How to Add New Program Shortcuts and Options to Windows 10’s Context Menus

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A context menu is a small menu that opens when you right-click the desktop, folder, software and document icons. Windows 10 has a desktop context menu that includes a few shortcuts. Right-clicking shortcut icons in Windows 10 also open menus with extra options for them. You can edit Win 10’s context menus with and without third-party software.

Adding New Shortcuts to the Windows 10 Context Menu Without Extra Software

If you prefer to add new program and document shortcuts to Windows 10’s context menu without third-party software, you can do that with the Registry Editor. To open that editor, press the Win key + R to launch Run and then input regedit in the text box. That should open the editor’s window in the snapshots below.

Now browse to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shell key on the left of the Registry Editor’s window. Here you can add new keys that will expand the desktop context menu options.

To set up new key for a software shortcut, select shell on the left and right-click an empty space on the right to open a context menu. Then click New > Key on the menu and enter the program’s title as the key title. For example, in the shot below the context menu shortcut will open Google Chrome; so the key is titled Chrome.

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Next you need to add another key. Right-click the new key you’ve just set up, select New > Key as before. Then input command for the key’s title.

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Now select command on the left, and double-click (Default) on the right to open an Edit String window shown below. There you can enter the path, or location, of the software the context menu shortcut will open in the Value data text box. Note that this must be the full path, which you can find by right-clicking the software icon to open its properties window. The path is in the Target text box, and you can copy and paste that into the Edit String window with the Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V hotkeys.

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When you’ve entered the path there, press OK to close the Edit String window. Close the Registry Editor window and right-click the Windows 10 desktop to open its context menu in the snapshot directly below. It will now include the software shortcut you added in the registry, and you can open the program from that menu.

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You can add website pages to the context menu with the Registry Editor much the same, but you’ll need to have shortcuts for them in Windows first. So for that you should add a page shortcut to the desktop with your browser. Then right-click the website’s desktop shortcut, select Properties and copy and paste the Target path into the Value data text box on the Edit String window. You can then delete the website shortcut to Recycle Bin or move it off the desktop.

Adding New Shortcuts and Options to the Windows 10 Context Menus with Software

It’s probably quicker to customize the context menus in Windows 10 with software. There are a number of third-party packages that you can add new options to the context menus with. One of those is Right-click Extender V2, which you can add install from this page. Press the Download File button on that page to save a compressed Right-click Extender folder. Press Extract All in File Explorer, choose a path for the extracted folder and then click Right-click Extender v 2 from there to open the window below.

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You can add new options to the desktop, disk, file/folder and My Computer icon context menus with Extender 2. Note that you can’t add software and document shortcuts to those context menus with this package. The shortcuts you can add to the menus with this program are system tools, such as Disk Cleanup.

For example, to add a ShutDown option to the Windows 10 desktop context menu, click Desktop and the Shutdown checkbox. Press the Apply button to confirm. Then you should right-click the desktop to open a context menu that will now include a PC Shutdown option.

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You can edit more than just the desktop context menu with Extender 2. Select File/Folder to select new options for the file and folder context menus. Select Administrator Command Prompt from there and press the Apply button to add that option to folder context menus as shown below. That option will open the folder in Command Prompt.

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One thing to note is that My Computer is This PC in Windows 10. Consequently, selecting the options for My Computer in Extender v2 doesn’t add them to the This PC context menu.

Context Menu Editor is a program that you can add software and document shortcuts to the Windows 10 context menus with. Press the Download File button on this page to save its compressed folder. Extract that compressed folder with File Explorer as before, and click Context Menu 1.1 to open the window shown below. Note you’ll need to right-click Context Menu 1.1 and select Run as Administrator to run it

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Add software and website shortcuts to the desktop context menu from the App tab. To add a program, press the Browse button beside the Path text box to select it. Click the Set button to confirm selection, and then open the desktop’s context menu. It will include the software package you selected to add with Context Menu Editor.

Below that you can also add a site hyperlink to context menu. Enter the Uniform Resource Locator for it in the URL text box. Then input a title in the Text box and press the Set button. Your desktop context menu will include the website shortcut.

Context Menu Editor also has a handy Remove tab. Select that tab to open a list of context menu items you can delete as below. Click a shortcut there and press Delete to remove it from the context menu.

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So with those software packages and the Registry Editor edits outlined above, you can now add more shortcuts and options to Windows 10’s context menus. By adding extra shortcuts to the context menus, you can then remove them from the desktop, Start menu and taskbar.

Posted by Matthew on March 25, 2016

2 thoughts on “How to Add New Program Shortcuts and Options to Windows 10’s Context Menus”


November 8, 2016 at 12:53 am

The last tool mentioned does not work with win 10 a/u.



February 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

These context menu additions seem only to be present from the desktop. How does one add them for particular file types, wherever they may happen to be?


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