Microsoft has explained in an official blog post that Windows 11 right-click context and sharing menus were redesigned to resolve many issues with Windows 10 menus. Microsoft claims that the redesigned right-click context sensitive menus make working faster by bringing “more commonly” used commands near the point where right-click is invoked.

Here is how and what (Microsoft thinks) Windows 11 right-click context menus resolve in terms of Windows 10 menu issues.

As useful as the Windows 10 context menu is, there are aspects of its design we sought to improve in Windows 11.

  • The most common commands – cut, copy, paste, delete, and rename – are far from the mouse pointer, touch point, or pen.
  • The menu is exceptionally long. It has grown in an unregulated environment for 20 years, since Windows XP, when IContextMenu was introduced.
  • It includes commands which are rarely used.
  • Commands that should be grouped together – such as Open and Open with – are sometimes far apart.
  • Commands added by apps have no common organizational schema and can interrupt sections of inbox commands.
  • Commands added by apps are not attributable to the app itself.
  • Many commands run in-process in Explorer, which can cause performance and reliability issues.

The Windows 11 context menu addresses these problems in the following ways:

  • Common commands are placed right next to where the menu is invoked.
  • “Open” and “Open with” are grouped together.
  • Apps extend the menu with IExplorerCommand + app identity. Unpackaged Win32 apps can use Sparse Manifests. IExplorerCommand support extends back to Windows 7.
  • App extensions are grouped together below Shell verbs.
  • Cloud Files provider apps are placed next to the Shell commands to hydrate or dehydrate the file.
  • Apps with more than 1 verb are grouped into a flyout with app attribution.
  • “Show more options” loads the Windows 10 context menu as-is for access to low-use Shell verbs and apps still working on porting over. No commands have been removed entirely.
  • Shift-F10 or the keyboard menu key will also load the Windows 10 context menu.
For sharing menu, Microsoft has highlighted ease of use and control as the major improvements Windows 11 brings over Windows 10.

The share dialog has also been improved in Windows 11. 

  • Nearby sharing is now much easier to use, with easy control over your discoverability setting up top and a link to more settings in the footer of the dialog.
  • If you use the Mail app, the first entry in the contacts list helps you easily send an email to yourself.
  • All apps can now participate in the Share dialog as targets. For unpackaged Win32 apps, this is covered in the same sample as the context menu. PWAs installed through Microsoft Edge are also supported if they implement the Web Share Target API.
Microsoft has also explained to developers that they can choose to extend these menus to their apps.
Windows 11 brings refinement to contextual file operations in the right-click context menu and share dialog. These are extensible by apps, including unpackaged Win32 apps.