How to Restore Windows XP Context Menu Default Settings


The Windows XP context menu is the menu that pops up when you right-click on a file or folder in the file browser. The context menu offers many options—even from a fresh installation of Windows—but can also be customized. Users often add more programs or functions to their context menu, only to find that they don't use the recent addition to the context menu, and that the context menu is now too cluttered. Restoring the context menu to the Windows XP defaults is an easy process that will take about five minutes.

  • Turn on the PC and wait for Windows to start.

  • Click on the “Start” button in the lower left-hand corner of your desktop and click “Run.”

  • Type “regedit” in the “Run” dialogue box that pops up, which will start the “Registry Editor” application.

  • Click “File,” then “Export” in the “Registry Editor” window. In the “Export Registry File” window, ensure that the “All” option is selected in the “Export Range” section, then type in a file name, take note of the location it will be saving the file to, and click “Save.” This will create a backup of your current registry, in case there are any problems resulting from your edits to the Windows Registry.

  • Click on the “+” next to the entry titled “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT” in the left pane, then click the “+” next to the “*” entry. Then click the “+” next to “shellex,” and “ContextMenuHandlers.”

  • View the contents of the “ContextMenuHandlers” folder, and right click on any subfolders for menu options that have been added to your context menu. After right-clicking, select “Delete.”

  • Repeat this process for each item you wish to delete from the context menu. Once all folders associated with installed software are deleted, your context menu will be back to the Windows default.

Tips & Warnings

  • Restore the backup of the registry by clicking the “Start” button, then clicking “Run.” in the dialogue box that pops up, type “regedit” and click “OK.” Once Regedit starts, click “File,” then “Import,” and navigate to the registry backup file and select it, then click “OK.”
  • Do not modify the entry for “{09799AFB-AD67-11d1-ABCD-00C04FC30936}.”

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  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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