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Issue #780: July 3-9, 2022

Q: In this week’s question, (Geek Note: I.G.T.M. #770, April 24-30, 2022) I wonder if the problem could be a defective YouTube program? If so, an uninstall and reinstall might fix the problem.  You could copy and paste the YouTube URL that will not play and send it to yourself via email and then try it on a tablet, laptop, other PC or phone to see if will work.  Just a thought.

 – Eugene S.
Lubbock, Texas

A: Well, Eugene, you’re becoming a real regular contributor, aren’t you?  Thanks for being a loyal reader, and for allowing It’s Geek To Me to put people in Shalimar, Florida in touch with people all the way over in Texas, and in other points all over the country, and the Internet.  You’d think I would know where my column publishes, but I really don’t.  Once I submit it, it’s out of my hands, and it goes wherever it’s sent (or wherever the plagiarizers on the Internet send it).

Your thought would be a good one, except if you take a look back at the issue in question, you’ll see that reader Bob L. explicitly says that he’s using YouTube in a browser; more specifically, Google Chrome, although he has tried it on Edge also.

I think it’s a good chance that many, perhaps most people don’t even realize there is a dedicated YouTube app for their PC. That’s actually the case for many of the services people use via their browser, Gmail being another prime example.  Perhaps a slightly different solution based on your suggestion would be for Bob to download the YouTube app from the Windows Store and see if that can properly render his videos.  Bob, if you’re reading this, give it a try!

• • •

Like most people, within the last few months I’ve upgraded many of the computers that I use to Windows 11.  I generally tolerate these evolutionary updates, and take them with a grain of salt, because I know I’ll be compelled to upgrade at some point anyway.  So, I do my best to adapt to the new environment, and things usually work out.

There is one thing in Win 11 that I simply cannot get used to, and that is how they changed many of the commands on Windows File Explorer’s context menu from words to icons along the top of the menu.  I’m talking about things I use all the time, like Cut/Copy/Paste, Delete, Rename, and more, to name just a few.  I find myself mousing up and down the menu looking for the command word, until my brain taps me on the shoulder and says “Hey, Stupid!  Remember this is Windows 11, and things have changed!”  Then I have to find the right icon, which means unless I can recognize that weird little shape, which I suppose is supposed to look like two pieces of paper, as the “Copy” command, or the one that looks like a tiny clipboard with a blue rectangle as “Paste,” I end up hovering the cursor over every icon and waiting for the tooltip to pop-up and tell me what the icon actually does.  Oh, dear Microsoft, I thought you actually did product testing before releasing this stuff!  Did your testing not reveal that this inhibits productivity, rather than enhance it?  Thanks, Bill!

Fear not, my Geeks, for I have a solution for you that will restore your context menus to their pre-Win11 functionality.  The secret is to hide the new context menu code from Windows.  This involves making a change to the registry, which as I’ve often warned in this column, can be hazardous to your computer if you don’t know what you’re doing, or if you make a mistake.  To complicate things, the code you need to enter consists of a series of over 30 letters, numbers and dashes, which are quite simply, difficult to manually type-in correctly.

So, I’m going to take this party over to my website.  Visit this week’s column at and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Bonus Web Content.  There, you’ll find further instructions, along with the code that you can simply copy and paste into the Registry Editor to revert the look of your context menu back to what it used to be.

Bonus Web Content:

If this is your first visit to my site, welcome!  This is where the complete column archive lives, of every issue of IGTM that has ever published.  Here, you can comment on articles, connect with other readers to exchange your own potential fixes to problems mentioned in the column, and more.  If usage of the site ever picks up to make it worth my while I have some ideas for new features.

So, on to what you actually came here for – how to change the context menu in Windows 11 to look like it used to.  Before I start, let me once again do all the hand wringing and waving to warn you that using RegEdit carelessly can seriously impede your computer’s ability to function.  Consider making a backup of your registry before you begin.  As I don’t have instructions for that here on the site, you can do a quick Google search on “How do I back up the registry.” Pick a reputable looking site and follow their instructions.

Now, to revert your context menu, first, hit the key combination [WinKey]+R to open the Run… box, then type RegEdit and click “OK”.  You’ll probably receive an intervening warning dialog box from User Account Control, asking if you really want to allow this app to make changes to your system.  Click “Yes” to continue.

In RegEdit, use the tree on the left side to navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID.  Still in the tree, right-click on CLSID and from the menu that appears, select New->Key.  Copy the following text, and paste it into the tree where in place of the text that says “New Key #1”.  Be sure and include the curly braces on each end.


With this new key highlighted, right-click it and again select New->Key.  Copy the following text, and again paste it in place of the text that says “New Key #1”.


With the new key highlighted, move to the right side of the RegEdit window, and double-click on the entry that says (Default), then hit Enter without typing anything.  You might think that this didn’t accomplish anything, but if you were paying attention, you saw the entry’s “data” column change from “(value not set)” to an empty string.  This is the desired result.

All you have to do now is close the Registry Editor and reboot.  If you did it right, the menu in Windows File Explorer should look exactly like it did before Windows 11.  If you ever want to go back to the Windows 11 style menu, all you need to do is return to the registry and remove the key under CLSID.

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