Software

Adding Notepad and WordPad to the right-click menu

TechRepublic member Rick Ziminski, MCSE, submitted this tip for customizing the right-click or "context" menu in Windows.


I’m always looking for good tips that can help you or your end users save time, so I have a standing invitation to TechRepublic members to send me your favorite tips. Recently TechRepublic member, Rick Ziminski, MCSE, sent in one of his favorite tips and said he hoped that “you and your readers find this tip useful.” Here’s the scoop.
Let me say right up front that this tip involves editing the Registry. If you’re the least bit unsure of how to edit the Registry, I recommend that you seek help before you try to use this technique.
For those of you who edit a lot of text files
Here’s what Rick had to say: “I found making the following change most helpful. I constantly have to check configuration files, properties files, and even edit HTML pages. To do this quickly, I have added Notepad and WordPad to my right-click options. Then, any time I right-click on any file, I can open that file using either application.”

Adding Notepad to the right-click menu for every file
This tip will set Notepad as the default application for any extensions that are not associated with another application. It will also add Notepad to the right-click (context) menu for every file. This feature lets you open any file in Notepad without navigating to Send To and lets you double-click a file that doesn't have an association established, such as Config.sys, to open it in Notepad.

If the file is too big for Notepad, you will get a prompt to open the file in WordPad instead. Here are the steps:
  1. Use the Start menu’s Run option to launch Regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*. (This should be the very first subtree.)
  3. A key called "shellex" should already be here. Add a new key called "Shell" at the same tree level as "shellex."
  4. Under the "Shell" key, create another key called "Notepad."
  5. Create another key under the "Notepad" key called "Command."
  6. You'll see a string value named Default when you highlight the "Command" key. Double-click Default and enter "NOTEPAD %1" (without the quotation marks). Click OK.
  7. Exit Regedit and test it out.

Note: The full path to the correct Registry key is:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell\Notepad\Command

Figure A shows what you should see after you’ve successfully added this new key. The most important part is making sure to create the Shell key at the same level as shellex.

Figure A
Here’s what our Registry Editor screen looked like after we confirmed the change to our context menu.


Adding WordPad to the right-click file
As I mentioned, the first set of changes will set Notepad as the default application for any extensions that are not associated with another application. It will also add Notepad to the right-click menu for every file. If the file is too big for Notepad, you will get a prompt to open the file in WordPad instead. Here’s how to add WordPad to the right-click menu.
  1. Use the Start menu’s Run option to launch Regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*. (This should be the very first subtree.)
  3. A key called "shellex" should already be here. Add a new key called "Shell" at the same tree level as "shellex."
  4. Under the "Shell" key, create another key called "WordPad."
  5. Create another key under the "WordPad" key called "Command."
  6. You'll see a string value named Default when you highlight the "Command" key. Double-click Default and enter "C:\Program Files\Accessories\WORDPAD.EXE %1". (Note: Don’t enter the quotes, and make sure to use the appropriate path to the file wordpad.exe.) Click OK.
  7. Exit Regedit and test it out.

Note: The full path to the correct Registry key is:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell\Wordpad\Command
To comment on this tip, or to share your own favorite technique for customizing Windows, please post a comment below or drop us a note.
I’m always looking for good tips that can help you or your end users save time, so I have a standing invitation to TechRepublic members to send me your favorite tips. Recently TechRepublic member, Rick Ziminski, MCSE, sent in one of his favorite tips and said he hoped that “you and your readers find this tip useful.” Here’s the scoop.
Let me say right up front that this tip involves editing the Registry. If you’re the least bit unsure of how to edit the Registry, I recommend that you seek help before you try to use this technique.
For those of you who edit a lot of text files
Here’s what Rick had to say: “I found making the following change most helpful. I constantly have to check configuration files, properties files, and even edit HTML pages. To do this quickly, I have added Notepad and WordPad to my right-click options. Then, any time I right-click on any file, I can open that file using either application.”

Adding Notepad to the right-click menu for every file
This tip will set Notepad as the default application for any extensions that are not associated with another application. It will also add Notepad to the right-click (context) menu for every file. This feature lets you open any file in Notepad without navigating to Send To and lets you double-click a file that doesn't have an association established, such as Config.sys, to open it in Notepad.

If the file is too big for Notepad, you will get a prompt to open the file in WordPad instead. Here are the steps:
  1. Use the Start menu’s Run option to launch Regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*. (This should be the very first subtree.)
  3. A key called "shellex" should already be here. Add a new key called "Shell" at the same tree level as "shellex."
  4. Under the "Shell" key, create another key called "Notepad."
  5. Create another key under the "Notepad" key called "Command."
  6. You'll see a string value named Default when you highlight the "Command" key. Double-click Default and enter "NOTEPAD %1" (without the quotation marks). Click OK.
  7. Exit Regedit and test it out.

Note: The full path to the correct Registry key is:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell\Notepad\Command

Figure A shows what you should see after you’ve successfully added this new key. The most important part is making sure to create the Shell key at the same level as shellex.

Figure A
Here’s what our Registry Editor screen looked like after we confirmed the change to our context menu.


Adding WordPad to the right-click file
As I mentioned, the first set of changes will set Notepad as the default application for any extensions that are not associated with another application. It will also add Notepad to the right-click menu for every file. If the file is too big for Notepad, you will get a prompt to open the file in WordPad instead. Here’s how to add WordPad to the right-click menu.
  1. Use the Start menu’s Run option to launch Regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*. (This should be the very first subtree.)
  3. A key called "shellex" should already be here. Add a new key called "Shell" at the same tree level as "shellex."
  4. Under the "Shell" key, create another key called "WordPad."
  5. Create another key under the "WordPad" key called "Command."
  6. You'll see a string value named Default when you highlight the "Command" key. Double-click Default and enter "C:\Program Files\Accessories\WORDPAD.EXE %1". (Note: Don’t enter the quotes, and make sure to use the appropriate path to the file wordpad.exe.) Click OK.
  7. Exit Regedit and test it out.

Note: The full path to the correct Registry key is:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell\Wordpad\Command
To comment on this tip, or to share your own favorite technique for customizing Windows, please post a comment below or drop us a note.

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