Adding Context Options for All File Types in Windows


I often times have the need to open a file and see what’s really inside it, not open the file in what it’s associated with in Windows.  Sometimes I might want to see the plain text value (ie. open the file in Notepad or some other text editor) or view it in a hex editor.  Either way, adding your favorite editor, or any other program you might want to open the file in is very easy.


Tools (this is for the impatient — stuff to download):

  • Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, etc.
  • Access to your computer’s registry (ie. you can modify/edit it via regedit or regedt32)
    Note: Use these instructions at your own risk — if you don’t know what you’re doing, get someone who does!


Open regedit (Start->Run->Type regedit, press Enter).


Expand *

If the key shell doesn’t exist:

Right-click on *, click New, click Key.  Name the key shell (just type in shell, then press enter).

Right-click on the shell key that you just created, click New, click Key.  Name the key open.  Double-click the (Default) name and type in the string value that you’d like to see for the new command you’re creating (ie. Open in Notepad). Click the Ok button.

Right-click on the open key that we created in the previous step.  Click — that’s right, New!  You know the next step – click Key.  Name the new key command.  Double-click the (Default) string name and enter the command that you’d like it to execute when a user selects this new right-click context menu option.  For notepad, enter notepad.exe “%1″.  The %1 stands for the filename that’s selected (that the user’s right-clicked on).  Enclose the %1 in quotes to keep the long file names / paths.

That’s it!  Now you can close out the registry editor and right-click on a file in Windows and you should see the new option that you just created.  Keep in mind that if the program you want to execute isn’t included in your system’s path, you’ll need to enter the full program path (if the path includes long file names / paths, you may need to surround the entire command in quotes).  A program’s typically in your path if you can enter that program’s executable from any directory/drive on your computer and still have it execute.

Related posts:

  1. Windows 2000/2003 Directory Services Audit Logging Management Utility Summary: There’s a way to get very detailed event logging...
  2. HOWTO dual-boot between Linux and Windows using GRUB When I first started out with Linux, I wasn’t aware...
  3. HOWTO install Windows XP Professional 64-bit (x64) on 32-bit Linux MY SPECS 2 x AMD Opteron 240 (1.4GHz) – see...
  4. NT/2000 Event Log Archiver & Viewing System OBSELENCE NOTE: This was written well over a year ago,...
  5. NT Authentication DLL OBSELENCE NOTE: This was written well over a year ago,...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply