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Fix Grayed-Out Start Button Right-Click
'Open' and 'Explore' Menu Items


You may be living with this problem because it's minor. But the fix is in, and it's easy. So why not take matters into your own hands?

By Scot Finnie

Tweak UI can cause the Open and Explore items on your Start button's Context menu to go prematurely gray. In other words, it can render those functions unusable. When they work, those menu items open the folder that corresponds to your Start menu. In my book, that's the fastest way to do serious Start Menu customizing. Literally thousands of people have found the instructions on this page useful. Here's the solution.

The context menu items gray out if you remove any check mark on Tweak UI's My Computer tab. And the fix is simply to make sure every drive letter (from A: to Z:) listed on that tab has a check mark beside it. I first discovered the problem and its solution in 1998. During the year that followed, I tested fix instructions on several hundred Windows Insider users. The result is the revised instructions that follow, which will work for you.

The easiest method for reinstating the Open and Explore items on your Start button's Context menu items requires Tweak UI. In case you no longer have Tweak UI installed on your system, I'm also providing a Registry-editing method.

If You Have Tweak UI Installed

Open the Tweak UI control panel. Click the My Computer tab. Every disk drive letter you see listed in that window should have a check mark beside it. Scroll through and place a check mark in every empty box and then click the OK button. Reboot your computer, and when you right-click your Start button, you should find the Open and Explore menu items fully functional.

If You Don't Have Tweak UI Installed

I'm not providing detailed instructions on how to edit your Registry. If this is the first time you've ever attempted to edit your Registry, I strongly recommend that you instead install Tweak UI and use the first method. You can download the 1.33 version of Tweak UI from this page:

  • Step-by-Step: How to Install Tweak UI 1.33

    Okay, so throwing caution to the wind, let's edit the Registry. Make sure to back up your Registry files (SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT). Open the System Registry Editor. On the left pane, navigate to this Registry subkey:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    \Policies\Explorer

    You should find a NoDrives Binary value (blue-and-white icon) entry there in the right pane. Under the data heading, you'll find a non-zero numerical entry. Perhaps something like: 02 00 00 00. To activate the Open and Explore items, this number should be all zeroes. To change it, double-click the NoDrives icon. Highlight the part that isn't zero and press the zero button. When you're done, it should look like either:

    00 00 00 00  or  0x00000000(0).

    Click OK and close the System Registry Editor. Some people have to restart before the change takes effect.