Microsoft Is Bringing An Improved Context Menu To Windows 11

Windows 11 New context menuWindows 11 New context menu

Key Points

  • Windows 11 Preview Build 26058 has added labels to the action icons in the contextual menu.

When Microsoft first launched Windows 11 in 2021, they changed many things that seemed out of order, especially for Windows 10 users. This included the new context menu where you had to click “Show more options” to see the full menu items.

Now, with the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview release, Microsoft is making changes to the context menu again . With the recent release of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26058 to the Dev and Canary channels, Microsoft has made a change to the context menu that some users might appreciate.

Microsoft adds icon labels to Windows 11 context menu

Redesigned context menu with icon description
Redesigned context menu with icon description

As can be seen in the image above, Microsoft has finally added labels to the icons that appear at the top of the context menu. The labels are descriptive as to what each button does. Previously, these icons/buttons were without labels, and seemingly confusing. Users often got confused as to what each button did.

The icons in the context menu differ depending on what you right-clicked, and what options you have in real-time. For example, if nothing is copied to the clipboard, the “Paste” option will not appear. Some of the other icons/buttons that appear inside the Windows 11 context menu include Cut, Copy, Rename, Share, and Delete.

In Windows 10, these elements were used to separate fields in the context menu, but Microsoft deemed it better to be standalone buttons. However, everything was not converted to buttons with Windows 11 – only the actions that were commonly used.

How to get context menu with icon labels

At the moment, the new context menu for Windows 11 is only available for the latest Windows 11 Preview Build 26058.

If you want to experience the new context menu, you can update to build 26058 by subscribing to the Windows Insider Program and installing the update through Windows Update, or by performing a clean install using the ISO image for Preview Build 26058 that Microsoft recently made available.

Update to Windows 11 Build 26058 from Windows Update

To use the latest Windows 11 context menu right now, you must be subscribed to the Dev or Canary Insider channel. But even before that, your Microsoft account should be registered for the Windows Insider Program.

If registered, here are the steps to join either of Windows insider channels:

  1. In a Windows 11 PC , open the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + i.

  2. Click “Windows Update” on the left.

  3. Then click “Windows Insider Program“.

    Open Windows Insider Program settings
    Open Windows Insider Program settings
  4. Click “Get Started“.

    Get started with Windows Insider Program
    Get started with Windows Insider Program
  5. Click “Link an account“.

    Link a Microsoft account
    Link a Microsoft account
  6. Now log in with the Microsoft account registered with the Windows Insider Program .

  7. Next, select either the Dev channel or the Canary channel, and click Continue.

    Select an insider channel
    Select an insider channel
  8. Click Continue twice to confirm.

  9. Click “Restart now“.

  10. Once the computer restarts, return to the “Windows Updates” settings page and click “Check for updates“.

    Check for updates on Windows 11
    Check for updates on Windows 11
  11. Install any pending pending updates and restart the PC again.

    This should include the Windows 11 Insider Preview Update 26058 .

After performing the steps above, you can check that your OS has been updated to Windows 11 24H2 by running the following command inside the Run Command box:

WinVer
Windows 11 Build 26058 installed successfully
Windows 11 Build 26058 installed successfully

Download Windows 11 Build 26058 ISO image

The other way to try out the new Windows 11 context menu is by downloading the ISO file for Preview Build 26058 and then performing a clean install. Here is how to download the image:

  1. Open the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page.

  2. Click the “Sign in” button in the top-right corner.

    Sign into Windows Insider Preview Downloads website
    Sign into the Windows Insider Preview Downloads website
  3. Enter your Microsoft account credentials registered with the Insider program and sign in.

  4. Now scroll down and select “Windows 11 Insider Preview (Canary Channel) – Build 26058“, and then click Confirm.

    Note: The build number for the ISO may have changed when you are downloading it. Make sure that the build number is higher than “26058”.

    Select the Windows 11 24H2 ISO build
    Select the Windows 11 24H2 ISO build
  5. Now select a preferred language from the drop-down and click Confirm.

    Select a language 2
    Select a language
  6. Now click “64-bit Download“.

    Download Windows 11 24H2 ISO image
    Download Windows 11 24H2 ISO image

The ISO image file should now begin downloading. Once downloaded, continue to create a bootable media and perform a clean Windows installation.

Ending thoughts

I have tested out the new context menu for Windows 11 and it works fine. I also tested it in other languages, and it worked well for me. However, there are reports that the context menu breaks for some users when using it in different languages. Maybe it has a problem with specific language packs only.

New Windows 11 context menu with icon labels in Chinese
New Windows 11 context menu with icon labels in Chinese
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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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