The right click context menu in Windows, in my opinion, is one of the best interface devices ever conceived.
The simple fact that you could have a different set of commands when right clicking a folder, a text file, or an MP3 (as examples) makes it that much easier to use PC’s and adds tremendously to the user experience.
This article is the first of several, intended as a gallery of interesting, free programs or functions that you could add to your Windows context menu. Each one of these will have a specific theme that binds all the functions together.
The theme in this article: right click context menu functions that relate to media files (i.e. video and audio files, excepting images which will have their own article at a future point). A total of nine programs are listed here. Enjoy!
Note: all of these picks display context menu entries with both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows. Programs that didn’t meet this were excluded.
1. Album Art Downloader XUI: batch-download missing album art
Right click ‘Browse for Album Art’ on an MP3 folder to search for album art in Album Art Downloader XUI. Note that the ‘add to explorer context menu’ option has to be checked in the installation process if you want it.
2. FileQuery: search the web for any file name
Ever wanted to look up information, cover art, reviews, or simply search Google for a movie or music file that was on your desktop? Filequery does precisely that.
It will try to find movie info in IMDB and audio file info from Discogs, and Google for everything else; but will let you customize the sources if you want. (For a full review of this software, go here).
3. MC-TVConverter: convert videos from the Windows context menu
If being able to convert videos on the fly right from Windows explorer sounds good to you, then check this one out.
MC-TVConverter is a free video conversion program that is quite competent and will allow you to set default profile to convert to right from the Windows context menu. (Note: you need to add the context menu option in the settings and set a default profile to use).
4. Oscar: download movie subtitles from the Windows context menu
Oscar is a free program that can download movie subtitles on right clicking the video file in question.
To enable the context menu entry, run the program as administrator, then go to preferences then associations, check the filetypes in the list, check “add search for subtitles to folder context menu”, and click the little tiny save icon in the bottom right.
This tool calculates hashtypes to match your files with correct subtitles, and downloads them from OpenSubtitles.org. It is not as full feature as another program mentioned on Freewaregenius (Sublight, which also offers Windows explorer right click integration), but unlike that one Oscar is 100% freeware and less of a hassle to use.
5. MP3Tag: manage your MP3 tags right from the context menu
MP3Tag is the best free tagging software around in my opinion. As someone who has worked with audio tags extensively one of the features that I have come to greatly appreciate is the ability to work with specific folders or a certain group of audio files on MP3Tag, by selecting the files or folders and right clicking the context menu.
6. FileToFolder: move files to folders of the same name in batch
This one is not specific to video or audio files, but I find that I mainly use FileToFolder to move downloaded video files to folders (the screenshots below will illustrate in a nutshell).
7. MediaInfoLite: display detailed file information for video and audio files
Want to know everything there is to know about your media files(s)?, including tag and codec information as well as everything else, then you need MediaInfoLite (see image on the right for the kind of output that you get).
Note that the context menu integration has to be selected in the installation process.
8. Tags 2 Folders: sort your audio files into folders
If you have a lot of unsorted audio files occupying a folder or multiple folders, and would like to organize these into something that makes more sense (based on their tag information), then Tag2Folders can help.
See an example before an after below:
To enable the context menu in Windows 7, run the program as administrator then go to ‘Extra’ and check ‘Register Tags 2 Folders shell extension’. My only criticism of this software is that the Tags2Folders context menu entry appears when you right click any folder, whether or not it contains audio files.
9. PlayTime: calculates the total playing time for a group of audio files (and creates playlists)
Right click on a folder with audio files in it or a group of audio files, then select ‘Add to PlayTime’, and a dialog will appear that lists all the audio files and calculates the total playing time in the bottom. Select a subset of files and it will calculate the playing time for those. Next, you can create a playlist from the same dialog.
This program is by the same author as Tags 2 Folders (#8 above), and the context menu is added in the same way; run the program as administrator then go to ‘Extra’ and check ‘Register shell extension’. The same criticism also applies here, that the context menu entry appears when you right click any folder or filetype, not just audio.
Arbitrary? Indeed: I know, it is somewhat arbitrary to group programs together based on their support for a Windows context menu (what if they supported drag and drop or a drop-target instead?), so this post may be for software fanatics like me (step up out in the open and declare yourselves!).
Audio converter: I am looking for a freeware AUDIO converter that integrates with the Windows context menu ever since dbPowerAmp went shareware many years ago. If you know of one let me know; I always found this to be extremely practical, and in fact never quite understood why some of my favorite freeware audio conversion apps (e.g. Freac, Freemake Audio Converter) didn’t support a context menu conversion option.
TDo you know of any media-file related context menu functions that I missed? Please share in the comments section below. OR if you know of cool context menu functions in general email me and let me know so that I might include them in future similar articles.