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How to identify context menu items on Windows 10

Applications add additional items to the context menu when they’re installed. The options are usually easy to identify because a good application will include its own app icon or its name with the context menu item. If you have Dropbox installed, for example, you will see an option to upload files to Dropbox in your context menu when you right-click a file. Not all apps follow this practice. If you’re suddenly seeing a new option in your context menu and want to know where it came from, you can use NirSoft’s ShellMenuView to identify context menu items.

You can also manually edit the context menu to add items e.g., New Photoshop File to it. This trick will help you identify is the context menu item even if it’s one you added yourself.

Identify context menu items

First, you need to find the full context menu item name. In the screenshot below, the option I want to identify is the ‘Convert to Xtreme’ option which showed up out of the blue. It only appears for ZIP files which I access quite often so I’d have noticed it if it were there before. Some context menu items appear only for certain files, or under certain circumstances e.g., right-clicking on the desktop. ShellMenuView will be able to identify all of them.

Download and run ShellMenuView. The first column lists context menu items in alphabetical order. This is where the context menu item name will be used. Scroll through the list until you find the item you want to identify.

After you find it, look for the ‘Filename’ and ‘Command’ columns. Both will point you to the app that has added the item. You will see lots of other columns but you can hide the ones that aren’t relevant which is what I’ve done for the screenshot.

The Filename and the Command columns will point you to the app that is adding the option. You can then visit the folder or use the app’s EXE file’s name to search for it in Windows search. Once you’ve identified the app, it’s up to you to uninstall it.

If you use the app but can do without the added option in the context menu, you can use this same app to hide it. Right-click the option and select ‘Disable Selected Item’ from the context menu of the app. You can also choose the ‘Open in RegEdit’ and open the key in the registry that contains the value for this context menu item. If you delete the key, the option will be removed from the context menu. It is possible that if you update the app that added the context menu item, the option will return.

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