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Windows 7: Context menu cleanup time!

03 Nov 2009   #11

Windows 7
Registry/File Duplication

First off-thanks! Well-done research. You can't imagine (or perhaps, you can) how much this is going to help me. I'm an application packager-so knowing how everything is stored is crucial for my job. This will be a bookmarked page!

On to some clarity. The registry was, (and is still), crucial to performance. Back in Windows 3.1 days, the registry provided the mechanism by which OLE and DDL were possible - it was originally intended only for such registrations.

Then applications started having a zillion config settings, and storing them in INI files was problematic. Performance could be an issue with slow drives of the time. Security was nearly impossible - you could only set who could edit the file, not who could change specific settings. Plus you'd have to store an ini file for each user's specific settings.

Then there's the issue of re-entrance...if one person had an INI open for editing, this could, at a minimum, prevent another user from saving their settings, or worse, even launch the app!

Lots of issues.

The registry uses a binary tree database...something that's been around a long time (Novell's 3.x servers used it as the network tree database-the equivalent of a Domain). The architecture was known for good performance (much faster to do a binary search of the registry in RAM, than to sift through an ASCII file on disk.). Being file-centric is a significant performance bottleneck for UNIX/Linux. Fortunately, those OS's compensate by being lighter in general.

Since most apps conform to the MS spec of using the reg, there's little reason to change it, and for a single workstation it's fine. But, this is part of why AD uses SQL - the registry is simply too slow and cumbersome for more than a certain number of objects (if I recall, the old Domain database could handle up to 40,000 objects, but only if tweaked).

Unfortunately, the big problem is from app vendors (MS included) who store too many settings in too many places - there's no way to define an application view of the registry database - so you could see one apps settings. Some of this is also a legacy issue, where apps share some settings. It's possible to have a more-rigidly designed spec, but MS doesn't want that-the current setup makes it nearly impossible to simply copy an app from one machine to another, providing some level of anti-piracy through obfuscation.

So it's now a legacy system, that's not worth changing. The cure is far worse than the "disease".

As for duplication of files-that also suffers a similar issue. It's only because MS has chosen a broad scope of supportability (you can theoretically run ANY Win32 app on x64), including apps that have poorly-designed dependencies on previously existing 32-bit apps, like Notepad. (Note that some of those "poorly-designed" apps are MS's own!) The current 64/32 model is a stepping stone. We'll soon see an OS that is pure 64 with no legacy support...that will show up on the server side first. I predict sometime before 2020 (basically 2 OS cycles). thoughts for a Tuesday morning. Coffee's done, time to shower n go to work. Thanks for listening.

Thanks again for finding these settings!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2009   #12

Vista x86; W7 x64


This took some work to find all of these keys. Thanks for posting the information. I think my biggest complaint about Windows is how they give it too many "shortcuts" which impede work flow.

Now if someone can just figure out how to save folder view settings so they open where I want, and how I want. I could really care less if they snap to the side of the screen. I just want some of them to appear the same place I put them the last time I moved them.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Nov 2009   #13

Windows 7 Ultimate (x86)

Thank you for this thread. The first thing I tried to do with 7 was remove the multitude of redundancy. Loving 7 more and more because of this thread and indeed this site.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Jan 2010   #14

Windows 7 Enterprise

Thanks for the tips! My Win7 install is looking even cleaner thanks to the registry keys posted here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2010   #15

Dual Boot of WinXP Pro SP3 & Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Lepton thanks for this tip mate:

Reduce menu popup pause
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jul 2011   #16

Micro$oft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Clean Up?

I'd rather organise than clean up... i like my long menu.

[edit] okay, maybe remove a couple.. but i will add more to replace them. the context menu is my favorite menu.

Attached Thumbnails
Context menu cleanup time!-context-menu.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2012   #17

Windows Ultimate 64bit


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lepton View Post
More to add. I noticed those icons still showed up in 32-bit apps in File/Open dialog boxes. This is because there is a Windows-on-Windows layer duplicates everything (even the registry) for 32 and 64-bit. This also means you have either 4 or 6 copies of every DLL/EXE in C:\Windows. I have 6 copies of Notepad.exe... Efficient!

So just add these lines to your .reg file:

; Delete icons from the explorer left pane (including 32-bit on 64-bit OS):
; Homegroup icon
; Libraries
; Shared documents
; Recycle bin
; Network
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2013   #18

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit


Bookmarked, many many thanks. Very useful stuff.

I understand that some entries (in HKCR\*\shell\) are expandable, easily managed via ShellMenuView

there are other entries that are exhibiting the behaviour (or that you'd like to exhibit the extendable functionality, i.e. hold shift to display via the fully-extended context menu) but do not have an Extended 'String Value', and do not exist in that Shell folder.

Copy as path (useful!) I think it defaults to 'extended', but I don't know how it achieves this?

It has a 'ContextMenuOptIn' String Value, is that what I need?

I think I'd like to 'extend' stuff like restore previous verison, share with (maybe remove that) WinRar etc.

Any ideas?

Back to the analysis. thanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2014   #19

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

anyone thinking about doing some tidying, I highly recommend regscanner (nirsoft).

I can advanced search (ie "contextmenuhandlers\sharing"), select multiple items... export them, and delete (multiple).

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2014   #20

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

remove "share with" {context} with one operation
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Context menu cleanup time!

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