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Author Topic: FastExplorer: Create your own Context Menu Items (Freeware)  (Read 16256 times)
mouser
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« on: May 01, 2008, 01:27:48 PM »

Well.. This free utility is almost exactly what was planned for the program ContextMenu Commander, which I actually anticipated working on this summer.

The idea is to provide a generic customizable shell extension utility where users can create their own shell context menu items.

Looks extremely promising and they even have a 64bit version and a dll that developers can use.  And the license allows free commercial use.

Very impressive.

Quote
This handy utility allows you to manage context menus items of file objects displayed in a file manager like Windows Explorer or any other application that deals with shell's application programming interface. It's a very simple way to make your often used file actions quickly accessible.

With Fast Explorer you can create new context menu items, submenus (cascaded menus), dividers, and optionally specify menu bitmaps and hint text.

For an ultimate control over dynamic context menu items added from within Fast Explorer you can define your own look & feel using the custom-drawing feature.



from lanux128 post
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PhilB66
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2008, 06:40:13 PM »

Extremely useful tool. Quite a few Nirsoft utilities do similar stuff. Was discussed before.
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PhilB66
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2008, 06:42:39 PM »

Well.. This free utility is almost exactly what was planned for the program ContextMenu Commander, which I actually anticipated working on this summer.

Does that mean you aren't gonna work on ContextMenu Commander?
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2008, 06:47:48 PM »

I must have forgotten is from that post.

Believe it or not i had actually recently done some planning for ContextMenu Commander and found all the pieces i needed.  But the latest version of FastExplorer does 90% of what ContextMenu Commander was supposed to do, and it seems to be under active development by nice people.  So there is a very good chance that ContextMenu commander will now be abandoned.  I hope the author will stop by here and maybe people can give him suggestions and requests.
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2008, 06:52:11 PM »

I've written about this before.. It's a very strange sad feeling as a programmer when you find that someone else has coded a program you wanted to write, and done a good job, leaving you with no real reason to write your program, but still the lingering urge to do so.   But with so many program ideas floating around, it just seems a waste to write something that already exists.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2008, 09:24:47 PM »

It's a very strange sad feeling as a programmer when you find that someone else has coded a program you wanted to write, and done a good job...

Procrastination vindicated again!   Wink

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Chris
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2008, 03:30:59 AM »

Sorrry to hear mouser! Programming projects become very personal sometimes, especially if you put a lot of effort into it already. Try and think about it as freeing up time for a new idea or making existing projects even better (if that's possible!!) that you otherwise wouldn't have had time for!
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wr975
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2008, 04:28:15 AM »

>But with so many program ideas floating around, it just seems a waste to write something that already exists.

Try creating a tool which can re-arrange existing shell-menu entries. I found quite some tools which add new menus or delete existing entries, but not help me organize them. The only tool I found doing this is HACE mmm (plus). Downside: It's not updated since years + works for few applications only.
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lanux128
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2008, 07:03:55 AM »

here is the original ContextMenu Commander thread. mouser, i'm quite sad that the CMC project won't be taking off but i'll be taking it philosophically that this means you'll have time for other projects. Wink
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Alex Yakovlev
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2008, 12:22:12 PM »

Hello context menu fans!

Since 1999, Fast Explorer is an active project and is always open for suggestions and comments.
As for now, it is the only freeware tool that does the wide range of context menu management tasks.
I see here much interest in a good context menu manager. I'd like to share the development plan and discuss it with you:

Next minor update (expected in a few weeks)
  • copy/paste feature for menu items across different tabs;
  • add support for perceived types (introduced in Windows XP ) including a set of predefined PerceivedTypes: Image, Text, Audio, Video, Compressed and System;
  • relax user privileges for using of Fast Explorer Context Menu Extension DLL: administrative rights on local machine are required to enable or disable dynamic menu items only, and regular users can enjoy installed context menu items;
  • update installer to NSIS v2.36;
  • fix: Windows Registration Server (regsvr32.exe) crashes after enabling or disabling dynamic menu items;
  • fix: exotic crash on pressing Win+E or right clicking on My Computer;
  • fix: incorrect reporting of Windows Server 2008 in the About box;
  • fix: dynamic menu items do not appear if the access to the Internet is restricted for Verclsid.exe; more info;
  • fix: crash on click on the Parameters label on the Submenu Items tab;
  • fix: crash on pressing F1 when a context menu is shown.

Future minor updates
  • [troubleshooting] improve diagnostics of Registry operations and show the users an error message reported by system;
  • [usability] multi-select feature for static and dynamic menu items tabs;
  • Ability to specify multiple file types for menu items;
  • "Convert existing static menu item to dynamic": possibility to place existing (non-Fast Explorer) items into submenus with one click;

Future major versions
  • a special context menu item that shows preview of an image;
  • a context menu item that would allow a user to explore and execute the contents of any directory in Windows XP (similar to cascading menus in Start, e.g.);
  • manage IE context menus;

As you see, the context menu management thread is supposed to be alive until Microsoft includes own context menu manager with Windows, or moves to Linux Wink

Please use this topic to post your suggestions and requests (or contact via email).
All points of the development plan (except the next minor update) are the subject to change if there will be (or won't be) demand for them.
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mouser
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2008, 12:34:37 PM »

Welcome to the site Alex, it makes me happy to see you stop by here and post  Kiss

Really wonderful work you are doing.

I will be sure to post some suggestions for some ideas here soon.
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TucknDar
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2008, 12:42:48 PM »

here is the original ContextMenu Commander thread. mouser, i'm quite sad that the CMC project won't be taking off but i'll be taking it philosophically that this means you'll have time for other projects. Wink
My thoughts exactly  Thmbsup
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TucknDar
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2008, 12:50:35 PM »

Welcome to the site, Alex!

I've got a couple of requests: Preview the context menu and ability to rearrange the order of items in the context menu (if possible).

Thanks for the great tool! TBH I had forgot about Fast Explorer and I'm delighted it's still in active development! The Nirsoft utilities with similar capabilities are excellent, too, but I think Fast Explorer will be my choice for tweaking my context menus smiley
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Alex Yakovlev
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2008, 01:39:55 PM »

I've got a couple of requests: Preview the context menu and ability to rearrange the order of items in the context menu (if possible).
1) Preview of context menu is possible. Added to the TODO list.
2) Rearranging of existing context menu items is one of the most wanted features, as well as a hardly possible one.

TBH I had forgot about Fast Explorer and I'm delighted it's still in active development! The Nirsoft utilities with similar capabilities are excellent, too, but I think Fast Explorer will be my choice for tweaking my context menus smiley
As a true freeware, Fast Explorer is truly limited to the amount of author's free time smiley
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TucknDar
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2008, 01:46:10 PM »

As a true freeware, Fast Explorer is truly limited to the amount of author's free time smiley
smiley Absolutely. I wouldn't expect it any other way! Thanks for noting my requests!
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Tekzel
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2008, 02:07:07 PM »

Hi Alex, great program you have here!

A suggestion that came to my mind immediately would be a plugin system.  This would allow your program to leverage all the other programmers on this site that can create great little modular functions, for viewing different file types from the context menu and other things. 
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cathodera
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2008, 07:03:38 AM »


Feel free to point and laugh and place a comical hat upon my head if I have missed something written in really big letters, but would Fast Explorer allow me to ditch the current freeware utility I am using to get rid of unwanted context menu items?

You know, all the ones slapped on by this or that program, that the program itself doesn't provide an option to get rid of them, or if it does, you can't find it, so your context menu ends up with about 9 squillion entries, approximately 7 of which you use or need...
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mouser
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2008, 07:10:38 AM »

cathodera, you're not being dense at all, this is a question many people have and a confusion between 2 different kinds of context menu tools.

FastExplorer (and the program i was intending to write) are for ADDING custom entries to the right-click context menu.  It won't let you remove items put on by other programs.

There are a few programs that will let you remove context menu items put by other programs.  See the links above and in other threads for programs like: Hace MMM, and others listed in this post: http://www.donationcoder....topic=648.msg4330#msg4330
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cathodera
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2008, 08:13:04 AM »


Thanks for such a prompt reply!

I have one to get rid of the context menu items I don't want, and I love the idea of FastExplorer, being able to roll my own that I do want, but I would really love to have the twain meet, and not have to double-team the context menu, just to make it function as I wish.

I am a semi-recovering freeware junkie of the packrat variety, and now I am on this less is more kick, trying to reduce the number of programs running at any given time, even reducing the installed population, so that they can all have more room to breathe, stretch their legs, maybe even set out a couple of pepper plants...
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mouser
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2008, 08:28:44 AM »

You can see in the todo list of FastExplorer that they are considering adding this function, but i do not believe there is any one utility that can currently do both of these functions well.
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Alex Yakovlev
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« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2008, 12:40:53 PM »

Feel free to point and laugh and place a comical hat upon my head if I have missed something written in really big letters, but would Fast Explorer allow me to ditch the current freeware utility I am using to get rid of unwanted context menu items?

You know, all the ones slapped on by this or that program, that the program itself doesn't provide an option to get rid of them, or if it does, you can't find it, so your context menu ends up with about 9 squillion entries, approximately 7 of which you use or need...
Well, you can delete or temporary disable unwanted context menu items added by other programs. Just look at the Static Items Cleanup and Shell Extensions Cleanup tabs.

What is really difficult for a context menu editing tool is to edit existing context menu items in a WYSIWYG manner. A context menu can be either completely replaced (as Mmm does, for example), or at least you could use these two cleanup tabs in Fast Explorer. The fact is that everything you see in a context menu has a very different nature. It could be menu items:
1) which are added and handled by the system (such as Copy, Delete, Properties);
2) which are added through the Registry by system or third party apps (Static Items Cleanup tab);
3) which are dynamically created by so-called "shell extensions" every time you pop up the menu (Shell Extensions Cleanup).

As you can see, the task of editing the existing context menu items splits into three fundamentally different subtasks. And it really hard to combine it all together.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 12:43:03 PM by Alex Yakovlev » Logged
SirSmiley
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« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2008, 01:30:00 PM »

Hi Alex,

Thanks for a great program. Have been using it for awhile. One of the nice features I enjoy is not having to go into the registry and add/remove keys for custom scripts.

FYI I wrote an Instructable on How to Run a Script from the Context Menu. http://www.instructables....rom-the-Context-Menu-in-/
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cathodera
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« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2008, 03:40:26 AM »


Thank you, Alex, for such a nice explanation of it all. You did such a good job, I even understood some of it.

I really did not know it was so complicated.

Right now, I am using File Menu Tools or something like that to get rid of all the items I don't want.

If I want to try Fast Explorer, and I do, would I need to uninstall that other one first? Would there be a conflict if I don't?

Oh, and I almost forgot, I also have a vintage version of 12 ghosts just to get "copy file name" and "copy path" and "save directory list" because I know that all those things are available separately, but I didn't want to have to install 3 different ones, and I just recently experienced my first equipment and operating system upgrade in about 150 years, so I am trying to learn the modern ways, but my goal is to minimize system resource use, including space, and see how few programs I can have running, and wherever possible, use freeware.

So Fast Explorer is beckoning me, its head cocked to one side, little half smile, it is voguing a little bit, giving me those looks and stuff, but I have had software conflicts before, so that is why I am being so cautious and asking questions.

Sure, I used to just download anything that had a link, but I am just too old for that now.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2008, 08:32:49 AM »

I also have a vintage version of 12 ghosts
Have you 12G Menu Settings (ShellX)?  It'll 'turn off' unwanted items.
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Chris
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« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2008, 08:36:35 AM »


Yes, I use 13 Ghost and that file menu thing, and between them they got rid of most of them. Some of them you have to do inside the program, like WinRar will put about 87 different ones, but at least they give you the option to turn them off, some programs don't!
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