Right click context menu on Windows 7 start menu shows up but does nothing

context menustart-menuwindows 7

I have a new Windows 7 box and I'm seeing some weird behaviour in the Start Menu. The menu itself looks fine: there are Recent Items and Pinned Items. If I left click on any item it opens as expected. If I right click on any item, I get a context menu. All good so far.

The issue starts when I try to select anything in the context menu. Nothing works. If I try to select "Open" or "Run as administrator"… nothing. As I said, left click works just fine.

One other thing is that some of the Recent Items have a right arrow next to them that let you open the program with additional context. For example, Excel lets you select to open recent files. Remote Desktop will let you open recent connections. None of this works for me, either. I left click on a Word document or Remote Desktop connection in this way and it appears to just ignore me.

I should also mention that this is only a problem in this initial view of the Start Menu. If I click "All Programs" to get to the more detailed program listing view, then the right click context menu works as expected.

I'm at a bit of a loss for how to even go about troubleshooting this problem. Is there any way to get more visibility into what is happening here?

Best Answer

As a troubleshooting step: Create a second account, log in as that person and see if the problem is still there.

This sort of thing is usually the result of bugs in Explorer add-ins, also known as "Shell Extensions".

There is a free utility, "ShellExView", from NirSoft that lets you view and manage (that is, disable and enable) shell extensions. A good first step is to disable all non-Microsoft extensions; if the problem goes away, re-enable them one by one until it comes back.

If the problem is not in a non-Microsoft extenstion, then work down through the Microsoft ones, disabling them until the problem goes away.

If you feel more daring, you can use a binary search to narrow it down faster.