Add apps to right-click menu - Windows

Tutorial should apply to Windows Vista/7/10

Please be careful when editing the registry.  Create a backup in case you accidentally delete/modify the wrong value — it can damage your Windows OS.

When you right-click an file, such as a .txt file, Windows will give you a few options you can perform with the file – this is called the Context Menu.  I currently have Notepad++ as my default text file editor so all my text files open with Notepad++.  However, sometimes I prefer to open them with my new, favorite editor “Sublime Text.” It is an awesome text editor, especially for coding.  Currently, right-clicking a .txt file does not give me the option to open it with Sublime Text.  (of course I could always make Sublime Text my default text editor, however this tutorial is about showing you how to add any application to the right-click context menu).

Currently if I right-click my .txt file I get the following menu:


We can add any application to the “context-menu” shown above by tweaking the registry.  So first open the registry:

  • Press [WIN]+R to display the “Run” window.
  • Type “regedit” in the Run window (without quotes), and hit [Enter] to launch the registry.

Remember to be very careful when working with the registry, and make a backup in case you mess something up.  

After opening the registry navigate to:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell    (if admin user)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*\shell      (if you are a normal user)


Right-click the “shell” folder on the left pane of your Registry Editor and select New >> Key.  This should create a new folder/key under the “shell” folder.  Give the new folder/key any name you like.  I chose “Sublime Text” — This is the name that will show up on your Windows context menu.


After renaming the new folder/key (“Sublime Text” in my case), right-click and select New >> Key to create another new folder/key.  This folder must be named “command“:

Now, in the right pane of the Registry Editor, double-click the “(Default)” value.  This should allow you to set the value.  For the value, you must type in the location of the application with ” %1″ at the end:

Value data: “C:\Program Files\Sublime Text 3\sublime_text.exe %1”

To have the Sublime Text icon appear next to the name in the context menu of a file, highlight “Sublime Text” folder we just created on the left pane, and on the right pane right-click and select New >> Expandable String Value. Name this new value “Icon” and point it to our directory: “C:\Program Files\Sublime Text 3\sublime_text.exe, 0”. Leave out the quotations and don’t forget the “,0” at the end.

This value pass the file path and name of the selected file to your custom program. Now when I right-click the same .txt file, I have the option to open it with “Sublime Text”:


Congratulations, that’s it to add an application to the context menu.  To change other context menus, please use the Registry Editor locations listed below.

Other Context menu changes:

To edit the context-menu that pops up when you right-click on folders (not files):

    Admin account:
  1. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\[new key] 
  2. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shell\[new key]
    Normal user account:
  1. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\directory\shell\[new key] 
  2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\directory\Background\shell\[new key] 


Remember, you can also change the Icon that appears next to your context-menu entry by adding the “icon” Expandable String Value to the newly created Key.

As you can see, setting up the context-menu for files and folders can increase your speed and efficiency. It’s always a good idea to take some time out and customize your OS because it will save you tremendous amounts of time. You can also add items to your right-click “Send-to” context menu.

For further easy customization please see:
Add application to Right-click Send-to context menu
Access GodMode in Windows

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