now. Not only that, but the amount of secounds it takes to view my context menu have dramatically decreased from 10 secounds, to around 2-4 secounds. Now if that isn’t a vast improvement I don’t know what is; especially considering it only took me a few minutes to modify.

So let’s do a quick review. Less clutter means more organized, and performance (speed) increase when right-clicking on things. So evaluate your right-click context menu today and see if you need some cleaning up to do =).

You may grab ShellExView from the following links:

Version reviewed: v1.47

Supported OS: Windows 98 and higher

Download size: 54-122 KB depending on the version you download

ShellExView homepage

[Direct download – portable version]

[Direct download – installer version]

[Direct download – 64-bit version]

Special thanks to David for the heads up on this program.

[This article has been contributed to dotTech by Lascannon.]

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  • Mike Pendlebury

    @Mr.Dave: The Download Images command in the context menu comes from a FireFox addon called FastestFox.
    I’m quite busy for the next few days so won’t be able to go through the questions and suggestions in yours and Kev93’s posts until after the weekend, but will report back when I get chance.
    In the meantime, thanks and have a good weekend.

  • Kev93

    @Mike7P: Did you try Unlocker? Also boot into safe mode and try deleting it there.
    What version of windows? If it’s a pro/ultimate version you could try changing permissions.
    Also, If your comfortable enough with downloading big files, you could try downloading a Linux distro and trying to delete it from there. Ubuntu has good NTFS support.
    If that doesn’t work, try a rootkit remover like GMER. (I think that’s the one, I don’t use windows much now other than fixing other people’s computers.)
    A secure file shredder might work but I doubt it.
    Last, did you try chdisk?
    @Ashraf: (note the capitol ‘a’) I can’t promise (life is busy sometimes), But I might write an article soon.

  • Mr.Dave

    @Mike7P: Yes, getting more bizarre by the day!  I also am no longer seeing images in the review, though others appear.  I’m certain I could see the pictures even as late as Aug 29 when I replied to you the firsts time.  And looking at the cached version from 8/26 using Google shows the same lack of images.  The files have been removed.  Today I turned off AdBlobkPlus (I’m also a Firefox user) to see *everything*- Ashraf certainly keeps the adds to a minimum and they’re related to the site, so I’ll let them show from now on!
    Anyway, using a “Page Info” button in my sidebar I checked all the media items.  There’s only ONE related to your rogue file: “”.  Note the .png extension.
    I don’t see any built-in command in Firefox to download all the images on a page, what extension and command did you use?  If I try to right-click one of the missing images and save it, there’s no “Save Image” option.  If I right-click and select “View Image Info” I see links for all images on the page, but those from the bocy of the review are grayed-out since the image files are not available on the site.  If I use an extension called “DownThemAll”, the “dta One-Click” command, I can save all the images except those in the body of the review, which give 404 Not Found errors.  But the SWF Protect ad image downloads just fine.  I don’t see any script commands hidden inside the .png file. I was able to delete the SWF Protect ad image and all the others that got downloaded.  I did NOT download them to my desktop, but to another folder where all my downloads go until I sort them out and find better homes or delete them.  So I saved just the SWF Protector ad image to my desktop.  Appears to be normal file with normal permissions.  I renamed it to take away the extension and still no problem deleting it.  I’ll try a reboot once I post this and leave a reply if the image comes back.
    Since many anti-virus programs don’t like some of NirSoft’s products (I tend to think they’re finding false positives), is it possible you AV program did something to quarantine or delete files with NirSoft in the title?  Or even the SFW Protect name could be a cause.  That would be pretty low….but I once caught PCCillin claiming a 16-byte text file I created contained a virus entirely because of its name.  This may have interfered with the extension program that downloaded the pictures.  Or the download extension may have grabbed some protection or permission status from the web page?
    One thing you might try that sounds counter-intuitive is to simply repeat the download process.  There may have been a glitch the first time around that may not happen again, and if everything completes correctly it could overwrite the problem.  You might also try this with your AV program turned off (or at least turn off Real Time Protection) during the download — dotTech seems to be quite safe!!!!
    Some questions to help sort this out:
    Is your Rogue file’s size 6,770 bytes?  Like the original picture?
    What Antivirus program are you using?
    What Firefox command or extension did you use to download the file?
    The description of your results from creating folders and restoring from the recycle bin sounds like something is worried about the name of the file and not its contents.  If you’re comfortable in the Registry, check out entries in the RunOnce keys, there may be something there that isn’t completing and getting removed.  Also run a full scan with your AV program, and also try Malwarebytes Antimalware, Spybot Search & Destroy.
    I’m not a professional PC repair person so I may be overlooking something obvious here.  Anyone else got any ideas?

  • Mike7P

    @Mr.Dave: This just gets more weird!

    The Rouge file now returns every time I reboot my PC. The

    original Fix I came up with no longer works, but I have stumbled

    across one, that so far works every time. This new fix is even

    more bizarre than the last one.I’m beginning to worry about my

    sanity, as these fixes don’t appear to have any logical

    reasoning behind them, and yet i can keep producing them. Freud

    would have a field day!
    Any way back to the fix, here it is.

    1.Create new folder on desktop and give it the same name as the

    Rouge file. For some reason this allows the rogue file to be


    2. Delete Rogue file to Recycle Bin. at this point I tried to

    delete the newly created folder, but I just got the original

    error message about the file not existing. On we go.

    3. Restore deleted Rogue to desktop.something strange happens

    next! Although the file disappears from the Recycle Bin, it does

    not appear back on the Desktop as expected, in fact it doesn’t

    re-appear anywhere as far as I can see.
    This still leaves you with the newly created folder on the
    Desktop, but it is now possible to delete this in the normal way.

    4. Delete, empty Recycle Bin.

    Can you explain that one then?

    The trouble is, until I can find a permanent Fix, I have to do

    this every time I reboot!
    I suppose if I was a bit cleverer at programming I could write a

    file to put in the start-up folder to automate this process. But

    for now I’ll do it like this.


  • Josh

    Off topic, but still relevant as far as this article/page is concerned … There is definitely some problem with the images. They don’t show up on my monitor, either. There is not even a red x. Images on other dottech pages are fine.

  • Mr.Dave

    @Mike7P: That’s got to be one of the strangest things I’ve heard of, too bad we won’t know what happened.  Glad you got rid of the file — assuming it STAYS gone!
    And now for something a bit more on topic:
    I like the FileMenu tool described above, has a lot of good stuff built in but doesn’t handle many of the context menu items I’d like to manage.
    ShellExView does much more.  To those who are worried about the lack of an “Undo” feature, it’s not really needed.  Disabled items are kept in the list and labeled as such, so it’s quite easy to find and re-enable them. I also like that changes are effective immediately.  You can disable something and then, without closing ShellExView, go test it in Windows Explorer to see if you got the right one.  If not, switch back to ShellExView and your changed context menu item is still on screen where you left it, just re-enable it (as I recall, you can press F7 to disable and F8 to re-enable, or something like that, very easy!).  I wish it had a way to move less-used items into a sub-menu.

  • Mike7P

    Thanks for your reply Mr Dave. I tried re-booting several times but that didn’t help.I even booted into Safe Mode to see if I could get rid of it that way. That didn’t work either. Every time I tried to delete it, I just got the message that the file did not exist.
    I had just about come to the conclusion that I was stuck with it, so thought I would change the file icon in properties to something a bit less distracting on the desktop. I changed it to a standard Windows yellow folder. At least it didn’t stand out like a sore thumb.
    Then for some reason I thought I’d try hitting Delete again, Voilà! would you believe it, GONE at last.
    I’m turning off now just in case…….
    Thanks for your help anyway.

  • Mr.Dave

    @Mike7P: Have you tried rebooting?  I often have trouble deleting files or folders, especially after a new installation.  Something somewhere has a file “open”, and until it gives up the file can’t be deleted or renamed or moved.  Rebooting often closes the program that’s keeping the file open, and rebooting is often easier than trying to find out which program is causing the problem.
    If that doesn’t work, it’s possible your antivirus program has locked it from access, but not likely for a picture file.
    Let us know if any of this helps!

  • Mike7P

    <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:”Cambria Math”; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:1; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;} @font-face {font-family:Calibri; panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-520092929 1073786111 9 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} .MsoPapDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; line-height:115%;} @page WordSection1 {size:595.3pt 841.9pt; margin:72.0pt 72.0pt 72.0pt 72.0pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>

    /* Style Definitions */
    {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
    mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
    mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
    mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

    Hi Ashraf,
    I’ve followed you on GOTD and this site for quite some time now and find your reviews amongst the most reliable on the web.
    I’ve been meaning to tidy up my right click context menu for some time now and yesterday I decided to get on with it.
    I went to your site to read the instructions for ShellexView. Unfortunately the images on the page did not appear on my screen so I tried saving the page to my desktop to see if they would open there, but still no. I’m using Firefox so right clicked on the page and selected download images, to see if I could obtain them that way, but again no. I got the images for all the links and advertising buttons, but not the instruction images.
    I then deleted these “image files” from my desktop, with the exception of one file called “DCOMsoft_SWFProtector_Ad. (Notice there’s no file ext) For some reason I am unable to remove this file. Every time I try to delete it I get a message saying “Could not find this item. This is no longer located in C:\users\Mike\Desktop. Verify the item’s location and try again.
    Type File
    Size 0 bytes
    Date modified:28/08/2010 19:41” (always this date and time)
    I’ve tried everything I can think of to get rid of this from my desktop without success, including a system restore, but it just won’t go. I get a report saying the file doesn’t exist.
    Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get rid of this annoying file from my desktop?
    Many thanks

  • George Hale

    I have a problem with this site.  I can’t see the pictures !  I get the REX X in a box.  I right click and clike Show Picture ( or whatever the name is ) and nothing happens.

    I get this on many emails with lots of pictures.  Most always two or three show the RED X.  Most will open if I do the right click and show routine. A few will not. This time none opened!!

    Anyone know how to fix it ?? Windows XP Home SP 3 and IE 8.


  • ebony

    I totally agree and did I miss whether or not you can undo a mistake. Does not appear to be a “forgiving” piece of SW. FileMenu Tools looks pretty good. I would have to play around with it.

  • Josh

    Nice. Now… if only I knew what all those “types” mean. Without knowing that, I would not know which ones to disable.

  • … and there is also “FileMenu Tools” of LopeSoft (freeware) :

  • quickdraw

    Another good alternative that I’ve used is MMM Free by Hace. It also allows you to move and store all the context menu links you rarely access into a separate “rarely used” link, giving easy access to them on the rare occasion you would like to use them….

  • Lascannon

    Other than that, my first post was a big success! I’m so glad many people liked my mini-post! XD
    …and of coarse, special thanks to Ashraf for making it look nicer. :D

  • Lascannon

    @Ashraf: Srry, not run on. What I meant was, there was some comma slice errors and sentence fragments. Anyways, I think we should take that off or try to modify it a bit, ’cause I still don’t understand what your’e trying to say. :(
    I rather let you do it since your’e the pro here, and you are the only one who has the power to publish/edit posts.

  • Mr.Dave

    @chuck: Thanks for the suggestion…  I found “MenuShowDelay” in only two places:
    HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-19\Control Panel\Desktop
    HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-20\Control Panel\Desktop
    I changed value from 400 to 0 on both but see no noticeable difference in display time for the right-click context menu.
    Am I changing the right thing?  There were no entries for “menu show delay” or “menu-show-delay”.

  • Ashraf

    @Kev93: Looking forward to it =).

    What do you mean is the a in Ashraf capitalized? Are you talking about pronunciation or spelling. If spelling, yes it is Ashraf not ashraf.

  • Kev93

    Great first post!! I knew about this software but never really thought about it. I have found this info to be quite useful.

    I’ve almost sent in an article or two but didn’t think they were worth it. Seeing how something so simple could be so helpful, I might get the courage to send an article ashraf’s way.

    @ashraf: is the a in ashraf capitalized? I know it would if you told it to me in person, but I’m not sure here.

  • Ashraf

    @Lascannon: That isn’t a run on =O.

  • Lascannon

    Oh wow! My post is approved! Thanks Ashraf! But sir, you made a slight mistake while editing my post to make it “better”.
    Run on sentence/grammatical issues:

    “Now if that isn’t a vast improvement I don’t know what is, especially considering it only took me a few minutes to do.”

    Other than that, thanks for everything sir! LoL… “…ah who cares”. Ya, it’s a bit too long in my bio. XD Hehe…

    @OldElmerFudd: Oh right… I should have included that. “Warning: Your AV might detect it as a maliscious software, but don’t worry; it’s completely safe and won’t harm your computer!”

    …and another thing I missed is the type of laptop I’m using and all the specs of it… Well, it’s my first post, so I’ll do that next time. XD

  • chuck

    Less clutter is better,but you can set menu show delay to zero through reg edit and it will open very fast no matter how many entries.

  • OldElmerFudd

    I first ran into this little utility about 2-3 years ago, and liked it immediately. Very handy for those shell extensions that you almost never use. A look around Nir’s site is well worth the time – the guy writes nice little utilities that work very well.
    One thing – a deep scan on some anti-malware apps (like a-squared) will flag it as riskware, since it acts on the Explorer shell. There’s no risk in truth, don’t panic!

  • RePete

    Thank you very much…

  • Jyo

    Nicely written!! I enjoyed it mucho!