Friday, August 18, 2006

faster right-click menus

sometimes you will find that a software package installs options into the 'context menu' that you do not need. this is the menu that appears when you right-click on something in windows (e.g. a file context menu will give you options such as cut, copy, etc). the problem is that all context menu options add extra work for your machine. some go so far as to noticeably slow down performance.

I ran into this issue with an image management application that adds a preview of the image to the right-click menu. in other words, every time I right-clicked on an image, I had to wait for my computer to create a thumbnail of the image and draw a rather large context menu. this wasn't acceptable to me, but I also didn't want to remove the image application outright.

if you are lucky, the people who coded the offending software will provide you with a configuration option to disable individual context menu options - not to mention that they should also give you the option to forego these time wasting add-ons when you install their software. however, this is not always the case. the solution is the Shell Extensions Manager or 'ShellExView.' using ShellExView, you can see all of the context menu options installed on your machine and you can specify which ones you want to enable or disable.

while ShellExView is a great app, sadly, it isn't a panacea. once you have looked at what is installed, you might find that the software makers of your particular offending program have not separated the options that they have added to your context menu. in other words, to disable the ones that you don't want, you may find that you have to turn off all the options for that app. this is certainly frustrating, but I have found that ShellExView is so easy to use that there are cases where I'm willing to turn off all the menu items until I want to use one of them. obviously, this is only a reasonable option if you aren't using the context menu feature all that frequently.

if you are having performance issues with your context menus, I recommend that you grab the ShellExView app and start turning off all the extra digital lint that lazy coders have forced upon you.

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