The strange non-operation of Context menu entry “Manage” on Start Menu and Desktop Icon “Computer” item.


This one has been torturing me for some time and I haven’t had the time to pinpoint and resolve it, however today was the right time because I was tweaking my laptop for this week’s Hyper-V Training session. I’ll explain what happened below…

The Problem

If you’re wondering what’s the problem then know this: While I was trying to invoke “Computer Management” by right-clicking on the “Computer” item either on the Start Menu or the Desktop Icon in Windows 7 (both my laptop and Desktop machines) I was getting a brief wait animation (the blue animated circle) and nothing was happening! So I had to use alternative ways for it such as typing in the brilliant search box of Windows 7, I love this feature so much that I get addicted Smile.

For a more visual explanation, check the photos below (click on them for full size):

The Start Menu action for the issue

image

The Desktop Icon action for the issue

image

The Solution

So I had a feeling that the problem was lying in the context menu handlers and I was right, while I was searching here and there for a possible explanation, I’ve found an application named “ShellExView” and is a Shell Extensions Manager for Windows from Nirsoft, oh and did I mention that is FREE? Well I do now then Smile

This handy application iterates through every single context menu handler and shell extension registered in our installation and displays them in a list fashion, along with numerous columns of useful information such as Disabled Status, Type, Version, Product Name, Company and many more which are left for you to explore. After that you can check every entry for the possible candidate of the problem and start disabling them one at a time and check if your problem goes away, re-iterate until you get it solved…

But when you see the list and it’s size you may want to stop searching for a solution because things are becoming complex from that point onward, well arm yourself with patience because this issue might not be solved with a Windows Installation Repair and many times the Scrap and Load solution is not something easy, especially when you have business commitments and your PC is your primary tool.

Let’s take a look at a list of ShellExView (for the record, there is a separate x64 version for Vista and later O/S that works correctly), click for full size, this is a wide one:

image

Have you noted the entry named “?” yet? Well I had one of them in my Desktop PC and one in my Laptop, however they were not identical at first glance and I guessed they weren’t related, but after checking their properties they were identical but the laptop’s was corrupted somehow.

A brief analysis

The point is that after I disabled them both and tried to invoke Computer Management it was working again!!! Hurray we have a solution here! Now let’s compare those two, let’s see some snapshots:

Desktop PC

SNAGHTML26229c56

Laptop

SNAGHTML262671ec

They sure don’t look the same but looking more closely they have the same CLSID {82C63EC5-1B4C-43B7-7AC8-57148B696B95} which means that it is the same thing or from the same Class, however in the laptop’s properties there is missing info and it seems that at some point this one has been corrupted.

As a final conclusion, keep an eye for the correct operation of Context menus regularly, if it happens having .Net Framework 4 installed then your best option is to disable entries with question marks as “Extension Name”.

Also note that you may have to restart your computer in some cases when you disable Shell Extensions in order to enforce the change.

Hope this helps people searching solutions for this problems.

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