How to fix slow context menu in Windows 10's File Explorer

How to fix slow context menu in Windows 10's File Explorer

Windows 10’s context menu can slow down over time. Many third-party programs often install context menu extensions and poorly programmed options that can slow things down. Here’s how to fix context menu that opens slowly, freezes or hangs when you right-click.

Use ShellExView to view third-party extensions

You can directly remove context menu items from the Windows registry. However, it’s quite a time-consuming process and the article will show you how to quickly fix the problem instead.

With that in mind, the article recommends ShellExView, one of the great free NirSoft utilities. It also runs on Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows. Download and launch ShellExView to get started.

You will see a long list of Windows shell extensions. However, a lot of them are created by Microsoft and included with Windows. Those will not slow down your system. To hide all Microsoft extensions, click Options> Hide All Microsoft Extensions .

Click Options> Hide All Microsoft Extensions

You should now see a more manageable list of third-party shell extensions from the programs you have installed. For example, on this Windows 10 PC, you can see extensions from programs like 7-Zip, Notepad ++, NVIDIA graphics drivers, Dropbox, Google Drive, Malwarebytes, and Paint.NET.

List of 3rd party extensions

Disable extensions in ShellExView to fix the problem

You will want to find out which shell extension is causing the problem. This involves disabling one or more shell extensions, restarting Explorer and then seeing if your problem gets resolved.

For example, you can do this in a number of ways:

– Disable disabling all third-party extensions and re-add them one by one until the issue appears.

Disable each shell extension until the problem is fixed.

– Disable extensions in groups. For example, you can disable half of the extensions at the same time. If your problem is solved, you know that one of the disabled extensions is the cause of the problem and you can start from there. This is the fastest method.

Here’s how to disable extensions:

First, select the extensions you want to disable. You can click one by one to select, press Ctrl + A or click Edit> Select All to select all, press and hold the Shift key while clicking to select a range, or press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking to choose many extensions.

To disable one or more selected shell extensions, right-click them and choose Disable Selected Items, or click File> Disable Selected Items . (To re-enable them later, select Enable Selected Items here.

Disable extensions

Disabled shell extensions will show Yes in the Disabled column .

Disabled shell extensions will show Yes in the Disabled column

Changes will not take effect until you restart Windows Explorer. You should see an option for this in ShellExView ‘s Options menu, but you shouldn’t do that. It causes Explorer and the Windows taskbar to reload over and over again until you sign out.

Instead, you should use Task Manager. To open Task Manager, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc or right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.

Open Task Manager

Click Windows Explorer under Apps on the Processes tab . (If you don’t see this tab, click More Details. ) Then click the Restart button in the lower right corner of the Task Manager window .

Click the Restart button

Explorer will restart. Now, try right-clicking on a folder, file or your desktop – anything sluggish before. If it is still slow, you need to try disabling other shell extensions. If it’s faster than before, then you have disabled a shell extension that is slowing it down.

Repeat until you solve the problem

Repeat this process to enable and disable extensions and determine what is causing your problem. By examining the context menus after each time you make a change (remember to restart Explorer first), you can determine which is causing the problem.

Turn off any extensions you don’t want to use. You can always reopen ShellExView and re-enable them in the future.

For the PC in the example, the culprit that slows down folder context menus is the Google Drive GDContextMenu Class extension. Obviously this is a known issue. However, with the extension disabled in ShellExView, the PC’s context menus returned to normal speed.

The Google Drive GDContextMenu Class is the “culprit” in this example

And, if you want even more speed, you can disable animations in Windows 10. Context menus pop up quickly in no time after you do that. It’s just one of the many ways to speed up your Windows 10 PC.