Two recent Insider releases, Windows 11 Build 25314 (Canary) and Build 23403 (Dev), bring access key hits to the context menu in File Explorer. When opened from the keyboard, the menu will display the key shrotcuts that you can press to trigger this or that action. This feature is rolling out gradually, so it may take some time before you see it on your PC. But you can speed up this process and enable it right now.
Like any other hidden feature, you can enable it with help of ViveTool. The ViveTool app is a freeware open-source software that manages the Windows Component Store that can switch the feature state. Microsoft often includes unfinished features in Insider builds that one can activate and give them a try.
For other features, Microsoft performs testing among select groups of Insiders to collect feedback and learn about possible bugs and usability issues. That's why the company is using gradual rollouts before making them available to a wide audience. So even if you run the most recent Dev or Canary builds, you may not see all the announced features on your device.
This is exactly the case of access keys in File Explorer context menus. Here's how to enable them.
Enable Access Keys in File Explorer for Context Menu
- Download ViveTool from GitHub.
- Extract the downloaded ZIP archive to the c:\vivetool folder for convenient access to the app.
- Right-click the Start button with the Windows logo in the taskbar and select Terminal(Admin).
- Finally, type the following command to enable the access keys feature:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:39696859.
- Now restart Windows 11 to apply the change.
You are done! The feature is now enabled.
How to see the access key hints
To see the key hints, do the following.
- Open File Explorer, and select some file, folder or drive.
- On the keyboard, press the dedicated menu key. It is usually located between the rightmost Alt and Ctrl keys.
- Once the context menu opens, press any letter key to make the hints appear.
#1 Pressing a letter key is required in the mentioned pre-release builds. Due to a bug, they do not appear automatically. This will be fixed in forthcoming builds.
#2 The keys only appear when you open the menu using the dedicated key on the keyboard. They won't appear if you right-click a file. Perhaps this will be fixed as well.
H/t to @PhantomOfEarth
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