Despite concerted efforts to be the most flexible operating system possible, Microsoft Windows 10 still has a few quirks that some of us, particularly power users, would like to change. Annoyingly, correcting many of these quirks by adding new and improved features often requires an edit of the Windows Registry file and more than a little esoteric knowledge.
One of the most common power-user additions made via Windows Registry tweak is the inserting of “Move to” and the “Copy to” into the Windows 10 File Explorer context menu. Some version of this tweak has been around since the days of Windows XP, but Microsoft obstinately decided not to add it as the default OS functionality. Consequently, we need to do it ourselves.
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This how-to tutorial shows you how to add the “Move to” and the “Copy to” functions to the File Explorer context menu by editing the Windows 10 Registry file.
Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.
Adding Move to and Copy to
This article is an update to Add Copy To and Move To to Windows Explorer with this registry hack, published in 2008. Adding these functions to the context menu can save a good bit of time, especially if moving or copying files is something you do as a normal part of your workday.
Figure A shows you the default File Explorer context menu in Windows 10. There is a “Send to” command item on the menu, but not the “Copy to” and “Move to” items we would like.
To add that functionality, start the Registry Editor application by typing “regedit” into the Cortana search box and then clicking or tapping the proper item in the search results. Once in the app (Figure B), navigate to this key:
Right-click the ContextMenuHandlers folder and select New | Key. Give your new key the name “Copy to”. Double-click the new “Copy to” key’s Default setting in the right navigation pane and change its data value to this character string, including the curly brackets (Figure C):
Right-click the ContextMenuHandlers folder again and select New | Key. Give your new key the name “Move to”. Double-click the new “Move to” key’s Default setting in the right navigation pane and change its data value to this character string, including the curly brackets (Figure D):
When the process is complete, exit the Registry editor by clicking File | Exit.
Now, when you right-click a file in the Windows 10 File Explorer (Figure E) you will see entries in the context menu for “Copy to” and “Move to” that you can use to more easily manage files.
By adding these functions directly to the File Explorer context menu, you can avoid the multiple mouse-clicks and keyboard shortcuts most of us use to move or copy files from one folder to another folder. All it takes is a few simple edits of the Windows 10 Registry file.