Windows XP: Clean up the Explorer New context menu list

The Explorer right click > New menu has a bunch of file formats I never use that installed apps added. I usually use this just for creating new folders, shortcuts, and text documents.

How do I clean up this list?


I use TweakUI for this, which works on WinXP 32-bit. Microsoft hasn't created a version for Vista, so some other company did. Find it at

Edit: On Win XP a control panel applet doesn't get created, instead the TweakUI installer creates a program group (Powertoys for Windows XP) and shortcut off the Start menu. Once you are in the program, click on Templates in the category selector. It will show all registered templates, and you can uncheck the ones you don't want to see.

This is the registry solution:

  1. Create a new document using the New context menu then look at the extension
  2. Find the extension under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, i.e. for a text file find HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.txt. This will usually have the Nullfile string entry.
  3. Delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT[EXTENSION]\ShellNew registry key, i.e. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.txt\ShellNew.

I believe it's one of the many things adjustable using MS's TweakUI control panel. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available for 64 bit, so I can't verify that's indeed still true.

I struggled with this one as I also couldn't find a Templates section in the newest TweakUI. But then I realized that I wasn't running TweakUI with elevated (Administrator) privileges. (My system at work is locked down so I'm using a User account with less-than-admin privileges.) However, if you know the Admin password on your system, you can run TweakUI elevated. For some reason (perhaps because it involves registry edits) the "Templates" feature only appears when running TweakUI with elevated privileges.

One method of doing so is to find a shortcut to your command prompt, right-click on it, and select "Run As...", then enter the Administrator's username and password. Now any apps opened from the command prompt will have admin privs as well, so you can just enter "C:\WINDOWS\system32\TweakUI.exe", and you should see the new "Templates" item in the tree.

Every time you open Photoshop it will create a new ShellNew entry for .psd (ie HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.psd\ShellNew) if one does not exist, so it's no use adding a minus sign to the end of "ShellNew" - which TweakUI does for you when the entry is unticked from its list - or renaming the .psd branch, it will keep coming back...

After about a billion years of googling, I found this fix:

I'm not sure but I think it can be done much easier.

If you want to keep any registry key unmodified by the system then just deny modification of the registry key by the system after you delete "ShellNew" subkey.

  • For that right-click on HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.<extention> (.psd for example) key
  • Select "Permissions..."
  • Select "SYSTEM"
  • Check all checkboxes under "Deny".

Then the system will not be able to add or remove anything in this key.

Category: windows xp Time: 2008-09-10 Views: 4

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