How to Remove WMP Context Menu Entries in Windows 7/8/10

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 Entries

Windows Media Player Entries in Windows 10
Windows Media Player Entries in Windows 10

Windows Media Player installs the above 3 entries in Window’s 7/8/10 right-click menu:

  • Add to Windows Media Player list
  • Play with Windows Media Player
  • Shop for music online

These entries usually only appear when you right-click folders containing media files like music, video and images.

For most third party programs, ShellMenuView from Nirsoft (Nir Sorfer) usually removes these kind of 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 the following three fixes.

If you don’t want to mess around with the registry just stick to the first two methods.

Option 1: Using Control Panel’s Default Programs

This method simply makes WMP NOT the default media player and as a result removes the entries.

1. First open the old Control Panel. You can find it easily by searching for it in the start menu

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

Switch View
Switch 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

Default Programs Options
Default Programs Options

5. That will open a small window with one of three radio buttons selected: Microsoft Windows, Non-Microsoft and Custom. If you’re using a different media player chances are 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

6. Scroll down and go to Choose default media player. If you’re already using a different media player, then 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. Remove that check mark

Disable Access to WMP
Disable Access to WMP

7. Click Ok and you’re done

This will only “disable access” to WMP from windows explorer but you will still be able to use the program by launching it from elsewhere like Start Menu.

Option 2: Turning off Windows Media Player

This method renders WMP inaccessible through “uninstallation” but not in the traditional sense. You won’t be able to use the program but you can “turn it on” later if you need to use it.

1. First open the old Control Panel. You can find it easily by searching for it in the start menu

2. Switch 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

Turn On/Off Windows Features
Turn On/Off Windows Features

5. That will open a small window titled Windows Features. Navigate through the categories listed and find Media Features. Expand that category by clicking on the little plus sign and remove the checkmark from Windows Media Player

Media Features
Media Features

6. You’ll get a warning prompt. Click Yes on that prompt

7. Windows may take some time to apply those settings after which you’ll have to Restart your computer for the changes to be applied

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.

Option 3: Remove Manually using the Registry

This is the last method and it’s the least user friendly of the three. If you don’t know what the Registry is, it’s probably a good idea you stick with the first two methods.

Also before editing anything in the registry you may want to consider backing it up or by simply creating a system restore point. There’s no undo button here, so if you make an unwanted change there’s no reverting back unless if you remember exactly what you edited.

If you’ve some trouble going through the steps, please refer to the video below. It’s what I made for Windows 7 but the procedure is exactly the same for Windows 8 and 10.

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 in the text box and click Ok. The registry editor should launch

4. On its left there’s what is referred to as Classes which houses the different kinds of settings and on the right is the preview window where the settings are previewed and edited.

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

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

Directory.Audio holds the settings for folders with audio files, Directory.Image for images and Directory.Video files.

5. Expand each of those folders [keys] and their respective sub-folders [sub keys] and on the right pane you’ll notice the data.

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 as follows:

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
Windows Media Player Registry Keys
Windows Media Player Registry Keys

This 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
WMP Enqueue Key
WMP Enqueue Key
Play with WMP key
Play with WMP Key

Tip: Before deleting, you can back up the keys 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 it.

6. To delete, right-click on each of the folders [keys] I outlined above and accept the prompts that follow. That’s it. You don’t need to restart for the changes to take effect.

Leave a Reply

Feel free to share your comments or questions with me. I may not be able to respond immediately so please check later once I've approved your comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *