How to Fix Cannot Right-click on Desktop in Windows 10

Windows might misbehave and prevent you from right-clicking on the desktop. Here’s how to fix cannot right-click on the desktop in Windows 10.

Recently, I encountered a strange problem where I cannot right-click on the desktop in Windows 10. I can still use the Shift + F10 shortcut to open the desktop context menu, though. However, compared to the habitual mouse click, the keyboard shortcut is a bit awkward. Thankfully, it is quite easy to fix the problem. If you ever face this situation, here’s how to fix the problem in Windows 10.

There are a variety of things that can cause right-click problems in Windows 10. As such, there are multiple ways to fix the problem. I will show four different ways you can fix the “cannot right-click on desktop” problem.

Follow the below methods one after the other until the problem is fixed. Alternatively, you can use the jump links below to quickly navigate to the method you want.

Jump to:

1. Turn Off the Tablet Mode

Windows 10’s built-in tablet mode is quite useful for touchscreen-enabled computers like the Surface Pro. When the tablet mode is turned on, Windows 10 automatically adjusts the screen to be tablet-friendly. As a result, you cannot right-click on the desktop from time to time. So, the first and foremost thing you should do is turn off the Tablet Mode or make sure it is turned off.

turn off tablet mode to fix right-click not working on desktop

The Tablet mode is turned off by default. However, Windows might turn on the tablet mode automatically under certain circumstances. On the other hand, considering how the tablet mode option is placed in the action center, it is quite possible that you’ve turned it on accidentally. If that’s the case, you can turn off tablet mode entirely to get your desktop back and right-click working. Here is how.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “System > Tablet Mode” page.
  3. Select “Never use tablet mode” from the drop-down menu under “When I sign in.”
  4. Select “Don’t switch to tablet mode” under “When I use this device as a tablet.”
  5. Close the Settings app.
  6. Restart Windows 10.

That is all. You should now have the desktop mode back and be able to right-click on it.

2. Run DISM Tool to Fix Cannot Right-Click On Desktop

Sometimes, corrupted system files can be a reason for the right-click problems in Windows 10. In that case, running the DISM command allows you to scan the computer for corrupted system files and fix them automatically. Here is how to use it.

  1. Open the start menu.
  2. Search for “Command Prompt.”
  3. Right-click on it and select “Run as administrator.”
    Windows 10 cannot right click on desktop 03
  4. In the command prompt window, execute the below command.
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
    Windows 10 cannot right click on desktop 04
  5. Next, execute the below command.
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
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  6. After scanning, close the CMD window.
  7. Reboot Windows.

That is all. The above commands will scan your system and restore any corrupted files. This should fix the desktop nonfunctional right-click issue.

3. Modifying Registry to Enable Right-click on Desktop

A misconfigured registry value called NoViewContextMenu may be the cause for you not being able to right-click on Windows 10 desktop. If that’s the case, modifying the said value should enable right-click on the desktop.

  1. Open the start menu.
  2. Search for regedit and open it.
    Windows 10 cannot right click on desktop 06
  3. Paste the below path in the address bar and press Enter.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  4. On the right panel, double-click on the “NoViewContextMenu” value.
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  5. Type “0” in the value data field.
  6. Click on the “Ok” button.
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  7. Close registry editor.
  8. Reboot Windows.

After rebooting, the desktop right-click problem should be fixed.

4. Delete ContextMenuHandler Registry Keys

Keys and Values created by other apps can sometimes be in conflict with the desktop right-click functionality. To fix this, you can delete all the keys other than the one that comes with Windows 10. Here is how to do it.

Before making changes back up the registry. If your system misbehaves after deleting the keys, you can restore the backup and get your system up and running.

  1. Open the start menu.
  2. Search for regedit and open it.
    Windows 10 cannot right click on desktop 06
  3. Go to the following location.
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
  4. Expand “ContextMenuHandlers” key.
  5. Excluding the below-listed folders, delete all the other folders under the “ContextMenuHandlers” key. To delete a folder, right-click on it and select the “Delete” option. If you see a warning prompt, click “Yes.”
    • FileSyncEx
    • New
    • Sharing
    • WorkFolders
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  6. Once the folders are deleted, this is how it should look like in the Registry Editor.
    Windows 10 cannot right click on desktop 10
  7. Close registry editor.
  8. Reboot Windows.

That is all. After rebooting, the right-click problem should be fixed.

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