Tech

12 Shell Extensions Everyone Needs






Our ingenious shell extensions save time, significantly expand the scope of Windows Explorer and Windows and are all free of charge. Many extensions also support Windows 10 and some even support Windows 11.

Shell extensions do that

Many everyday PC tasks can be done in no time with the right mouse button and its context menu. This is often much faster than if you first start a program and then rummage through its menu. Commands that are integrated into the context menu of the right mouse button are called shell extensions alias shell extensions or, colloquially, right-click tools.

You can use a shell extension via the context menu with the right mouse button

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You can use a shell extension via the context menu with the right mouse button

How to use shell extensions

Shell extensions usually nestle in Windows Explorer in the context menu of the right mouse button. From there they can be carried out immediately. Some are also available as a context menu if you right-click on an icon in the systray. If you uninstall the shell extension again, the entry in the context menu with the right mouse button should also be removed.

During the installation you have to specify that the tool is also installed as a shell extension

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During the installation you have to specify that the tool is also installed as a shell extension

As a rule, software offers you the option of installing the program as a “shell context menu” or as a shell extension during installation. You must select this option or leave it selected. After the installation is complete, start Windows Explorer and right-click on a directory or file. You should now see the new shell extension in the selection menu. Some shell extensions can be used not only in Windows Explorer but also in a file manager such as Total Commander.

For each shell extension, note the information on the supported Windows versions in the download entry. Most of the shell extensions we have featured work up to and including Windows 7, which is still widely used. A number of shell extensions also support Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 and some even support Windows 11 (Openwith and Qttabbar obviously do not support Windows 11).

By the way:

Not only the shell extensions presented on the following pages are installed in the context menu of the right mouse button. Many well-known freeware and shareware classics also offer the option of being started from Windows Explorer with the right mouse button. Typical examples are packers like Winzip, Winrar and 7-ZIP as well as burning programs.

The best commands for the command line

Tip: This is how you keep track of all shell extensions

If you risk losing the overview in the context menu with the right mouse button, ShellExView can help. The free tool shows all the shell extensions on your system. Once started, the tool only needs a few seconds to display a complete list of all shell extensions. Click on an entry to get detailed information about the respective extension.

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