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How to Get Full Context Menus in Windows 11

Changing the context menu in Windows 11
(Image credit: Future)

By far the most annoying new "feature" of Windows 11 is the truncated context menu you get when right-clicking on anything. Where prior versions of Windows showed all of your options, including different programs that could open a file, the new menus are limited to just a handful of choices, and not necessarily the ones you want. 

For example, when I installed Notepad++, a popular text editor, and then right-clicked on a .txt file, I was not shown the program as an option for opening it. Even under the "Open with" submenu, only the Windows notepad appeared. Sure, you can see the full list of options if you click "Show more options," but that's an extra click you didn't have to make in Windows 10.

(Image credit: Future)

Perhaps Microsoft thinks this is a cleaner look and that users are just 'overwhelmed' with choices if they actually see the full context menu right away. But by dumbing down the context menu, Windows 11 wastes your time and insults your intelligence. Microsoft doesn't include an option in Settings to undo this travesty, but there is a registry hack that, at present, will give you full context menus in Windows 11 (h/t to Winaero).

How to Get Full Context Menus in Windows 11

1. Open regedit. The easiest way is to hit Windows + R, enter regedit and hit Enter.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Click Yes if you are prompted by User Account Control.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\CLSID\

(Image credit: Future)

4. Create a new registry key called {86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2} underneath CLSID. You can create keys by right-clicking in the right window pane and selecting New->Key then entering the correct name for the folder.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Create a new key called InprocServer32 underneath {86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}.

6. Open the (Default) key in InprocServer32 and set its value to blank, then click OK.

(Image credit: Future)

You will notice that the Data which was originally "(value not set)" is now shown as blank.

(Image credit: Future)

7. Close registry editor and reboot.

You will now see the classic-style context menu. If you want to revert back to the default, limited context menu, delete the InProc32 key.

More Windows 11 Tutorials:

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.