As Chris recently described, Windows has its fair share of annoyances. By far, one of those annoyances that bugs me the most is the file right-click context menu. It’s a beast that seems to change and morph at will. It sometimes offers what you need, but most of the time it doesn’t.
The right-click menu is also probably the one area of Windows that has the potential to offer a lot of productivity. Instead of hunting around for commands, or searching through the start menu for where that application was installed, the right-click gives you lightning-fast access to everything in seconds. If you think about it, other than things like keyboard shortcuts and phrase-expanding, the right-click context menu is really the time-saving tool of choice.
You can change your right-click context menu by editing the registry, or using tools that will help you tweak it, but in all honesty, there is nothing as useful or as effective to do so than FileMenu Tools.
The Annoying Right-Click Context Menu
I don’t know why Microsoft made the right-click context so complicated to manipulate, or why it seems so fluid and every-changing. Depending on the file type you click it, the context menu changes (which of course is the point of “context”), but there are many times when the context that Windows assumes is not always the context that you want.
Before you download and install FileMenu Tools, your right-click context menu many look something like this.
As you can see, for an HTML file, it gives me the option to open with the browsers I have installed, or even Notepad or Word – but what about all of the other apps I have installed that can open an HTML file? I’ve installed a few WYSIWYG page editors that I’d like to use, and a list of other applications that can open HTML files, so this list feels a bit limited. The same can be said for the “Send to” menu and the other items on the context menu.
These can be edited, but it’s not something that just any user can do in a few simple clicks – for that, you’ll want to install FileMenu Tools. It’s a free app, but I should point out that since it’s free, it does attempt to install a few advertising-style apps. Keep a close eye and make sure to click “Skip” and not “Next“!
Another window to watch for is the “Special Offer” step. Don’t use “Quick” – it’ll install the Delta toolbar in your browser. Instead click on “Advanced” and uncheck all of the boxes (unless you want the toolbar of course).
Once you’re done, FileMenu Tools will be installed and active on your system. Now, you’re ready to start customizing your FileMenu items at will. What this tool does is gives you the ability to modify the “Send To” menu, and also build up a customized menu that will come under “FileMenu Tools” in the context menu. This customized area gives you you’re on personal space in the context menu to place anything you want.
To customize the Send To menu list, just click on the “Send To” Menu tab.
Then you can add new items to the list and tie it to any executable on your computer. All you need to do is browse to the exe file and assign that file as the target.
The ability to customize the Send To menu is cool, but the real power of this tool is that it adds the FileMenu Tools option to the right-click context menu. This is your own personal playground.
Not only can you add any program, command, batch job or anything else you want to this menu, but the FileTools Menu comes preloaded with a whole bunch of really useful tools, not the least of which is the “Shred Files” tool that’ll securely delete the file that you’ve right-clicked. You can choose from four deletion methods to ensure that once you delete that file, it’ll never be recovered again.
Other tools available that come along with the FileMenu Tools install are things like duplicating files, altering the creation, last write and last access time stamps of the file, splitting the file, creating a symbolic link for the file, and more.
FileMenu Tools is one utility that I’ve installed and kept on my system for the long-haul, because it actually removed one of the worst annoyances I’ve had with Windows for a long time. I use the FileMenu Tools menu more than any other area of the right-click context menu, and I’m sure you will too.
Have you ever used FileMenu Tools? Does the right-click context menu annoy you too? Share your own solutions and tips on creative ways to use FileMenu Tools in the comments area below.
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