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GBIC >> Software Reviews >> Context Menus (Shell Extension)
Context Menus (Shell Extensions)      (Oct 2008)

Context Menus are a very convenient way to perform tasks on selected files and/or folder. Many applications add their own context menus, so this review is for applications whose only purpose is to add a context menu selection and which have no stand alone user interfaces.

Pre-Review Results
Whatever your tastes in shell extensions, you'll want a way to know what you have and to manage their display. The following products are shell extension managers which will give you control over all your extensions.

Review Results
No one product offers all the best context menu options so this review recommendation includes multiple shell extensions. All of these are freeware.

  • File Touch
    Touch Now (part of multiple shell extension download)

  • Grab Paths
    Copies the pathname of selected files/folders to the clipboard.

  • Image Resizer
    Resizes selected image(s) to present or custom file sizes.

  • JustZipIt
    Creates a folder, unzips files into the folder, then opens the folder

  • Open Command Windows Here
    Opens a command prompt at the selected folder.

  • SendToFTP
    Sends selected files to a server via FTP.

  • Recase
    Sets case of selected file/folder names.

  • RegSrvEx
    Registers DLL/OCX files.

  • XnView
    Image preview/properties, conversion, copy to clipboard, resizing, FTP, set as wallpaper

More Review Results
Even though the recommendations above are excellent products, you might not want to mess with installing individual extensions. There are a few companies which provide a version of most, if not all, of the functions above in a single installation package. Some are are free, some are not. But all are convenient to install/uninstall.

  1. FileMenuTools $0 (free)
    Convert to MPEG, Copy/Move, Del Temp Files, Run w/Parameters, DOS Prompt, Copy Name, Copy Path, Copy Content, Change Time, Split/Join File, Register/Unregister DLL/OCX, Find/Replace, Advanced Renamer, Change Icon, Advanced Delete, Folder Synchronizer, Delete Locked File, Delete Withou Recycle Bin, Create New Folder

  2. Open++
    DOS prompt, Copy Path, Run with paramenters, Register/Unregister DLL, Open/Close CD Drive, Set File Time, Favorite Apps

  3. Property Editor $25
    Folder/subfolder size, context menu management, NTFS file system tweaks, icon customization, date/time change, copy filenames to clipboard, DOS prompt,

  4. rjhExtensions
    Shred, duplicate, encrypt, print/save directory list, rename files, path to clipboard, DOS prompt, Organizer

  5. Shell Tools $0 (free)
    Copy filename, filenote, show hidden files, fontloader, CopyURL, RegisterServer

  6. ShellToysXP $33
    Add to Send To, Add to Templates, Archive Contents, Batch Rename, Browser Media, Cascade on Start Menu, Change Date & Time, Change Extension, Choose Program, DOS Prompt, Convert Audio Files, Convert IMages, Copy/Move to Folder, Copy Path, Create Virtual Drive, Delete on Reboot, Duplicate File, Encrypt/Decrypt, Explore Rooted, Extended Delete, Extended S&R, Find Folder, Folder Color, Folder Contents, Folder Size, GoTo Folder, Image Size, Junction Point Target, Mask By Type, MD5/CRC32, Media Info, New Folder, New From Template, Open in Notepad, Play Media Album, Portfolio, Preview, Print Folder Listing, Recent Files, Run With Parameters, Select by Type, Set Attributes, Shortcut Target, Shred File, Shut Down, Split File, Synchronize Folder, Up One Level, View/Extract Icons, Zip Files, Zip Folder

  7. Windows Shell Extensions
    Command Window Here, Date Renamer, File Case, File Touch, Grab Path, Read Only, Remove Reboot, Empty Directory Remover, Run Program

Background
Windows Explorer is pre-loaded with a wide variety of context menus. To access a context menu you simply selected one or more files or folders and then right click with the mouse. The menus displayed changes according to the type(s) of files selected.

Selecting one of the context menus typically results in a popup dialog offering selections or to give status until the task is complete. Popup dialog windows are typically very miminal.

Context Menu Features
There is no common features set with shell extensions. Generally, you simply select one or more files/folders and press the right mouse button to run the shell extension. Some shell extensions open a dialog window while others do not.

Candidate Programs
These are the programs included in this review.

Freeware
  1. Audio Shell
    Edit ID3 metadata tags
  2. BackgroundCMD
    DOS prompt at selected folder or within an opened folder
  3. ContextMagic
    Send to email, copy/move to folder, open file with application, open favorite folder, DOS prompt
  4. Copy Path/Name
    Copies pathname or just filename to clipboard
  5. Date Edit
    Change created, modified, accessed date of a file
  6. Decode
    Decode internet mail attachments
  7. Diff-ext
    File comparison
  8. Extension Changer
    Change file extension of file(s)
  9. FileFilter
    Limit file selection to specified filter
  10. HashTab
    Displays the MD5, SHA1 hashes and CRC-32.
  11. HobComment XP
    Add comment column in Explorer
  12. Image Resizer
    Resizes selected image(s) to present or custom file sizes.
  13. InfoTag Magic
    Tooltip for multimedia files
  14. IrfanView
    Conversion, thumbnails, slideshow, image properties
  15. JustZipIt
    Creates a folder, unzips files into the folder, then opens the folder
  16. Mince
    Encrypt/decrypts file(s)
  17. New Folder
    Creates new folder in current open folder
  18. NirExt
    Folder properties, Advanced Run, Create Shortcut+
  19. Open Command Window Here
    Opens DOS window at selected folder
  20. Open SubFolder
    Open a folder located inside a selected folder
  21. Open Target Folder
    Opens the target folder location of a shortcut
  22. Path Copy
    Copy path of selected file to clipboard (multiple formats)
  23. PathCopyEx
    Send path of selected file/folder to clipboard (single file only)
  24. QuickTool
    Create customized context menu
  25. RdocEx
    Add executed programs to "My Recent Documents"
  26. Recase
    Sets case of selected file/folder names.
  27. RegSvrEx
    Registers DLLs/OCXs (used instead of regsvr32.exe)
  28. SendToFTP
    Sends selected files to a server via FTP.
  29. ShellExtension
    Image converion, print, and thumbnail preview
  30. SwShell
    Run specific applications, search within files, set file date/attributes
  31. Thumbview
    Image thumbnails and tooltips for file types not natively supported by Explorer.
  32. XnView
    Image preview/properties, conversion, copy to clipboard, resizing, FTP, set as wallpaper
Commercial
  1. Context Thumbview $20
    Preview image file. Also convert, email, copy image to clipboard
  2. Explorer Extensions$15
    Split/concatenate Files, Encode/Decode, Touch Date
  3. FastFolderAccess $20
    Fast access to folder in Save/Open dialogs, Explorer, Start button. Also displays image thumbnail.
  4. FastFolders $15
    Context "Explorer" to access files/folders. Also adds total size column to Explorer
  5. Favorite Shortcuts $15
    Open favorite shortcuts, Quick launch
  6. File Grabber $20
    Save formatted file information to clipboard
  7. Folder Pilot $20
    Favorites folder context menu, plus replaces Address bar in Explorer and displays folder structures as clickable paths
  8. FolderGit $25
    Jump to favorite folders, including some hard-wired options
  9. ID Data Wipe $47
    wipes files permanently and clears unused hard drive space
  10. ImageConverter Basic $49
    Image thumbnail, single file/batch conversion, set as wallpaper, send to clipboard
  11. Instant Thumbview $20
    Display thumbnail of selected image file
  12. Photo Gadget Pro $20
    Image management - rotate, resize, crop, rename, add caption/frame, effects, filters, format conversions and upload to Flickr.
  13. SelectEx $15
    Select all, wipe files, copy full path
  14. Shell Picture $20
    Image thumbnail, conversion, image properties, run image/text in specified application, print, copy pathname to clipboard, set as wallpaper, text file preview in context menu
  15. With It $12
    Open a document using an application other than the one that created it.

User Feedback & Suggestions
I welcome any suggestions on other shell extensions that should be considered, or suggestions on how better to review the selected programs.