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How to add Settings to the desktop context menu on Windows 10

You can pin individual settings from the Settings app to the Start menu and that is one of the easiest ways to access a setting you change often. More importantly, you can access the Start menu from anywhere, even if you’re using an app in full screen, it will still open. If you need to access Settings from the desktop, you can make a small edit to the Windows registry and add Settings to the desktop context menu.

This trick shows you how you can add every single major group of settings from the Settings app to the desktop context menu however, it can be modified so that only the group of settings that you need to access often are added to it. This will keep your context menu clutter free.

Settings to desktop context menu

Open a notepad file and paste the following in it if you want to add every single group of settings from the Settings app to the desktop context menu. Save it with the name Settings and the REG file extension.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings]
"Position"="Middle"
"Icon"="SystemSettingsBroker.exe"
"SubCommands"=""

; Settings home
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\01subcmd]
"Icon"="SystemSettingsBroker.exe"
"MUIVerb"="Settings"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\01subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:"

; System
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\02subcmd]
"CommandFlags"=dword:00000020
"MUIVerb"="System"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\02subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:display"

; Devices
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\03subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Devices"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\03subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:bluetooth"

; Network & Internet
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\04subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Network && Internet"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\04subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:network"

; Personalization
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\05subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Personalization"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\05subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:personalization"

; Apps
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\06subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Apps"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\06subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:appsfeatures"

; Accounts
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\07subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Accounts"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\07subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:yourinfo"

; Time & language
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\08subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Time && language"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\08subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:dateandtime"

; Gaming
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\09subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Gaming"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\09subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:gaming-gamebar"

; Ease of Access
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\10subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Ease of Access"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\10subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:easeofaccess-narrator"

; Cortana
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\11subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Cortana"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\11subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:cortana"

; Privacy
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\12subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Privacy"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\12subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:privacy"

; Update & security
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\13subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Update && security"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\13subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:windowsupdate"

; Mixed Reality
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\14subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Mixed Reality"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\14subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:holographic"

Once you’ve saved the file, right-click it, and select Merge from the context menu (you’ll need admin rights to do this). Once the file has been merged, right-click anywhere on your desktop and you’ll see a Settings option in the context menu. The sub-menu will list all the groups of settings that it has.

To add select groups of settings to the context menu, you need to edit the above registry file. You need to keep everything between “Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00” and “@=”explorer ms-settings:”” regardless of which group you want to add.

Once you’ve added that, it’s time to pick and choose the group of settings that will show up in the context menu. If you look at the registry file, you will notice that every single group name is listed and preceded by a semicolon.

Example

;Privacy

The lines that follow it until the next group is named is what you need in order to add that particular setting to the context menu. For example, if you wanted to add the Privacy group of settings to the context menu, you’d enter the following;

; Privacy
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\12subcmd]
"MUIVerb"="Privacy"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\DesktopBackground\Shell\Settings\shell\12subcmd\command]
@="explorer ms-settings:privacy"

If you ever want to remove the options from the context menu, you need to go to the following location and delete the Settings key. The key will have the same name that you gave the registry file when you created it so if you named it something else, the key will have that name instead.

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