Sunday, July 23, 2006

Wrong right clicks?

The Art of Right Clicking

While working on your computer, when you click or double click (by default, when click is refered, it represents the Left click button of Right Handed Mouse) on any item in Windows Explorer (or in Windows Desktop), you tell your Windows to perform some actions depending upon the place and position of your mouse cursor – such as open a document file or play a media file with associated applications. But when you right click (represents Right Handed Mouse’ Right click button) on any item in your desktop or in explorer window whether it is a file or a folder, you are given some options depending upon the place or item you have clicked. For example, if you click on an empty place on your desktop, the Windows assumes that you are trying to change the settings of your Windows desktop’s Display settings and accordingly, you are presented with menu related for changing your desktop settings. And if you click on any icon representing shortcut for program launcher, you will get different options. Upon right click (pointing to an item and then pressing your right handed mouse’ right click button), you are provided with valuable options for file operations through a selectable menu. These menus are called context menus. Windows has some nice, default context menus for every situation that you can effectively use in your everyday operation.

In addition to its built in shell menus, some of the Windows Context menus are displayed through Context menu handlers. The entire process completes in three steps- In first step, when you right click anywhere, explorer loads its own internal shell commands and context menu handlers, and queries each handler whether they have something to do with current action. In second step, Explorer then construct right context menu and displays its own internal shall menu defined for the particular situation as well as all positive answers from context menu handlers. In third and final step, when right context menu is further clicked to perform defined action, it transferred that instruction to context menu handlers to finish that action.

Windows also lets you to manage, to a little extent however, your context menu items. Context menus are indispensable tool for every advanced user and better still, you can customize these to suit and help your working environment. Walk down on some of the following steps and you will quickly find that you have become an expert in the fine art of right clicking.

Managing Context Menu through Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer lets you manage your mouse click results when you click or right click on a file. For example, if you install a graphic application and by default your picture file having jpg extension is associated with it or with certain lost program and when you click on it to open it, it tries to open that graphic application or searches the lost application. If it does not find lost application then your file fails to open. At other times you may want that jpg files should open for view in Internet Explorer or in picture viewer instead of default graphic manipulation programs. You can change theses default association as well as its associated right context menu. To change these settings, start Windows Explorer, Click on view (Win98) or Tools (WinXP) and choose ‘Folder Options…’ click on ‘File Types’ tab. You will see numerous entries there for all of your registered file types. These entries may run to a few hundred depending upon how many files having different file extension you have installed in your computer. Now select the particular file type you want to change. You may find multiple entries of a single associated application, but only one unique entry will be there for a particular kind of file. This is what represents the double click action of your mouse for that file type. That means, when you try to open this kind of file by clicking on it, it will open with that application. If you do not want that stupid application try to open your file, and then click on ‘Edit’ (Win98) or on ‘Advanced’ (WinXP) as the case may be. A new window will appear where you will see some entries under Actions: box. You will always find an entry ‘Open’ if the file is other than Media file, and ‘Play’ if the file is media file. This entry is corresponding to your left mouse click to open the file. You can edit this entry for your mouse clicks. Click on Open to select it and then click on ‘Edit’ to change its properties. A new child window will appear where you will be presented with following input boxes:

1 Action: Here, you need to specify the name of command you want to execute. For example, if it is media file, and you want it to open through Windows Media Player, type “Open with Windows Media Player”. You can assign shortcut key by placing character ‘&’ before any character, say …&Media…. Now character M for Media will appear underlined in menu and can be invoked by pressing Alt+M key. Note that other entries in same context menu does not have same shortcut key else they may conflict.

2 Application used to perform action: Here, specify the complete path of executable program name you want to run as described above. The entry should have proper syntax if multiple executable and DLL files are specified, and generally are enclosed in double quotes. However, in most cases, program path in quoted entry will suffice.

3 Use DDE This field is used for applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange. If you are not sure about your application whether it supports DDE or not, leave it as it is.

Similarly, you can add as many context menus as you wish by selecting “New” instead of “Edit” in Edit File Type dialogue. But, for every file types, you have to go through these tedious, time consuming steps. Thanks, there always exists better, alternate ways in computing field to perform each and every task. You can use some third party tools to manage your context menu items more effectively and, certainly more easily. You can choose one that you think is appropriate for your need among the utilities described below.

Context Magic

Context Magic, as the name suggests, is the tool for managing your right click context menus. Context Magic comes in two flavors- free and professional. While its full version has more advanced features, the Context Magic’s free version has capability to fulfill an average computer user’s need. Upon installation, it automatically creates a context menu named ‘Context Magic’ wherein you will find numerous sub menus and sub-sub menus for variety of file and folder operations. For example, upon right click on a document type file, you are given more than half a dozen option to open that file with any one of these- Notepad, Wordpad, Paint, MediaPlayer, InternetExplorer, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and if you did not find your preferred application, there is a menu called Choose program, which is equivalent with Windows ‘Open With’ menu. There are some more interesting but useful right context menu as well; such as ‘Email selected files’ and ‘Copy move selected file to’ with many sub-sub menu to choose from. In all, Context magic is must for users who frequently copy/paste/move files in different directories and folders. Try this free tool from http://www.ContextMagic.com .

Context Edit

Context Edit gives you full control to manage your Context menu items for each and every file types your computer has registered. You can enable, disable or permanently remove any of the right context menus. It also lets you change default action of double clicking behavior of selected file type. With this tool you can re-associate applications to particular file types or repair the broken file types associations. Similarly, you can add many more context menus for any file type. Context Edit gives you more control above Windows explorer, for example, without permanently deleting a particular menu, you can disable that. Context Edit comes as a free tool and does not need installation. Simply run the executable ContextEdit.exe file, and it will scan your computer for all registered file types and displays it in unique window. To view, add, remove or modify context menu item for a particular file type, browse in the Left pan and select that file type. You will see the currently defined menu items in upper right pan of window, with a checkbox against each. Uncheck the item you want to disable, click on it and click Delete tab to delete it, select and click on edit to edit currently defined item and click on New tab, fill up the desired information to add new Context menu item. Once set, when you exit this application, it will refresh registry and you will be ready to use new, customized right context menu. This tool is particularly great for removing orphaned, unwanted right context menu.

CCM Wizard

CCM Wizard adds some valuable context menu for your file and folder operations, with facility to customize them. In functionality, it is similar to the tool Context Magic described above. It adds its own CCM Wizard context menu containing various useful sub menus depending upon file types. It has one very useful, indispensable menu ‘Select (the same extension)’ through which you can select all files of same types in a folder having hundreds of files with different extensions. Get this tool from http://dntsoft.com .

12 Ghosts ShellX

This is among many useful tools from SuperGee Power tools for windows. 12Ghosts ShellX context menu shell extension adds some useful context menus. For example, it displays and copy file properties like File / Folder Size, date of creation / modifying date etc., right there in context menu. It can also calculate the size of all files in the directory and displays its size in context menu. Other useful context menus you get with this utility are- save directory list in a file, copy selected path in clipboard for use in other application etc. With 12Ghosts ShellX, you can hide, remove or disable unused Windows or other application’s entries. 12Ghosts ShellX also lets you set the position of menu across the display. For example, if you want certain menu item should be displayed in top most place of context menu, you can do so through 12Ghosts ShellX menu settings window. Get the evaluation version of 12Ghosts ShellX from http://www.12ghosts.com

rjhExtensions

This is a free utility, which adds valuable, indispensable commands in your Windows Explorer Context menu. It extends the functionality of your context menu by adding some useful, hard to find commands. You can completely and permanently delete files or folders through its File shredder context menu. Similarly, you can secure your file and folder with a single right click with this utility. Simply right click on any file or folder and select ‘Encrypt File…’ you will be prompted for a password. Give a password and hit OK, and your files/folders are encrypted with powerful Blowfish encryption algorithm. To decrypt these, right click on them, select ‘Decrypt File…’ give the password that you have given at the time of encrypting the file. It will be again ready for use. Get this handy tool that tightly and transparently integrates to your Windows from:- http://www.rjhsoftware.com

It appears now that you have learned the art of right clicking… so happy and prosperous right clicking to you!

Screenshot Descriptions:

  1. RightClick01 WindowsXP’s default right click menu on the desktop which has too few options to live with.
  2. RightClick01 Context menu that appears upon right clicking at Start button of WindowsXP. Some applications adds their context menu items upon their installation to facilitate easy reach to the application’s functionality. For example, Winamp, the most popular media player on Windows platform, adds ‘Play in Winamp’ and ‘Enque in Winamp’ context menu that appear when you right click on a media file.
  3. RightClick01 Winzip, the most popular application for file compression also adds its own context menu that appears in nearly all right context menu on file and folder, help you in managing your compressed files effortlessly. In fact, the popularity of Winzip directly related to its powerful, easy to handle context menus.
  4. RightClick01 The WindowsXP’s context menu after installation of rjhExtensions that adds handy tools to your context menu like Shred files (deletes files permanently that is impossible to recover in any situation), Duplicate files, Print/Save Directory list etc.
  5. RightClick01 You can Encrypt / Decrypt file with a password through context menu courtesy rjhExtensions utility.
  6. RightClick01 CCM Wizard- the right context menu customization tool adds many useful context menus by default, which can be further configured.
  7. RightClick01 CCM Wizard’s friendly configuration window lets you manage your right context menu easily. Simply select the file type in left pan and select from numerous useful , pre-defined and user commands in right pan to assign these commands to appear in context menu for that file type.
  8. RightClick01 You can copy your files and folders in many ways- such as only name (and not the entire file) or the file path etc. courtesy CCM Wizard’s context menu.
  9. RightClick01 With CCM Wizard, you can save certain files in different format and extension without opening them in their native applications- through its right context menu.
  10. RightClick01 Context Edit helps you in modifying you context menu and configuring right context menu thus become an easy affair.
  11. RightClick01 Context Edit displays registry key’s for specified context menu handlers that may be hard to find manually.
  12. RightClick01 You can add, change, or delete Context menu for your registered file types through Windows Explorer, however, to a certain extent.
  13. RightClick01 12Ghosts ShellX, the context menu editor help you manage and arrange your context menus so that they appear friendlier to you.
  14. RightClick01 12Ghosts ShellX has some built in, useful tool that appear in its context sub menu.
  15. RightClick01 CCM Wizard in action- With all its friendly tool in its context sub menu.
  16. RightClick01 Context Magic adds multiple options in context menu that help you to choose the application among many listed to open your file.
  17. RightClick01 rjhExtension – a right context menu enhancement utility that adds many useful tool in your context menu – such as File Shredder / File Encryption / File Decryption etc.

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