How to restore the classic Context Menu in Windows 11

Peeved by the fancy new context menu in Windows 11? Find the simplified context menu that has been in Windows for ages a better option? Well, you’re in luck, because you’ll learn how to get it back.

Sure, it involves getting your hands dirty with the registry.

Classic Context Menu

But once done, you will find that your trusty old context menu is restored in both File Explorer as well as the Desktop. The process involved creating a registry file with a few lines of text, and then adding it to the Windows Registry.

Let’s get to it:

Restore the classic Context Menu in Windows 11

To get the classic Context Menu back in both the File Explorer and Desktop on Windows 11, you will need to create a registry file with the .reg extension. This will automatically change the necessary settings in the Registry and restore the original context menu in the new OS.

  1. Create a new Text Document on the desktop.
  2. Name it Classic.
    Restore Classic Context Menu Tutorial
  3. Open this document and then copy and paste the following text to it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FeatureManagement\Overrides\4\586118283]
“EnabledState”=dword:00000001
“EnabledStateOptions”=dword:00000001
“Variant”=dword:00000000
“VariantPayload”=dword:00000000
“VariantPayloadKind”=dword:00000000

  1. Change the extension of this text file to .reg.
    Restore Classic Context Menu Tutorial
  2. If you are unable to change the extension, then make sure that the Hide extensions for known file types option is unchecked in Options > View.
  3. Double-click this file to merge this entry in the Windows Registry.
    Restore Classic Context Menu Tutorial
  4. If you get a warning message, click Yes.

Restart your computer, and you should have the classic context menu back in both the Desktop and File Explorer.

Do note that this trick only works in the original Windows 10 preview build released for Windows Insiders. Microsoft nuked this hack in future updates to the test version of the operating system. As of Windows 11 build 22000.71, it is not possible to get the old context menu back in the OS.

Conclusion

While there is no denying that the new context menu in Windows 11 is the future, the current implementation still lacks a lot of features that users are now accustomed to. Avoid the extra step needed to get to the classic context menu, via this simply registry hack.