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Open With sub-menu which contains the drop-down list of programs, is missing for all the file types?

Published: June 20, 2005
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When you right-click a file-type, you'll see the Open With context menu, which further expands and shows a drop-down list of possible applications that can open the particular file type. (Fig 1 shows the normal Open With menu)

Fig 1: The Open With menu expanded

In my Windows XP system, the drop-down did not appear, regardless of the file type that I tried to open. Fig 2 explains the problem.

Generally, this happens with the OpenWithList and the OpenWithProgID values are missing for that particular file-type.

But in my case, this happened to all the file types. The OpenWithList and the OpenWithProgID were not empty as I checked under the Fileext reg key. After working with the registry, I found that the openas entry that I added earlier in the following location was causing the problem:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell\openas\command

(The openas command when implemented in the above registry key, adds the Open With option for ALL the file types)

After removing the openas entry, Open With functionality was reinstated.

Note: If you're experiencing this problem, try the above steps. Before that, export the above key to a file, or take a complete registry backup (System Restore will be sufficient) or using ERUNT

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  3. Clear "Open With" listings
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