The mouse. A wonder of human-computer interactivity, but is it on the way out? Will touchscreens and flickable interfaces at our fingertips make the mouse obsolete? And by extension, is the Windows’ right click context menu, a marvel of user friendliness, also on the wane?
For now, it doesn’t matter one way or another, because I know that many people are, like myself, in love with Windows’ right click context menu.
For this post I present to you TEN Windows right-click extensions that can add some very interesting functionality at the press of the right mouse button.
These are all FREE programs that are a little unusual; they have been selected purposely for not being the same old thing you’ve seen many times before. Enjoy.
The programs are: FileExile, PasteAsFile, CopyContents, PinToStartMenu, AttrMenu, FindTarget, WOW64 Menu, QRM Plus, Context Menu Editor for Win7/Vista, and FileToFolder.
1. FileExile: deletes stubborn files and folders that don’t want to be deleted
Files and folders that refuse to be deleted never fail to annoy me; FileExile is a welcome cure. Simply right click the offending object and be rid of it with FileExile.
But note that we are not sure as to how effective this is at doing what it sets out to do, so please share your experience in the comments section below.
2. PasteAsFile: convert the contents of your clipboard to text or image files
Clip some text or an image then right click and paste it, as a file, into the clipboard. It will ask you for a name and file extension, which is immensely useful. You can save as TXT, RTF, DOC, HTML, CSS, and PHP and other file formats, while for image files PasteAsFile supports JPG, PCX, PNG, BMP, TGA, GIF and TIF).
3. CopyContents: right click a text or image file to copy its contents to the clipboard
This one is, in a sense, the opposite of ‘PasteAsFile’ above, and is in fact by the same developer. It lets you right click a text file or an image file and copy the contents to the clipboard. This can be quite handy if you keep bits of code in distinct text files or if you save notes or templates in separate files and want quick access to them (or if you work with and/or manipulate images.
4. PinToStartMenu: right click a FOLDER or Control Panel object to pin it to the ‘Start menu’
Self explanatory: found a folder that you want to pin to the start menu? ‘PinToStartMenu’ will let you simply right click on it and instantly pin it to the start menu.
But here’s some good news: since you probably do not want to pin many folders to the start menu, the PinToStartMenu context menu entry only appears when you press SHIFT in conjunction with the right mousebutton.
5. AttrMenu: right click to change file or folder attributes
Self explanatory. Right click to change the attributes of any file or folder (e,g, read only, hidden, and a couple of others).
Note on installation: extract from archive then right click ‘install’ on the INF file to install. To uninstall, right click ‘uninstall’ on the same file.
6. Find Target: for shortcuts, lets you quickly jump to the original file or folder
This one is simply brilliant. How many times have you gone into the ‘properties’ dialog of a shortcut in order to find the original that the shortcut points to? I know I’ve done it numerous times, and this little context menu extension has now found itself a permanent home on my system for sure.
All you need to do is select a shortcut and right click ‘Find Target’ in order to be instantly transported to the original file or folder.
7. WOW64 Menu: view the 32 bit Windows context menu in a 64 bit environment
Most every PC that ships these days comes with a 64 bit OS. We are not used to Windows software coming in 32bit and 64bit flavors, which, importantly, provide context menu entries for both 32 bit and 64 bit environments.
But what to do if the software that you use and like only supports right click context menu entries for 32 bit, and displays nothing in the 64 bit context menu? What you need, in this case, is WOW64 Menu, a simple 64 bit right click command that displays the 32 bit context menu and allows you to use it (see the screenshots above).
8. QRM Plus: create and manage restore points from the Windows context menu
I will admit that creating and managing restore points from the Windows context menu never occurred to me, but thankfully, it occurred to the people behind QRM plus.
Extract QRM plus into an appropriate place, then install the context menu entry. Right clicking ‘QRM Plus’ will create a restore point, and right clicking ‘QRM Plus Manager’ will let you manage your restore points (delete/restore/etc.)
9. Context Menu Editor for Win 7/Vista: add shortcuts to programs or URLs in Windows’ right click menu
This program lets you insert any program shortcut or URL into the Windows context menu. What I like about it: it lets you insert items that appear only when SHIFT is pressed with the right mouse button (check the ‘extended’ button’ to do this). What I think can be improved: I wish it would automatically grab the icons from programs and download the favicon from the items being added, instead of making the user specify an icon on their hard drive.
10. FileToFolder: create folders from files via right click
I mentioned this relatively unknown gem twice before on this site, and will do so again, because it is great. FileToFolder simply packs files into folders. Very simple, but for anyone who may be organizing files (esp. media files) in Explorer, this can be such a great timesaver. I highly recommend it.
Do you know of any similar utilities that I can use for a second installment? Let me know in the comments section.