How to Remove WMP Context Menu Entries in Windows 7

Microsoft found it prudent to include a context menu in their GUI driven OS, but sadly up to today offers no definite way on how to control what goes in there. If that's not enough, they decided software publishers could do the same and so most of us end up with a cluttered up context menu. Fortunately, some publishers do give you an option, either during installation or in their settings to control their entries.

On the other hand with Microsoft products you rarely get that choice. The obvious suspect here is Windows Media Player. WMP has a come a long way since its XP days, and honestly, it’s a decent program if what you need is simply to play music. However, there are a myriad of better alternatives out there such as VLC, the nifty foobar or my personal favourite Jaangle, that people favour over it.



Windows Media Player Context Menu Entries

Windows Media Player Entries on Windows 7

Windows Media Player installs the above 3 entries in Window's 7 right-click menu:
  • Add to Windows Media Player list
  • Play with Windows Media Player
  • Shop for music online

For most third party programs, ShellMenuView from Nirsoft (Nir Sorfer) usually removes these entries with little hassle. However, it seems that it can’t disable WMP entries as per my tests. To do that I had to scour the web for some solutions and luckily I got these three fixes. On how to remove these entries in Windows 10 please read here.


1. Using Default Program

As the title suggests, this method simply makes WMP NOT the default media player by, as Microsoft puts it, disabling “access” to it. We’ll see why that doesn’t make any sense.
  • TIP: If you’ve any problems following any of the steps, please refer to this youtube video I made that goes through each of the steps below.

Steps

1. So first open the Control Panel.

2. Change the view to Large Icons or Small Icons if it’s in the Category view.

3. Scroll down and click open Default Programs.

4. In the default programs window, click open the last option – Set Program access and computer defaults. That will open a small window with one of three radio buttons selected: Microsoft Windows, Non-Microsoft and Custom.

5. If you’re using a different media player, chances are that the Custom option is already selected. If not so, do select it and then enlarge the settings using the drop arrow on the far right. That will reveal a bunch of settings. Scroll down and go to Choose default media player.

6. If you’re already using a different media player, the Use my current media player is selected by default. If not, do so. However, below it you’ll notice beside Windows Media Player there’s the option Enable access to this program. That’s the culprit apparently. Remove that check mark.
access
Remove Access to WMP

7. Click Ok and you’re done.

Now I know you’re thinking WMP is gone for good or at least you won’t run to it as you did before. Well that's partly true. The entries are surely gone (more like gone to hiding) but WMP is still alive and kicking, which is really puzzling since from what we just did, it’s expected not to be accessible anymore. Well I guess the access here strictly meant hiding it from our tired eyes. Check out the next methods if you'd prefer something different.



2. By "Uninstalling"

This method addresses the problem from the first but not its poor English. WMP will now be actually rendered inaccessible through un-installation but not in the traditional sense. You see, while the first method simply made WMP shy and somewhat reserved this one just goes a notch higher and throws it into maximum security with a good chance of parole.

Microsoft calls this, “Turning off” a program. However note that this will also disable Windows Media Center, so if you use it, don't bother turning off WMP as it's dependent on it.

Steps

1. So first open the Control Panel.

2. Change the view to Large Icons or Small Icons if it’s in the Category view.

3. Scroll down and click open Programs and Features.

4. In the Programs and Features window, go to the left panel and click the link – Turn Windows features on or off.
turnoff
Turn Off  Windows Features

5. That will open a small window titled Windows Features. Navigate through the categories listed and find Media Features.

6. Expand that category by clicking on the little plus sign and remove the check mark from Windows Media Player.
turnoff wmp
Turn Off WMP

7. You’ll get a warning prompt that doing this will disable Windows Media Centre. Click Yes on that prompt.

Windows may take some time to apply those settings after which you’ll have to Restart your computer. After restarting the computer WMP entries should be gone and the program should be inaccessible. If you had defaults set to WMP, like to open mp3s and other media files, they’ll will automatically default to another media player that’s installed, if not you’ll have to do that manually.



3. Using the Registry

The the last method is not exactly for the faint of heart. If you don’t know what the Registry is, it’s probably a good idea to stick to the first two methods. In layman's terms, think of the Registry as a large cabinet where windows stuffs most of its settings and that of other programs.

It’s a very risky environment that can potentially harm your computer if you don’t know what you’re doing and for that reason it’s always a good idea to back up the registry before doing some editing there or simply create a system restore point. Why?

The stock Registry Editor Microsoft provides has no undo button, so if you make a change there’s no reverting back unless if you remember exactly what you edited, which is highly unlikely. Anyway let’s see how this works. If you’ve some trouble going through the steps, please refer to the video above.

Steps

1. First make sure you’re logged in as an Administrator.

2. Open the Run window. You can do this by going to the Start Menu and on the bottom click on the button Run…. If it’s not there no need to worry, just use the keyboard shortcut - Windows Button + R.

3. In the run window type regedit on the text box and click Ok.

4. The registry editor will open. On its left there’s what is referred to as Classes, which house the different kinds of settings and on the right the preview window where the settings are previewed and edited.

5. The so called keys we need to edit are under the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT class. These keys are buried quite deep so first navigate carefully by expanding the following tree:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations

6. Expand the SystemFileAssociations tree and locate the following three folders [keys]:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Audio
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Image
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Video

7. Directory.Audio holds the settings for folders with audio files, Directory.Image for images and Directory.Video files. Expand each of the folders [keys] and their respective sub-folders [sub keys] and on the right pane you’ll notice the data.

8. Now chances are that there are keys from other programs and those should be left alone with. WMP keys that we’re interested in are the following:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Audio\shell\Enqueue
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Audio\shell\Play
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Audio\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\WMPShopMusic
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Image\shell\Enqueue
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Image\shell\Play
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Video\shell\Enqueue
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\Directory.Video\shell\Play

9. These are the only keys that are to be deleted. If you’re not sure, you can make sure by looking on the on the right pane. You’ll notice the entries in plain text:

Enqueue: &Add to Windows Media Player list
Play: &Play with Windows Media Player

10. Before we begin deleting, you can back up the keys if you need to restore the entries later by right-clicking each of the Directory.xxxx folders [keys] and choosing Export. The exported file is a *.reg file that can be edited on a text editor like notepad and is restored by simply double-clicking on it.

11. Now onto the deleting. Right-click on each of the folders [keys] I outlined above and accept the prompts that follow. That’s it.

If you’ve any problems following any of the steps, please refer to any of three linked youtube videos. A subscribe to this blog's channel would be highly appreciated if you find the content there relevant to you. Anyway, if you’ve any questions regarding any of the steps, just leave them in the comments and I’ll get to you as soon as I can.


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