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disappearing shell context menu commands - evil bugs RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've migrated to Vista x64 SP1 recently, and I have a bunch of bugs I've never had before.

    I use several programs that integrate into shell context menu, and their menu commands appear and disappear from time to time. For example, I click a folder and have WinRar and TortoiseSVN menu commands. Next time I click the same folder and I have Nod and Araxis context menu, but WinRar and TortoiseSVN menus disappear for some unknown reason %)

     

    This bug with appearing and disappearing menus really kills me  I tried to disable UAC and reinstall all programs under administrative rights, but that didn't help.

    Can anybody help me?

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 7:28 AM

Answers

  • Andrei

     

    It sounds like you may have a misbehaving Shell Extension that was installed by one of these programs.

     

    I recommend downloading and running the ShellExView utility. This utility allows you enable/disable all of the context menu handlers and identify any that are not configured properly or are not working properly.

     

    You can read about the program and download it here.

     

    This is a free utility.

     

    ShellExView - Shell Extension Manager For Windows:
    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html

     

    Hope this helps.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, you help others find the answer faster.


    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:35 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Andrei

     

    It sounds like you may have a misbehaving Shell Extension that was installed by one of these programs.

     

    I recommend downloading and running the ShellExView utility. This utility allows you enable/disable all of the context menu handlers and identify any that are not configured properly or are not working properly.

     

    You can read about the program and download it here.

     

    This is a free utility.

     

    ShellExView - Shell Extension Manager For Windows:
    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html

     

    Hope this helps.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.
    By marking a post as Answered, you help others find the answer faster.


    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

    Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:35 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    This didn't help.

    However, I've found a pattern; when I start explorer from command line qith path (like explorer.exe <some-path-here>), several context menus disappear (TortoiseSvn, for example). When I start explorer from command line without path, all works ok.

    Any ideas, why this could happen?

    Friday, October 17, 2008 6:25 PM
  • Andrei

     

    I don't have any ideas on this?

     

    I know the the context menus are sensitive to any third party handlers that may not be defined properly in the registry. This is why I posted the information about the ShellExView program. It allows you to disable/enable any context menu handler item to try and locate one that may be misbehaving.

     

    I have heard of the TortoiseSVN developers program and I have heard that it is very well supported. I think it is heavily integrated into Windows Explorer, so there may be a conflict there. I don't have Tortoise installed here, so it's an unknown equation for me.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Saturday, October 18, 2008 8:53 PM
    Moderator
  •  Ronnie Vernon MVP wrote:

    I have heard of the TortoiseSVN developers program and I have heard that it is very well supported. I think it is heavily integrated into Windows Explorer, so there may be a conflict there. I don't have Tortoise installed here, so it's an unknown equation for me.

    This bug affects not only TortoiseSvn, but other programs as well (at least WinRAR, Araxis Merge, maybe some other programs). I tried to disable shell handlers one by one, but it didn't help.

    What I can say, I used all the same programs under Vista 32bit, and all worked perfectly. Problems started, when I started using Vista 64bit.

    I contacted support of these programs, and they say the same - they were reported about such problems under Vista 64bit, but they still cannot find a reason of this problem. The same for all programs. Thus I suppose, the problem is somewhere in Vista 64bit.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008 6:06 AM
  • I've experienced this problem off and on on all windows versions since 98...including present Vista(32bit).

    And it just comes and goes / fixes itself of its own accord.

    It's also very screwy, as i normally keep two identical systems of each(helps with troubleshooting and repair-- both software and hardware related)-- and one system usually experiences it to the exclusion of its twin).

    Context menu for various file types-- reg, inf, exe, com, msi, msu, zip, etc. may disappear in entirety or partially...and in the latter case some of the remaining entries may be grayed out and/or not work.
    This can include things like Run As, Open, Open With, Open target/location/container, etc. ad nauseam.

    However, i have noticed that SHORTCUTS of the file types in question, that have been placed in the classic Start Menu, almost always remain unaffected. This has always been a quick remedy for when needing to say, Run as Admin...or if say, i had inf / reg files set to instead open in Notepad when clicked normally.

    Along with those problems i get a periodic unlicensing of some programs and inability to install some(insufficient admin privileges and/or unsupported script type errors)-- again-- not consistent on similar system setups.

    AS I SAID BEFORE THOUGH, the problems take care of themselves periodically--- leading to a suspicion of windows patches...

    In the old days of XP and before, if i got impatient enough and had the time to spare, i would restore the registry with scanreg and/or repair IE and reapply the Autopatcher to get things back.

    Years ago i suspected a prog called ExtractNow...but can't state unequivocally if the fix from uninstalling it was just a coincidence.

    These days on Vista, the problem resurfaced right after applying the latest update of PowerArchiver together with Patch Tuesday...a System Restore returned things back to normal.
    HOWEVER...uninstalling completely Power Archiver returned the problem.
    I was all set to re-restore & compare registry changes / find the culprit by repeating the process, but a different MS problem has cooked my goose:

    I'm running betas of ie8 & SP2, so was trying to kill two birds with one stone by seeing if reinstalling those would fix this issue and as well repair some IE errors-- however, MS, in its infinite uncommonsensical and arbitrary-change fashion flummoxed things yet again:

    1. BTW those with damaged IE7 on Vista no longer have repair reinstall option like in the old days..HOWEVER, there is one trick: installing ie8, then uninstalling it will have the effect of repairing it.

    2. HOWEVER, IE8 & SP2 "cannot be overinstalled / must be uninstalled first".

    3. Upon doing all that, all previous Restore Points were gone, no warning / no option to save or cancel.

    4. The old File Types editing module has been irritatingly deprecated.

    I'm totally frustrated with the MS way of doing things.

    Before Vista, with each new Windows version, one could avoid all manner of problems by staying a couple of extra years with the current OS on new hardware, until....

    but now, with being force-fed Vista...and nevertheless--all the new hardware + impending 64bit...


    Sorry i don't have an answer...
    Friday, January 2, 2009 10:01 AM
  • Am not sure if you've had this issue resolved. I was experiencing a similar issue in XP Professional where some context menu items would NEVER appear. Examples are WinMerge, Araxis Merge, PowerPro etc.. Although TortoiseSVN, TortoiseHG, WinZip etc would work without issue.

    I fired up RegMon (SysInternals) to check what registry entries were being accessed. To my surprise I found this registry entry:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Approved.

    Then I fired up ShellExView (Nirsoft) and found the CLSID of WinMerge and AraxisMerge and added them to this list. Instantly they appeared further.

    On digging further I found in PcTools website (http://www.pctools.com/guides/registry/detail/1168/) that adding this EnforceShellExtensionSecurity DWORD value 0 to the following locations:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer

    Would prevent checking for authorized shell extensions.

    Hope this helps you.
    Wednesday, January 6, 2010 6:22 AM