by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 18, 2016)
If you right-click on an open area of the Desktop, you'll see a Context menu that includes the "New" menu item. By hovering your mouse over "New," a submenu appears, allowing you to create various items (e.g., a Microsoft Word document, a text document, etc.). (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Desktop's 'New' menu before changes.
Even though the screen grabs for this tip were done on a Windows 7 system, the "New" submenu also exists in later versions of Windows. It's possible to add your own document types to the "New" menu—regardless of your version of Windows—if you don't mind editing the Registry.
As an example, let's say that I have an application that processes JPEG files that have a special file extension of ".bdd". I therefore want to be able to right-click the Desktop and create a new .bdd file.
To do this, click the Start button, type "regedit" (without the quotes), and press Enter. This launches the Registry Editor. (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2. The Windows Registry Editor.
In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and create a new key named .bdd. Set the value of its (Default) to be Bdd.Document. Create a sub-key to .bdd named ShellNew. In ShellNew create two string items named ~NullFile and NullFile. They should be empty.
Navigate again to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and create a new key named Bdd.Document. Set the value of its (Default) to be JPEG File. Create a sub-key under Bdd.Document named DefaultIcon, and set the value of its (Default) to be the file name of the icon you want to appear in the New menu. Exit the Registry Editor.
You may need to reboot or at least restart Explorer, but after you do you'll have a new item listed in the Desktop's New menu. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 3. The Desktop's 'New' menu after changes.
This tip (5836) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
Having problems getting Windows to start properly? You can try to track down what is causing the problem by using the ...Discover More
When you shut down your system, you normally use the Power button that is visible after you click the Start button. You ...Discover More
If you don't like the name that was assigned to your computer when it was put together, it's pretty easy to change. This ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."