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How to fix context window in Windows is slow to open

The context menu on Windows is an important functional UI element that is used to perform common, and frequent tasks. Everything from creating a new folder, creating a shortcut, copy/pasting files, extracting files, or using a context option added by apps is done via the context menu.

Context window slow

Context window in Windows is slow to open

The context window or the context menu in Windows can get quite busy. Apps are free to add themselves to the menu and the busier it gets, the slower it gets as well. If the context window is slow to open on your Windows system, try the fixes below.

Remove unused items from the context menu

If there are items in the context menu that you do not use e.g., those added by third-party apps, you can remove them. The apps that added them will not be removed from your system and their functionality will not be impacted.

  1. Download and run a free app called ShellExView from NirSoft
  2. The app will populate a list of items that appear in the context menu.
  3. Go to Options>Hide all Microsoft Extensions to hide system options.

  1. You will see a list of context menu items added by third-party apps.
  2. Select items that you do not use, and click the red button to disable them.
  3. Repeat for all items that you do not use.
  4. Restart the system and the context menu should speed up.

Remove all items from context menu

The context menu can slow down if an app that was poorly developed has added an item to it. The only way to fix this is to find which app might be causing the problem. It’s a long process but it will yeild results.

  1. Download and run ShellExView from NirSoft.
  2. Run the app and go to Options>Hide all Microsoft Extensions.
  3. Select all third-party extensions and disable them.
  4. Restart the system.
  5. The context menu will now open much more quickly.
  6. Enable one third-party item again using ShellExView and then check if the context menu slows down.
  7. Repeat for all the items that you use.
  8. When you find the menu has slowed down, disable the last item you enabled. It’s likely what’s slowing the context menu down.


The context menu can get quite big, especially for files and folders. Windows doesn’t offer a quick or easy way to audit it. A user is not asked if they want to allow an app to add items to the context menu either. It is considered part and parcel of installing an app but the menu will eventually slow down at some point. Try to trim it whenever you can and keep unwanted items out.

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