Too Much Inconsistency in Windows 10 Context Menus

Most of us have already started using Microsoft's new operating system Windows 10 and if you are not using Windows 10, you might have read a lot about the OS at our website as well as other websites on the big Internet.

Windows 10 comes with many new features, improvements and UI changes. Microsoft has made lots of changes to Windows 10 theme, icons and other areas such as Login Screen, Action Center, etc.

But there is one annoying thing in Windows 10 which irritates me a lot. Today in this topic, I'm going to talk about that annoying thing.

Did you know Windows 10 comes with more than 8 types of context menus (right-click menus)? Yes, you heard it right. Although Microsoft has tried to provide a consistent user interface in Windows 10 but it seems they ignored the context menu area in Windows 10.

There are so many types of context menu present in Windows 10 that you can't even imagine. For your reading pleasure, we are going to list all different context menus we found in Windows 10.

So without wasting time lets start the tour of context menus in Windows 10:

1. Default Context Menu

Following is the default context menu which appears when you right-click on Desktop or in Windows Explorer or any other area:


Microsoft has tried to make the default context menu modern style in Windows 10 but to be honest I liked the previous context menu present in Windows 8/8.1 a lot:


Windows 8/8.1 context menu looks very neat and clean. On the other hand, Windows 10 context menu looks like a skinned menu. It looks like someone has applied a 3rd party skin such as WindowBlinds skin to context menus in Windows 10.

But that's my personal opinion. Many people may like the new context menu in Windows 10.

Related Read:

[Windows 10 Tip] Restore Classic Context Menu in Explorer and Desktop

[Tip] Get Rid of Dark Context Menu in Windows 10 Taskbar

2. Start Menu Context Menu

As we know Windows 10 comes with a brand new Start Menu developed in XAML. If you right-click in Start Menu, you get a totally different context menu as shown in following image:


In my opinion, Microsoft should have used the default context menu in Start Menu as well. Microsoft tried to use a modern app style context menu in Start Menu which fails in consistency department.

Also one more annoyance! As you know, we can use accent color on Start Menu and Taskbar using Settings -> Personalization -> Colors option as mentioned here but even if you set any desired color on Start Menu, the context menu remains dark as shown in following image:


That's really a big UI issue. The context menu background color should automatically change to match Start Menu color.

3. Notification Area (System Tray) Context Menu

Try to right-click on an icon in Taskbar notification area (System Tray) such as Volume, Network or Action Center icon. You'll get another context menu which is not the default context menu:


Look closely at the background color as well as the highlight color when you move the cursor through various options present in context menu. The colors are different than the default context menu colors.

The same context menu is shown in Explorer titlebar and inside 3rd party software programs.

4. This PC Ribbon Context Menu

Now open This PC (Windows Explorer or My Computer) and right-click on the Ribbon toolbar and you'll get another new type of context menu:


Microsoft is using the same Office style context menu on Ribbon since the release of Windows 8. They should update the context menu to match the default context menu style.

5. Modern (Metro) Apps Context Menu

Open any modern app such as Microsoft Edge web browser and right-click on an empty area, you'll get another context menu:


This context menu is used in modern apps only.

6. Modern Apps Text Box Context Menu

Open any modern app and right-click in a text box. For example open Microsoft Edge browser and right-click in address bar and you'll get another new context menu:


This context menu appears when you right-click in a text box mostly search box. This context menu was present in Windows 8/8.1 Start Screen.

The same context menu also appears if you right-click in search results such as Cortana, etc.

7. Taskbar Icons Context Menu (Jumplist)

If you right-click on a program icon in Taskbar to access its jumplist, you'll get a different context menu:


Similar to Start menu context menu, the jumplist background color also doesn't change if you change Start Menu and Taskbar color. It always remains dark.

8. Classic Context Menus

Some 3rd party programs still show classic context menu similar to Windows 98/XP style in Windows 10. For example, when we right-clicked on FeedDemon program icon in Windows 10 notification area, we got another type of context menu i.e. classic context menu:


=== === === === === === === === ===

Phew!!! These are the different context menus which we noticed in Windows 10. If you know about any other context menu, feel free to share it with us and we'll add it to the list.

Microsoft! Please fix the context menus in Windows 10 and use a single context menu in all places. Thank you.

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Posted in: Windows 10

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  • I read in news that future builds would have an improved icons and context menu as well.But they will of course not merge them all.
    Sometimes I think that they have got some apple subversives on board who just screw up with things so that people can easily move onto Macs.

  • Too much inconsistency xD

    The new insider build seem they enlargement height menu space between item, make problem when my explorer plugins have too much right click menu xD

  • Don't forget that right click menu animation is inconsistent too. I hope to see they fixed that problem too

  • My system tray menus and ribbon context menus are different from yours VG! They're both the same and look like the example shown in Fig.4 above.

    I wonder if my past custom themes have migrated to Windows 10 causing this anomaly?

  • VG

    @Chris (Slinky Grafix)
    Yes. 3rd party themes can modify these context menus.

    I agree.

    Yes. New builds will feature new icons.

  • Great article. This article should definitely be tweeted to Microsoft's Gabe Aul.

  • I saw that "Modern Apps Text Box Context Menu" mentioned above is not only a modern apps context menu but also it is appearing when you right click on any app, folder or document in start menu search result.

    Also, only the 'Resize' option in "Start Menu Context Menu" is of the same accent color.

    In my opinion we can ignore point 5, because Google Chrome also have it's own context menu.

    PS: I want to know if there exists a registry hack or any other trick to set the context menu mentioned in point 3 as default menu in all areas of desktop and explorer.

  • MS has created some new "suggestion box" web sites for various products:
    • - Office in general

    Hint: you may want to do an article about these suggestion box sites. Frankly I believe they are only connected to MS's private "black hole", but who knows, maybe someone in power actually reads them ... (I can always hope, being an optimistic pessimist (today, tomorrow I'll be a pessimistic optimist ... ) )

    I submitted a link to this article in the Windows on. Someone had already made the suggestion and had received over 6300 votes (most I've seen for any suggestion yet!).

  • **A different (pin to start) menu (like of point 5) is appearing when you right click on any entry of setting....

  • Hi , VG ...
    i active my windows 10 with skype . how can I back up windows Activation ?

    and did you try Ashampoo AntiSpy for Windows 10 ?

    Thanks .

  • Agreed. Altogether the GUI design in Windows became misguided in '8' with the Start Screen and the many inconsistencies that emerged with the so-called 'Legacy Desktop'.

    Personally, I think the design of the new 'Start' menu in '10' insults the intelligence of Windows users and remedy the situation with Classic Shell's 'Classic Start Menu'.

    But other details are as annoying as your several flavors of Context Menu. One that I find incomprehensible: Black text and smallish icons on the running application buttons of Taskbar. Much better — easier to recognize / read — design in '8.1'.

    I will not write about the aesthetic / ergonomic disaster of white title bars . . .

    Thanks for you many excellent articles and instructions!

  • it's too annoying and ugly .. they should to use a single context menu in all places

  • Hi all and gratz VG for all your work on this awesome site !

    Nothing related with the subject but I wanted to tell you Quizo updated his famous QTTABbar on 25 th august 2015 for windows 10 ( version 1029 )

    it is incredibly stable and rock solid

    you get still tabs but the features are simply gorgeous !! ( app launcher when clicking on desktop - tabs - text and pictures preview with mouse hover when details view , very useful instead of switching to thumbnails , and even videos preview as LIVE thumbnails ! ( there are keyboard controls to pause or forward the video .. amazing )

    you get an arrow next to ALL folders - drives having sub folders and then have a cascading menu of all of them !

    give a look and you won't go back to windows 10 explorer without qttab as extension



  • In the last windows 10 build (10586), Micro$oft even change the style of the taskbar context menu....

    I've made a small program that allows people to restore its style to the system default style.(Depends on your system theme, if using the default theme, the menu will look like the system menu of most applications, if using the "lite" theme, it will be very similar to the Windows 8/8.1 style)

  • @askvg
    In 2. Start Menu Context Menu
    How did you get that menu?
    cause i get a menu which has 3 options
    1)Unpin from start
    3)More>(which has the remaining options)
    How to get rid of more and have just a normal menu?

  • VG

    ^^ That screenshot was taken from RTM build. Unfortunately Microsoft has changed it in November Update build and later.

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