Windows

Add the Copy To and Move To folder commands to the Windows Explorer context menu

Greg Shultz shows you how to add the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to Windows Explorer's context menu.

After last week's blog, Move and Copy files the old tried-and-true way in Windows 7, was published, several folks asked about adding the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to the context menu and to Windows Explorer's toolbar, just like back in the Windows XP days. Fortunately, adding the commands to the context menu in Windows 7 is possible with a pretty straightforward registry edit. However, adding the commands to the toolbar in Windows Explorer isn't as easy as it was back then.

In Windows XP all you had to do was right-click the standard toolbar, select the Customize command, scroll through the Available Toolbar Buttons list, and select either the Move To or Copy To item. That's all there was to it.

Unfortunately, in Windows 7 and Vista before it, Microsoft's developers removed the ability to customize the Windows Explorer's toolbar. Instead, they decided to make the toolbar in Windows Explorer context sensitive. In other words, the buttons that appear on the toolbar depend on the type of folder or file that you have selected in Windows Explorer.

Since I have been using Windows 7, I have discovered that certain applications, such as Snagit, add toolbars to Windows Explorer. As such, I figured that there had to be a way to access and add items to the Windows Explorer toolbar. I was right, buried deep within the registry there is a key that you can edit to add buttons and commands to the toolbar.

As I was investigating this prospect, I discovered that while I can indeed add customized commands to the Windows Explorer toolbar, getting the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands on the toolbar is a bit trickier than I had envisioned. More specifically, the toolbar's context sensitive nature posed some issues that require more thorough investigation before this technique is ready for prime time. Therefore, I will continue working.

However, while we wait, let's take a look at adding the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to Windows Explorer's context menu.

In this edition of the Windows Vista and and Windows 7 Report, I'll show you how to add the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to Windows Explorer's context menu. I'll also take a closer look at the context sensitive features of the toolbar in Windows 7's version of Windows Explorer.

This blog post is also available in the PDF format in a TechRepublic Download.

Editing the registry

Editor's note: Please, create a confirmed backup of the Windows Registry file before you perform any edits.

To launch the Registry Editor, click the Start button, type Regedit in the Start Search box, and press [Enter]. When the UAC dialog box appears, respond appropriately. When the Registry Editor appears, navigate to the following folder:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers

When you get there, right-click on the ContextMenuHandlers folder and then select the New | Key command, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Right click the ContextMenuHandlers folder and select the New | Key command.

When the new value appears, type in the following code including the brackets:

{C2FBB630-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}

After you do, just press [Enter] and the Copy To Folder command will be added to the context menu.

Now, right click on the ContextMenuHandlers folder and select the New | Key command again. This time when the new value appears, type in the following code including the brackets:

{C2FBB631-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}

After you do, just press [Enter] and the Move To Folder command will be added to the context menu. When you're done, your ContextMenuHandlers folder will look like the one shown in Figure B. To complete the operation, close the Registry Editor.

Figure B

Simply adding these two keys to the ContextMenuHandlers folder is all that is needed to add the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to the context menu.

Or download the .REG files

If manually editing the registry isn't your piece of cake, you can download and install the Registry file (.reg). Once you download the MoveCopy.zip file, which contains two files:

  • MoveTo.txt
  • CopyTo.txt

Simply extract both files to a folder of your choice. Then, rename the extensions from txt to reg (i.e. CopyTo.txt to CopyTo.reg)

Now, right-click on the file and select Open With | Registry Editor.You'll encounter a UAC dialog box and will click Yes. When you do, you'll see a confirmation dialog box and will need to click Yes. You'll then see another confirmation dialog box and will need to click OK.

Windows Explorer's context sensitive toolbar

As I mentioned, the toolbar in Windows Explorer is context sensitive such that the buttons that appear on the toolbar depend on the type of folder or file that you have selected in Windows Explorer. Let's take a look

When you access the Libraries folder, the toolbar contains the New Library command allowing you to easily create a new Library.

Figure C

This makes it easy to create new Library.

When you access the Documents folder and select a document, the toolbar contains such commands as E-mail, Print, and Open, which allows you to easily open the file in any of the associated applications.

Figure D

The New Folder command also appears in the toolbar when you access any folder.

When you access the Sample Videos folder, the toolbar contains such commands as Play All and Play, which allows you to easily open the file in any of the associated applications.

Figure E

The Play menu allows you to easily open the video file in any of the associated applications.

When you access the Pictures folder, the toolbar contains such commands as Slide Show, Print, and Open, which allows you to easily open the file in any of the associated applications.

Figure F

In addition to opening a picture file, you can instantly launch a slideshow.

Don't forget Jump Lists

Working with context menus reminded me of the Jump List feature in Windows 7. So, don't forget to take advantage of Jump Lists. For more information on the Jump List feature, see the Take a Closer Look at Windows 7's Jump List Feature and the Take full advantage of Jump Lists in Windows 7 with these tips blog posts.

What's your take?

Do you use context menus in Windows 7? Do they improve efficiency? Will you add the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands to the context menu? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

23 comments
jamesyost
jamesyost

Where is the link to download this file?

CelticPrincess
CelticPrincess

You go to libraries... click the down arrow on the "organize"... select "layout" and click "menu bar"... and it will put the menu bar toolbar above the organize buttons bar and then you can click on edit and it has "move to" and "copy to" choices...

YAcomputerDave
YAcomputerDave

Worked great and will be a nice help. Every day I have to run programs with elevated accounts, is there a way to make "Run as different user" always visible without having to hold shift down?

CadWizard
CadWizard

Thanks Greg, It's been really hectic trying to learn Windows 7 and use it to get my work done as well. I haven't had any real time to explore the registry yet. Is there a chance of getting a heads up on the location of the toolbar settings you mentioned? I've wanted to tear that open and change it since day one.

denny1960
denny1960

Greg, Thanks for the tips...I'll definitely use them. I've always wanted a Delete command on the toolbar when I have a file or files selected. Is that possible?

cook.sandy
cook.sandy

The two registry keys are identical - the registry editor will not let me add the second instance (rightly so)

khransdell
khransdell

Thanks for the info Greg. I will share it and use it, no doubt. Khransdell@hotmail.com

pklemz
pklemz

Where can I find the movecopy.zip file?

GKap
GKap

Very useful feature...will def use it! Thks.

txpecmakr
txpecmakr

I have always liked and used the copy to and move to functions and will add them to windows 7. They should have included them there already.

brian
brian

I would be very interested to see an article detailing how to add a batch script to the context menu or toolbar, which passes selected files as arguments. (Maybe this exists and I have not seen it?) The toolbar trick may be a step in the right direction! I will have to experiment.

frankfmx
frankfmx

Really cool, been very helpful

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you miss the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder entries on the Windows 7 context menus? Do you plan to take advantage of Greg's Windows Registry Tweak to add them?

brian
brian

There's a Delete command in the right-click menu and a key on the keyboard, as well as an entry in the File menu.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...are different by one number: {C2FBB630-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13} {C2FBB631-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13} The 8th number is different.

jg
jg

Copy and Paste is too hit and miss for professionals. Too easy to paste into the wrong folder. Always use Copy / Move To. Thanks for getting them back. Also I want all my tools on the context menu. I don't want to have to fish about for them. Many Thanks.

Carla
Carla

Thanks very much. One of the reasons I had my Menus always on was to the get to these functions.....sometimes I don't trust myself with dragging and dropping a selected group. There used to be a registry tweak to modify the My Computer icon to use to the %computername% variable. Is there an identical tweak for Vista or W7 ?

denny1960
denny1960

I've always put a delete button on the toolbar in XP and I still find myself looking for it when I have files to delete. I'm just used to it.

cook.sandy
cook.sandy

Thanks - should have caught that

dmflanagan
dmflanagan

Hi Carla The same tweak for XP works for 7 Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 ;Changes My Computer to COMPUTERNAME [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}] @="My Computer" "LocalizedString"=hex(2):25,00,43,00,4f,00,4d,00,50,00,55,00,54,00,45,00,52,00,\ 4e,00,41,00,4d,00,45,00,25,00,00,00 "LocalizedString.old"=hex(2):40,00,25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,\ 52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,00,5c,00,73,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,\ 00,32,00,5c,00,53,00,48,00,45,00,4c,00,4c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,\ 6c,00,2c,00,2d,00,39,00,32,00,31,00,36,00,00,00

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