Useful functions for your right click menu [Part 1: media files]

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!

right click media  flourish6

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

album-art-downloader-shell-integrationRight 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

Filequery ScreenshotEver 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

MC-TVConverter context menu ScreenshotIf 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).

I’ve seen a couple of other programs that convert videos from the context menu, but they both do not support 64 bit Windows (e.g. this one and this one).


4. Oscar: download movie subtitles from the Windows context menu

Oscar context menu screenshotOscar 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.

MP3Tag context menu screenshotAfter using this function for so long I actually cannot imagine working with my audio files without it. (Note: the context menu option has to be enabled during the installation process).


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).

FileToFolder-Screenshot3Note: once installed, you need to go into the program interface to enable the context menu.


7. MediaInfoLite: display detailed file information for video and audio files

MediaInfo Lite Context menu
MediaInfo lite screenshotWant 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.

Tag2Folders context menuTags2Folders screenshot

See an example before an after below:

Tags2Folders before and afterTo 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)

Playtime context menuPlaytime screenshot

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.



That’s it!

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.


 
 
 
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  • Mushaf

    I use FormatFactory [www.formatoz.com] for all of my conversion needs (audio & video). It’s got context menu support too.

  • Oaken

    LameXP (freeware) provides good quality audio conversion straight from the context menu, and offers some great features including tone adjustment via the advanced options. It’s well supported and was updated only recently. I’ve been using the portable version for some time now (Windows 7 Pro x64) and the only minor thing I’d change is the ability to turn off the small animated splash/start screen. Highly recommended.

    http://lamexp.sourceforge.net/

  • Targ

    Wow, what timing. I’ve just come back to Windows (2 XP boxes), after a time away. I have spent the last ten days pulling my hair out trying to find a right-click cascading-menu navigate/launch/copy/move/shortcut utility. Something along the lines of the old BeOS way of doing it.

    I did find DeskSoft’s FastFolders but it’s limited, kind of clunky in places, and not very configurable. If I’m gonna pay for something it would have to be nearly perfect for what I’d want. I hope you cover this area too, at least if there is that much out there. I can’t seem to find anything.

    As for you comment of “arbitrary”, I would say not at all. Most Windows users seem to be content with the stock, boring, endless point-click, point-click, point-click… interface. But a lot of us have also used other OS’s and discovered easier ways. To me personally, right-clicking right on a folder or file icon to do something with/to it, is the most natural, intuitive, and fastest way to get a job done.

    Oh yeah, and once again, great article. I only discovered Freeware Genius about a month ago, but already find myself coming here nearly as much as all other download/review sites combined. Thanks for the great work.

  • Andreone

    You can add any program to the context menu. Look at how to add an entry to open a command prompt menu on folders in Windows: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/add-the-command-prompt-to-the-windows-explorer-right-click-menu/
    Following the same logic, you can add entries for your programs on drives, folders, every files or only files of a given type.

  • Doug A

    I like Oxelon converter – works great from context menu and is free and does both audio and video, but I don’t know if it supports 64 bit. http://www.oxelon.com/media_converter.html

  • Samer

    @ Doug A: I actually link to Oxelon up in the article; unfortunately it does not support 64 bit. I wrote the developers about 6 months ago or so but didn’t hear back.

    @ Mushaf: I know Format Factory has wide appeal, but I never cared for it for some reason. I was not aware that it supported context menu entries. I Will have to take another look at it.

    @ Oaken: awesome! Thanks for the tip!

    @ Targ: I am glad you like this post and the site in general. Thanks for reading!

    @ Andreone: thanks for the link.

    http://www.freewaregenius.com/useful-functions-for-your-right-click-menu-part-1-media-files/

  • Djordje

    Oxelon media converter, integrates in context menu, and supports many audio and video formats. You should try it, it’s excelent.

    http://www.oxelon.com/media_converter.html

    • Samer

      @ Djordje: I link to Oxelon in the article, and I also mentioned it above in a comment. It does not work with 64 bit Windows, which is why I didn’t list it.

  • anonerd

    not to demean these fine ideas but filemenu tools is free and does anything
    http://www.lopesoft.com/en/fmtools/info.html

  • David Ohana

    Portitle brings you movie or TV info, reviews, trailers, subtitles for the media file under right click. It let you chose the information source from a long list of sites like IMDB, Wikipedia, YouTube, OpenSubtitles, etc.

    http://www.portitle.com