Customise context menu when browsing content of compressed files in File Explorer (Windows 8.1) RRS feed

  • Question

  • Published methods exist for adding an “Open with Notepad” command to the Windows right-click Context Menu for All Files
    * by 'laminterious' on 07 May 2008 at http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Add-Open-with-Notepad-to-Right-Click/ 
    * by Lowell Heddings on 22 November 2016 at https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/add-open-with-notepad-to-the-context-menu-for-all-files/

    However, when browsing the content of a compressed file (for example, a *.zip file), a different right-click Context Menu is generated in Windows 8.1 that contains fewer options, and does not refer to any customised key added at

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\Open with Notepad\command

    There are numerous other extensions and file-types listed directly under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\, including ".zip" and "CompressedFolder", but adding relevant values under shell\Open with Notepad\command subkeys within those keys doesn't seem to affect the Context Menu when browsing inside the archived files (they only seem to have an effect when clicking on the zip file itself, not its contents). 

    Is there another place or method for adding the relevant custom commands to the registry?


    P.S.  A related request, to "Edit executable file, instead of run, in Compressed Folder Tools", was made by Jeff Dege on 01 March 2016 at https://superuser.com/questions/1047330/edit-executable-file-instead-of-run-in-compressed-folder-tools , but there were no solutions provided that addressed the user's problem. 

    [[[Cross-posted from Microsoft Community forum.]]]
    • Edited by D I V Sunday, March 4, 2018 12:37 PM URL's accidentally swapped.
    Sunday, March 4, 2018 12:35 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Opening file in Windows Explorer is different with opening compressed folder via Compressed Folder Tools.

    I think if you could do same thing in Compressed Folder Tools as Windows Explorer, it wouldn’t need to extract the compressed folder. In fact, the compressed folder is different with the uncompressed folder, so we need some tool help us to open it.

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
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    Monday, March 5, 2018 10:18 AM
  • Hello, Vera. 

    Thank-you for your comments.  But I cannot see how they provide any answer to what I was asking about.  
    Have you perhaps misunderstood my question? 

    I do not want to extract, nor do I want to open (in the sense of viewing) with the default application.
    I do want to open (as if) for editing in a specified application, namely Notepad


    A folder (C:\2018, say) contains three Zip files:  January.zip, February.zip, and March.zip
    In File Explorer I enter the February.zip file (by either double-clicking it in the right-hand file-listing pane, or by single-clicking it in the left-hand folder-hierarchy pane).  Now I can see the list of compressed files archived within February.zip — let's say this comprises two files, namely Tabulation.DB and Summary.PDF

    Perhaps most of the *.DB files on my system open up in Access, so Access is therefore the default application, but for this specific instance I know that Tabulation.DB is really a text file — unlike the other *.DB files.  Therefore I want to open Tabulation.DB with Notepad instead of the default application

    Or maybe I know that the Summary.PDF always contains certain metadata which I find it quicker to check by opening and doing a search for in Notepad, rather than opening the PDF in a PDF-viewer and then navigating several menus/trees to locate the custom metadata.  But I still like to retain a PDF-viewer as the default application for opening PDF files in general

    If I right-click on the February.zip file then I get the context menu that I have already customised, so I can choose the "Open in Notepad" option there if I wish to.  Even if I hadn't already customised that context menu, I at least have available the standard "Open with" option;  and furthermore I can hold down SHIFT while I right-click to get the extended context menu
    However, when I right-click on (say) the Summary.PDF file, then the only options on the context menu are Open, Cut, Copy, Delete, and Properties.  There is no "Open with" option (nor, apparently, any extended context menu), and I have not seen any information on how to customise this context menu — which is what I want to do

    Please let me know if you need any further clarification of any other specific aspect(s). 


    • Edited by D I V Tuesday, March 6, 2018 1:17 PM typo.
    Monday, March 5, 2018 12:28 PM
  • A further approach exists, but it appears to be defective. 

    When browsing the contents of a compressed *.zip file within Windows Explorer, automatically a new tab called "Compressed Folder Tools" appears on the ribbon.  That tab contains nothing relevant to the present discussion.  What it does do is obscure the existence of a relevant button on "Home" tab of the ribbon, namely the "Open" button. 

    The "Open" button notably consists of a couple of elements:

    1. The majority of the button serves to open the highlighted file using the default application associated with that type of file.  This occupies ~80% of the button, and is graphically represented with the icon of the associated application (at extreme left) followed by the word "Open". 
    2. The rightmost portion (~20%) of the button provides an arrow to access a dropdown menu that should serve to allow the user to open the highlighted file with either (i) one of the listed applications or (ii) another, arbitrary, application [with an option to assign this selection as the new default]. The listing in option (i) is identical to the listing obtained through the "Open with" command on the right-click context menu. 

    This "Open" button exists also when browsing files outside of compressed *.zip files, and functions perfectly. 

    However, when browsing files within compressed *.zip files, the functionality breaks down.   

    • Any attempt to open the file with the default application is successful.  This applies no matter whether the the left-hand element of the button (icon or "Open") is clicked, as in approach "1." above, or whether the default application is 'manually' selected from the drop-down menu. 
    • Most attempts to open the file with anything other than the default application fail, with an error message:  Title bar: Explorer.EXE.  Icon:  'white X on red circle' critical error.  Body:  The parameter is incorrect.  Button:  OK.
      For example, I have Notepad set as the default application to open *.txt files.  When such text files are contained within a compressed *.zip archive, the "Open" button is unable to open these with other (relevant) applications, including WordPad, and generates the above error message. 
      As a second example, I have IrfanView set as the default application to open *.png files.  When such image files are contained within a compressed *.zip archive, the "Open" button is unable to open these with most other (relevant) applications, including Paint, and generates the above error message.  However, they can be successfully opened with Windows Photo Viewer.
    Sunday, December 2, 2018 1:43 AM
  • I understand what you want to do and agree it would be useful.

    In the past I have tried various search terms looking for a solution without success. Gave up and just work around by extracting the file so I get my usual Send To list. For information Windows XP is the same so this is not a recently introduced limitation.

    Sunday, December 2, 2018 9:14 AM