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Unraveling the New Features of Windows 11's Right-Click Menu

a person holding a computer  mouse

Windows 11 introduced some graphical and functional changes to the right-click context menu. These changes are meant to be more streamlined and visually appealing. However, the icons can cause confusion and frustration, as menu items may be outside their traditional locations. Many standard functions (Copy, Paste, Cut, Rename, Delete) have been switched to icons at the top of the menu rather than the traditional text for each command (Figure 1). 

Figure 1.  (New Windows 11 Right-Click Context Menu)

The Cut, Copy, Rename, Share, and Deleted icons found on the Windows 11 right-click context menu

Users can find the traditional "text" options and additional functions under the "Show More Options" menu item (Figure 2).

Figure 2.  (Show More Options)

The "Show More Options" item on Windows 11's right-click context menu

By selecting "Show More Options, the right-click context menu expands into the more traditional Windows 10 style (Figure 3).

Figure 3.  (Traditional Right-Click Menu)

The expanded (or Traditional) right-click context menu in Windows 11

Shortcuts for Opening the "traditional" right-click context menu

If you're not used to (or don't care for) the new Windows 11 right-click menu, there is a keyboard shortcut to open the "traditional" menu. Hold down the "Shift" key before you right-click on an item. This will open the menu in the expanded (traditional) format.

An image illustrating the keyboard short cut utilizing the "Shift + Right-click" option to open the expanded right-click context menu in Windows 11.

For more advanced users, there are additional "tweaks," such as editing registry settings to change the right-click context menu back to the Windows 10 default style.

(Note: Adjusting registry settings can have adverse effects on the stability of the operating system. Make sure to have a backup of the registry or consult your local IT professional before making any changes.)

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