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The Case of the Missing Shell Context Menu

December 24th, 2014 · 13 Comments · Windows

I might do these regularly. Something to post about, at least.

Today I woke up and decided to extract a ZIP file. I right-click dragged the file over to where I wanted it extracted… and there was no 7-zip options in the menu like I expected.

Another problem to fix!

I ran 7-zip File Manager elevated (it has to be to change system settings) and checked its settings. The context menu was enabled. I disabled and reenabled it and tried the context menu again; the options still failed to show up.

I traced it through the registry, next. I don’t know exactly what I should expect to see but it can’t hurt. 7-zip installs a shellex handler onto all context menus. Searching for the class id I found the handler is the 7-zip.dll file in the 7-zip installation directory.

I checked and the file was there. Curiously enough, it had the same file size as the 7-zip32.dll file, though that file was months older than the 7-zip.dll, which had recently been upgraded.

Wait, shouldn’t the 64-bit version of the file be bigger? And shouldn’t the 32-bit version been upgraded as well.

A quick check of Task Manager on the 7-zip File Manager confirmed it was a 32-bit process, which confirmed my suspicions that I accidentally installed the 32-bit version.

I redownloaded the 64-bit version and installed it and my context menus reappeared. When available, be sure to install the proper 32/64-bit version of an application that matches your OS! In this case, 7-zip needs a 64-bit shell extension to hook into 64-bit Windows Explorer.

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