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What Is Essential ShellExt?

Essential ShellExt makes Windows Explorer easier and more efficient to use, by adding useful features to the context menu (the menu that is displayed by right-clicking an object in Explorer.) I've found each of the added features to be highly useful under a variety of circumstances. Each provides a fast way to do something that might otherwise be tedious, and/or require several steps.

Essential ShellExt is a shell extension that can add up to four context menu items, depending upon the way you configure Essential ShellExt and upon the type of object for which a context menu is retrieved. The table below lists the possible menu additions, and their applicability:

Menu Item

Added to Files'
context menu

Added to Folders'
context menu

Uses multiple

Copy File Name[s]




Open with Notepad




Console Here





Essential ShellExt is freeware!

Download Installer (32 bit)
Download Installer (64 bit)

Essential ShellExt Menu Items

Essential ShellExt's Configuration utility allows you to choose which, of the items below, will be added to context menus.

Copy File Name[s]

Copys the full path name of the selected objects to the clip board. If there multiple objects are selected when Copy File Name[s] is invoked, it copies the names of all selected objects. It can be configured to delimit the names with commas or semi-colons, and/or new lines, and/or each name can be enclosed in double-quotes. The order of the items is determined by the system.

Open with Notepad…

This feature provides a quick and easy way to open any file with Notepad. If multiple files are selected, the user is prompted to confirm the action, and each selected file is opened with a separate instance of Notepad. (Related topics: A note about multiple selections.)

Console Here

Opens a console prompt (aka, a DOS window) and sets the current working directory to correspond with the folder item that was right-clicked.


Why use Essential ShellExt?

The following describes some of the situations under which each of the Essential ShellExt features may be useful, convenient or time-saving:

Why use Copy File Name[s]

Imagine you've just found a file or directory you were looking for, using Explorer and/or the Find File tool. Now you need the name of that file, to enter into the File Open dialog, as an argument on a command line, etc. Which is more of a drag: typing it in by hand, or navigating through the directory tree to find it a second time? Even worse, if you need to change to a directory from a console prompt -- ugh, that can be painful!

Why use Open w/Notepad?

You want to view a file -- any file -- with a simple text viewer/editor, regardless of it's extension and/or registered handler.

Scenario 1:

The file doesn't already have a registered handler, and you don't want to go through the Open As... drill, scroll down ten times to find and execute notepad -- plus you have no desire to register this file's type as yet another that is handled by notepad.

Scenario 2:

The file doesn't have an extension (e.g., README) so you can't register it's type as yet another that is handled by notepad. Again you are left with Open As...

Scenario 3:

The file does have a handler, but you don't want to open it using that handler. Perhaps the registered handler is unable to open the file, because it was created by an app other than the registered handler, or the file has become corrupted. Perhaps you're merely curious, or for whatever other reason, you want to see inside the file.

Why use Console Here?

Imagine you've found some directory using Explorer, and now you need to open a console window (aka, DOS window) with the current working directory set to the one you have just found. By hand this can be a hassle, but Console Here makes this as easy as a mouse click.

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