Microsoft is taking steps to improve Windows 11’s new right-click menu

Windows 11 context menu update

The context menu or right-click menu that appears when you
click on a shortcut or icon has been redesigned with a modern
look on Windows 11. The very idea of the modern context menu is
to provide you with fewer options that are always useful and
applicable to the shortcut or icon you’ve right-clicked on.

Microsoft officials previously said the company wants to
address the performance issues, the exceptionally long and
poorly organized context menu of Windows 10 with a redesigned
menu in Windows 11 version 21H2.

The Windows context menu is an important part of File Explorer.
Many commands or actions are included in the Explorer process
itself, which can result in performance and other issues when
the menu is bloated with unwanted options. To reduce bloatware,
Microsoft designed a new command bar to house common features
like copy and cut.

Windows 11 context menu design

The context menu’s important commands are now placed in a row
and they make things better for users. Other options including
“Open” and “Open with” are grouped together to reduce bloat.
The context menu is now much more compact and modern, but there
are two problems with the new approach: laggy/slow performance
and missing commands.

Windows 11’s new context menu is expected to become a better
alternative to the classic menu, but its WinUI and Fluent
Design makeover could be super slow at times. Luckily,
Microsoft is aware of reliability issues and most of the bugs
will be fixed in a future release of Windows 11.

For example, Microsoft is testing a new change that would
improve File Explorer folder navigation performance. Likewise,
right-click within the File Explorer window should no longer
lead to an explorer.exe crash.

Windows 11 context menu’s missing features

The second problem with the modern context menu is that you
need to rely on the “show more options” or classic menu to
access advanced commands. For example, if you want to refresh
the contents of a folder in Explorer, you need to click on
“show more options” to access the “Refresh” button.

While the refresh button remains missing,
Windows 11 Build 22518 has updated the context menu with
support for new top-level commands. Based on the feedback,
Microsoft has made the following changes:

  • You can now right-click on font files and .inf files to
    install them.
  • You can now right-click on .cer files to install the
    certificate.
  • You can now access “Map network drive” and “Disconnect
    network drive” by right-clicking on “This PC” in Explorer.
  • The “Disconnect” option is back when you right-click on
    network drives.

It’s worth noting that the classic context menu is here to stay
and no commands will be removed for now. That’s because most
apps have yet to be updated to support Windows 11’s new API for
app extensions.

The updated context menu is currently available to testers in
the Dev Channel and it will be rolled out to everyone as part
of Windows 11’s fall 2022 update.

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