File Explorer simply refers to the files and folders on your drive, that you regularly interact with in windows on the desktop – that’s how central it is to the Windows 11 experience, and now a new gremlin in the works is slowing down performance when the context menu is invoked.
The context menu appears when you right click on a file or folder (or the desktop itself), giving you a bunch of further possible context-sensitive actions to take.
Windows Latest reports that the bug is related to the changes with File Explorer whereby Microsoft has altered the way the context menu works in Windows 11 to trim down the number of options presented when right-clicking, prioritizing the most commonly-used options to appear as icons at the top of the list.
Apparently, though, sluggish performance is an unwanted side-effect here, and one Windows 11 user complained of noticeable delays when using the context menu (via the Feedback Hub). They observed: “There’s a delay of 1/2 second in most cases, but also sometimes you can see it start to open, then flicker as it has to readjust the size to reflect the options. Just seems sloppy.”
Another user reported: “Opening the context menu is slow and after it opens about half the items are stuck ‘loading’ for a few seconds … the old menu [had] twice as many menu items, but it at least loaded instantly.”
It’s also worth noting that the bug seems to have more impact on lower-end PCs.
However, the good news is that a fix has actually been implemented, and it’s already being tested in preview versions of Windows 11. Windows Latest asserts that the solution is present in preview build 22478.
Analysis: Microsoft needs to wake up fast from this file exploring nightmare
Windows 11 has been a bit of a nightmare for File Explorer bugs since the OS was released. Straight off the bat, there were issues with a File Explorer memory leak dragging down system performance, and then more leakage around the command bar (at the top of folder windows) causing slowdowns (with users running into trouble when dragging over files with a box to select them, too).
Those issues are being fixed in preview build 22478, as well as this fresh context menu bug, so that will hopefully prove to be a panacea for all these File Explorer-related hiccups soon enough when all this comes to the release version of Windows 11.
Microsoft certainly needs to get these fixes right, because they pertain to the overall responsiveness of the operating system, and user perception of how Windows 11 runs in general. If there are continued problems around these basic aspects of the OS, that’s really not going to reflect well on the software giant.
If you need help troubleshooting Microsoft's OS, by the way, check out our excellent resource on Windows 11 problems and how to fix the most common issues.