What is the Windows context menu and what is it for

The contextual menu or right-click menu is a fundamental element of the Windows GUI, which allows us to execute a multitude of functions. This time we will see what the Windows context menu is and what it is for, in addition to its usefulness and functions.

What is the context menu

The context menu is a drop-down menu with different options that is displayed when you right- click the mouse. You can also open it without the mouse using the context menu key, between the Ctrl and Alt keys to the right of the keyboard.

The Contextual Menu key is in the form of a small menu. It allows you to launch the context menu without using the mouse.

We could say that it is an interactive and dynamic element of the graphical interface of the operating system. It is used in response to a user action, offering options depending on where the right click is made.

The menu options may increase as some programs related to user action are installed. But luckily, you can also modify or remove options from it.

Its duties

In short, the contextual menu is designed to facilitate the user’s daily work. It offers a number of options that vary depending on the state, context or location of the user’s click.

Usually the available options are actions related to the selected object or element. This means that you will not receive the same options when you right-click on the desktop as if you click on the taskbar, on a folder or on a file.

Actions you can take include:

  • Create folders or shortcuts
  • Scan a file or folder using the antivirus program
  • Zip or unzip a folder or file
  • Play multimedia files, either video or music
  • Send a file or folder to another location on disk or other storage unit.

And many other program options and related settings, without having to first open the program related to these options.

Context menu on the desktop or in a folder

If you right-click on a free space on the desktop or a folder, the options will be related to the display of the items and their organization.

Other options will also appear, such as creating a new folder or shortcut, and even new files from different programs such as Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.

Contextual menu of a file

When you right-click on a file, the drop-down menu that appears will depend on the type or extension of the file. For example – if it is an Excel file, if it is a compressed file or a PowerPoint presentation – the options displayed will be related to the program that handles that type of file.

In this image you can see that the context menu of a file is much larger. In this case it is an image and contains options such as Open, Set as wallpaper, Print, Open with, etc.

How to delete a file by context menu

Deleting a file with the context menu is a fairly simple task. All you need to do is right click on the file to delete, and regardless of its type, one of the last options in the drop-down menu is Delete.

When choosing this option, the system will ask you if you are sure to move the file to the Recycle Bin. You just have to click Yes and the item will be sent to said trash.

Let’s do it in sequence:

  • Right click on the file you want to delete
  • You choose the Delete option
  • You answer Yes to the dialog box that asks if you are sure

If you want to delete the file permanently, without sending it to the Trash:

  • Press the Shift key + right click on the file you want to delete
  • You choose the Delete option
  • You answer Yes to the dialog box that asks if you are sure

However, the quickest and easiest way to delete a file in Windows is by selecting it and pressing the Delete or Delete key .


Apart from modifying it, you can also deactivate the context menu. The concept of this important Windows component has remained virtually unchanged in contemporary versions of Microsoft’s operating system, including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button