Clean Up Explorer's Context Menu

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When MLStrand56 right-clicks a file in Windows Explorer, the resulting menu is too big for comfort, "due to various programs adding their own items to the menu." The Windows forum offers a solution.

The right-click context menu is one of Windows' best innovations (although Borland invented that feature years before Microsoft). But it can get out of hand. When I right-click a file, I get 25 options. Six of those are submenus filled with more options.

You can reduce that overhead by careful editing of the Registry, but there's an easier way: Use CCleaner, a free utility that's handy to keep around for a variety of reasons.

You can choose from two functionally identical versions of CCleaner: The regular version requires installation. CCleaner Portable--the version you put on a flash drive so you can help fix friends' computers--does not.

The context-menu cleaning feature was added to CCleaner fairly recently, so if you already have the program, you may need to update it before doing the following:

  1. Click Tools on CCleaner's left pane.
  2. Click Startup on the pane next to that.
  3. Click the Context Menu tab.
  4. Select your unwanted options.
  5. Click the Disable button.

My thanks to Flashorn for suggesting CCleaner in the original forum discussion. Although I've used this program for years, I didn't know about this feature until I read his post.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter, or subscribe to the Answer Line newsletter, e-mailed weekly.

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