CMenuExtender can add a range of options to Windows Explorer context menu. (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

There aren't many options for Windows users who want to alter Windows Explorer context menus. One imperfect, though reasonable choice is the CMenuExtender. The application lets users customize choices within the context menu.

The application is compatible with all versions of Microsoft operating systems from Windows 95 through Vista. This application can't edit existing context menu options, however, it is customizable. If users find a method of removing other options that are cluttering up their menu, they can load the ones they need with this editor.

The undeveloped interface presents a work flow challenge when using this application. (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

To use the application, start by clicking either the New Menu or New Item buttons. New Item will add the option users create directly to the main context menu, while New Menu will create a submenu. If users create a menu, they will need to add new items within it.

The New Item options are quite thorough. Users can move or copy selected items to a named folder, or choose the folder at will, insert a time stamp, e-mail the selected item, show the item path, display properties, open a "Start program..." window to choose an application, launch a specific program or Web page, and more. In addition to setting separators, users can create custom commands--although that feature requires some programming knowledge.

This application lets users set a number of context menu options. (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

CMenuExtender suffers from a name that's not simple enough, and an interface that's too simple. Although I appreciate the lack of drag on my RAM, this application could do with a bit of polish. It also needs a clear list of instructions on how to use it. Even in an application with a feature list as unembellished as this one, there's no reason to create an interface that inspires boredom.

Even more importantly, it would be great to see future versions of this application with the capability to remove previously added options from the context menu, and create customizable application-specific context menus. For now, though, a fearless attitude and brave adjusting of previously installed applications will have to do. Most power users should be able to eke out what they need from CMenuExtender, but this is definitely not for beginners.