How to Get Classic Context Menu of File Explorer Back in Windows 11

File Explorer Menu

🔔 Important Update:
As of Windows 11 build 10.0.22000.71, none of the below-mentioned tricks work anymore to get the old context menu back in the new File Explorer of Windows 11.

Windows 11 brings a brand new user interface with more focus on simplification. It provides a clean and fresh design yet familiar. Windows 11 is built from the ground up to be more user-friendly and touch-friendly. The most significant changes are visible in the Start menu, Context menus, Taskbar, Settings, and the File Explorer. 

One of the most subtle Windows 11 changes involves the new modern right-click or context menu for File Explorer and Desktop. The new minimalized context menu is designed to be more simple, touch-friendly, and prevent third-party applications from cluttering the menu with more options. It is still packed with the most frequently used options like Cut, Copy, Rename, Sort, Properties, and Delete.

Users can still access the legacy or classic context menu by clicking on the ‘Show more options’ button on the right-click menu.

Although the new context or right-click menu is simpler and cleaner, it is a bit confusing for a lot of users. Also, the basic options like copy, cut, rename and delete are now only icons, which makes it a bit difficult for average users to navigate. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to disable the new context menu and get back the old classic context menu of Windows 10 in Windows 11.

How to Easily Get the Classic (old) Context Menu on Windows 11

Windows 11 is backward compatible. It means Windows 11 is not doing away with the classic or the context menu, you can still revert to the classic context menu if you want. There are three ways you can restore the Windows 10 right-click menu or context menu to Windows 11.

The easiest way to access the old right-click menu is to right-click anywhere on the File Explorer and select ‘Show more options’.

And you will see the old context menu:

Revert Back to the Old Context Menu through Folder Options in Windows 11

The Easiest way to restore the Windows 10 right-click menu on Windows 11 is to enable it in the Folder Options of the File Explorer. Let’s see how.

Go to anywhere on the File Explorer, click the three-dotted menu (horizontal ellipsis) at the top of the file explorer, and select ‘Options’ from the drop-down.

The Folder Options dialog box will show up. In that, switch to the ‘View’ tab and scroll down till you find the ‘Launch folder windows in a separate process’ option in the Advanced settings. Enable that option, click ‘Apply’ and press ‘OK’.

The File Explorer will automatically restart. Then, try right-clicking now and you’ll see the old context menu. Usually, this will work immediately, if not restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

Revert Back to the Old Context Menu by Editing the Registry in Windows 11

If the above method doesn’t work, then try this method. First, open the Windows ‘Registry Editor’ by pressing Win + R and entering ‘regedit’ in the Run command. Or search for the ‘Registry Editor’ in the Search button.

Then, click ‘Yes’ if asked for permission by User Account Control.

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following folder:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Or you can simply copy and paste the above folder path in the address bar of the Registry Editor and press Enter.

Next, right-click the ‘Advanced’ folder, click ‘New’ and select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value‘.

A new registry entry will appear at the bottom of the folder on the right panel.

Rename the newly created registry entry to SeparateProcess. And it should be spelled exactly as mentioned here.

Now, open the ‘Separate Process’ registry by double-clicking on it or right-click, select ‘Modify’. In the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value box, change the value data to 1 and click ‘OK’.

Then, close the Registry Editor and restart your computer. Now, right-click on your File Explorer and you will see the classic right-click menu.

File Explorer Ribbon

Microsoft has removed the Ribbon interface at the top of the Explorer window in Windows 11, which housed ‘File’, ‘Home’, ‘Share’, and ‘View’ tabs. In its place, now a new simplified ‘Command Bar’ is introduced with the only icons of New, Cut, Copy, Paste, Rename, Share, Filters, Sort, Delete, and More options functions.

But when you use either of the above methods to change back to the old context menu, it will not only revert back the context menu but also the File Explorer interface.

Now, you’ll also get back the old File Explorer Ribbon of Windows 10 with some different icon designs in Windows 11.

Restore the Classic Context Menu of Both File Explorer and Desktop

Both of the above methods can only bring back the classic context menu of the File Explorer, but not the Desktop context menu. After changing the context menu of the File Explorer, if you right-click on the Desktop you will still get the new simplified Windows 11 context menu as shown below.

It’s possible in the future, Microsoft may provide an option to do this in the settings. But for now, if you want to replace both right-click menus, you going to have to add some new registry entries to the system’s registry.

First, you have to create a new text document. To do that right-click, select ‘New item’ from the context menu, and choose ‘Text Document’. You can create a text document in any text editor of your choice.

Name the document with anything you want to call it. For example, we are naming this document ‘Classic’.

Then, open that document, copy and paste the whole following code in there:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FeatureManagement\Overrides\4\586118283]

"EnabledState"=dword:00000001

"EnabledStateOptions"=dword:00000001

"Variant"=dword:00000000

"VariantPayload"=dword:00000000

"VariantPayloadKind"=dword:00000000

As shown below:

Click the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Save’ to save the document.

Then, you need to change the file type to ‘.reg’. To do that, right-click the file, click the ‘Rename’ button, or press F2 to rename the file.

Now, delete ‘.txt’ and change the file extension to ‘.reg’ as shown below and press Enter to apply.

Note: If you are not able to change the file extension, it’s because you’re only editing the file name and the file extension is hidden. The file extensions for known file types are hidden by default. To unhide the file extension so you can change it, go to the ‘Folder Options’ in the File Explorer and deselect the ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ option in the Advanced settings.

Now, try to change the extension, it will change.

When you try to change the file extension, Windows will warn you whether you really yo change the file type or not, click ‘Yes’.

Now, you got yourself a registry file.

Double-click or press Enter on the newly created registry file. Click ‘Yes’ if asked for permission by User Account Control.

Again you will get another warning asking, do you really want to add this third part registry file to your Windows registry. Click ‘Yes’ again.

After that, you’ll get a message box saying that the keys and values contained in the registry file are successfully added to the registry. Click ‘OK’ to complete.

Then, restart your PC and you will notice you have your old classic context menu on both File Explorer and desktop.

That is all.