Get back Windows 10 functions in Windows 11

Microsoft, when they rolled out Windows 11, made some changes to their File Explorer that slowed me down as a developer. I needed to restore the Windows 10 behavior.

The Windows 11 task bar always combines icons from multiple instances of the same app into one. To find the instance you want you have to hover over the icon and choose one. That makes it a little slower to click between top-level browser or IDE windows.

The Explorer Patcher from Valinet fixes that, allowing the choice of the older Windows 10 taskbar. Download and install from https://github.com/valinet/ExplorerPatcher.

The Windows 11 File Explorer has a new, shorter, default context menu. It takes an extra click to get the old one. It’s possible to restore the old one with a registry hack (insert dire warning about hacking the registry here). Over at How-To-Geek somebody worked this out.

Run this registry file to re-enable the Windows 10 context menus.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}]
@=""

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
@=""

Run this one to restore the default Windows 11 behavior.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}]

Notice that you have to reboot before the context menus change.

Why did they do this? They claim it puts less work on the File Explorer program. But, but, I splutter, they require highly capable machines to run Windows 11. Isn’t putting less work on Windows’ users more important as putting less work on the machine? If we wanted to minimize the machine workload, wouldn’t we run nothing but command-line programs, or even just use Linux?

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