How To Add Any Application Shortcut To Windows Explorer’s Context Menu

Whether from the desktop or from the Windows Explorer, the context menu has always helped in speeding up the normal computing tasks. However, it has never given us the shortcuts to launch the frequently accessed programs. Now, a sharp geek might argue as to what’s the need of having the programs’ shortcuts in the context menu when we can directly have them on the desktop.

Well, in that case, consider a scenario where you are navigating Windows Explorer and want to open a file in a specific program other than the default one. Now, the only option left for you is to use the Start menu and launch the required program.

Add Any Application Shortcut To Windows Explorer’s Context Menu

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However, this is time consuming. Therefore, in this situation, isn’t it nice to have that program’s shortcut right in the context menu of Windows Explorer? Well, if this sounds interesting, go ahead and read the article so that you can make your life easier.

Adding an App Shortcut to the Explorer’s Context Menu via a Registry Tweak

Well, any change that you want to bring to the Windows system is possible via a registry tweak. With an easy registry change, you get the flexibility of adding any application to the Explorer’s as well as desktop’s context menu. Let’s now view the steps for adding a program shortcut for opening .gif files.

1. Open the Registry Editor by entering regedit in the Run dialog.

Application Shortcut To Windows Explorer’s Context Menu

2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.gif.

  Shortcut To Windows Explorer’s Context Menu

3. Spot the Default value on the right side. It should be giffile or OISgiffile.
4. Browse to the giffile\shell key.

  Add Any Application Shortcut To Windows Explorer’s Context Menu

5. Right-click shell and select New –> Key for creating a new key.
6. Give an appropriate name to the key. Remember, this name will be the option appearing in the context menu.
7. Right-click the newly created key.
8. Form a new sub-key with the name command.
9. Double-click the command’s key Default value and enter the path of the desired program’s .exe file as C:\\Program Files\\{Folder Name}\\{AppName}.exe %1 where %1 assigns the selected file as a parameter to the program. You will now see the program shortcut in the context menu of the Explorer.

Did you recognize that you can follow the same steps for any particular file type? Yes, you will find the relevant extension under the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT node of the registry editor.

Do you have a custom program that is fit for opening all file types? Well ,you can add even that program in the context menu of the Explorer.

To do so, open the Registry Editor by entering regedit in the Run dialog and navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell that has options being displayed when you right-click any kind of file. Now, repeat steps 5 to 8 of the above procedure. Finally, you will see the program shortcut in the context menu of the Explorer when you right-click any type of file.

Adding an App Shortcut to the Desktop’s Context Menu via a Registry Tweak

If you want to have a shortcut in the Desktop’s context menu, go to the shell key located under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground and follow the above steps onwards from 5. However, remove %1 in the path, as you only wish to launch the program, instead of passing a parameter to it.

Adding an App Shortcut to the Folder’s Context Menu via a Registry Tweak

Do you want to have a shortcut of a program when you right-click any directory or folder? Well, you can do so by navigating to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell key and repeating the steps from 5. Again here, remove %1 from the path. That’s it!



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