Solved

Windows 7 Contextual Menu quit

Posted on 2014-12-30
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Last Modified: 2015-01-02
Hi, my contextual menu has disappeared.  It doesn't matter if I am trying to right click in Word, my email, the desktop, or here on this page.  The only time I can get it to work is when I restart the computer (but it only last a little while) and then it's gone.  How can I get it back?
Thanks
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Question by:camtz
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40525017
My first thought is hardware problem — faulty mouse button, bad cable, poor connection, etc. But before saying it's a hardware problem, it would be helpful to know what the hardware is that you're right-clicking on. Laptop touchpad/stick mouse buttons? External USB or PS2 mouse? If so, is it programmable? External trackball? Keyboard with built-in mouse buttons? Does the mouse have its own drivers (like Synaptics) or is it simply Plug and Play? Etc. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40525341
After checking hardware possibilities, if you are still having issues, run System File Checker.

Open an admin command prompt and run SFC /SCANNOW twice. Allow to complete, restart and test.

Also scan completely for viruses and malware.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 40525545
camtz--
I am not sure I know what you mean by "contextual menu", but perhaps this might help you restore the menus permanently
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/28677-new-context-menu-remove-restore-default-menu-items.html
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40527121
To be more clear, when I right click my trackpad on my desktop, I should see a menu pop up which gives me the option to create a new folder.  In Microsoft Outlook, it should pull up a menu that let's me create a new rule, etc.  I do not use any external hardware.  Only the trackpad on my Dell laptop.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40527125
Set up a new, test Windows User Account. Log in as the new Account and try the context menu inside a new account. Does it work this way?
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40527127
John, I just tried to run SFC /SCANNOW and for a milisecond, I saw a black window on the screen and it quickly went away.  I did it a couple of more times with the same result.  How can I fix this?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40527131
If you opened a command prompt (black window) and then run SFC /SCANNOW and (a) if goes away in a hurry and (b) [important] the windows stays open, then there is something wrong with the operating system.

Let's verify the above first because if SFC will not run, then we are looking at a Windows 7 Repair Install.  You need the Windows 7 DVD and here is a Seven Forums Tutorial to assist.

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html

Let's verify SFC behaviour first.
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40527142
I just opened my mouse in the Control panel and I got this window.  See pick
Screen-Shot.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40527145
Is this a Dell computer?  The Dell Software Support site will have a mouse driver for the track pad.

The proper mouse driver should allow a USB mouse to be used instead. I do this with my ThinkPad.
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40527168
Just to confuse everyone a little more, I just rebooted my laptop and the contextual menu is currently working everywhere.  I checked it on the desktop and explorer and its working properly.  The question is FOR HOW LONG?  I will keep an eye on it and see when it decides to quit.  There could be a program interfering with it I suppose???
Regarding the black window, that is definitely not working.  Getting the same results.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40527170
Regarding the black window, [SFC] is definitely not working.

So there is definitely something wrong with the computer. The only way I know (short of reinstalling Windows) is to run Windows 7 Repair Install.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40527173
Also back to an earlier post of mine, Try the mouse (context menu) AND SFC in a new, test Windows User Account. This is easy to test. It could be a damaged profile that you have. Making a new profile is a bother but fairly easy to accomplish.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40528098
> when I right click my trackpad on my desktop
> the trackpad on my Dell laptop

Which is it — desktop or laptop? Since you're saying "trackpad", I'm guessing it's a laptop, and your screenshot shows Synaptics (as I mentioned in my first post about Synaptics drivers).

Look in Control Panel>Mouse — if your Synaptics driver is properly installed, you should have a Device Settings tab like this:

Mouse Properties - Device Settings - Synaptics - W7
If you don't have that, then download the Synaptics driver from the Dell support website. Be sure to pick the right one for your laptop and version of Windows. Even if you do have it, I recommend updating to the latest driver.

After installing the latest Synaptics driver, if your touchpad still has intermittent failures, then it's likely a hardware problem. I would replace the touchpad, which probably means the whole keyboard (but if it's still under Dell warranty, that should be covered). Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 40528135
camtz--
It seems you have progressed passed the problem with the New context menu, but did you ever try the suggestion I made in http:#a40525545  which addresses the original New context menu problem directly?
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40528238
Joe, thanks for staying with me.  What I have is a Dell Laptop.  I opened my mouse in control panel and the first thing I noticed is that I do not have a Device Tab such as yours.  I am attaching two picks but for some reason my picks don't show up here unless you double click on them but please look at them and see if you can figure out why I don't have that tab. Thanks
Screen-Shot-1.jpg
Screen-Shot.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40528296
Seems that Dell may have customized the Synaptics driver. My guess is that your first tab, Dell Touchpad, is the equivalent of my Device Settings tab, but I could be wrong about that. If it is, you should be able to set various options. My dialogs look like this:

Synaptics touchpad propertiesSynaptics touchpad button properties
When you click your Dell Touchpad tab, what's there?
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40528303
> but for some reason my picks don't show up here unless you double click on them

Oops, I meant to explain this to you. That's because you attached the image (via Attach File) instead of embedding it (via the Insert Image icon on the toolbar). Here's a quick-read EE article that explains it all:
How to Embed Screenshots in Posts

Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40528427
Thanks for the lesson on embedding screenshots.  Now let me tell you what I have just figured out.  After experimenting for a while, I finally figured out why I loose the Contextual Menu.  I opened several things in the control panel ie;  Device Manager, Sound, Task Bar and others and each time, I closed the control panel and the contextual menu was working.  It was ONLY when I opened the Mouse control panel that I would no longer have it work.  I tried it a couple of times and that is definitely what it's causing it.  You are right about the Syn optics touch pad properties however, mine looks different than yours.  Weired thing is that all I had to do to loose the contextual menu was to open the mouse - nothing more.  I just opened the window and closed it and that caused me to loose the contextual menu.  I use Windows 7 Home Premium version on a Dell Inspirion N4110.  Apparently I bought it at Best Buy because a have three (3) recovery disc in the file from Geek Squad and I also have a disc from Dell called Drivers and utilities.  I bought it several years ago so I am sure it is no longer covered by warranty.  I wonder If I should 1) figure out how to identify the driver for the mouse and 2) if I should try to re-install it from Dell's disc? Thanks
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40528437
I wonder If I should 1) figure out how to identify the driver for the mouse and 2) if I should try to re-install it from Dell's disc?

Did you try getting the trackpad driver from the Dell Support site for your machine?
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40528444
This is great progress! With that new info, I'm convinced that it's a driver problem, not hardware.

My advice is not to use the Dell disk. Instead, go to the Dell support website for the N4110:
http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/inspiron-14r-n4110/drivers

In particular, here's the Dell Touchpad Driver at that page (from expanding the Mouse, Keyboard & Input Devices section):
http://downloads.dell.com/input/R304889.exe

Download and install it. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40528656
Joe, as you suggested, I downloaded and installed the new driver.  I opened the Mouse Properties thinking I would have to set things up but everything was already set up - (maybe by default).  At any rate, things got worse.  Even after a restart, I could not get the menu to show up so I did a System Restart and now I'm back where I was.  Now that I know what causes the problem, I think I can live with it because I now how to fix it.  I appreciate everyone's help but that is my thinking at this point.  If anyone has other comments, please let me know before I close this out. Thanks
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40528658
Did you ever try a new Windows User Account?

You may need to do a Windows 7 Repair Install.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40528685
That's strange stuff! I have many laptops/notebooks/netbooks, including several Dell models, and have never seen such behavior when the proper touchpad driver is installed. If I'm understanding you right, the mere act of running the Mouse applet in Control Panel causes the mouse to go haywire. So, yes, you can avoid the problem (now that you know what's making it happen), but there really should be a way to fix it. Can you post a screenshot of what the Dell Touchpad tab looks like in Mouse Properties? Also, are you sure about the model number of your laptop? The problem you're describing sounds to me as if you have the wrong driver for the touchpad, which could happen if you're off by a letter or digit in the model.

Here's another idea:

Control Panel
Device Manager
Expand Mice and other pointing devices
Right-click on Synaptics driver
Uninstall
Reboot

W7 should find the touchpad (whatever it is) and install a driver. Now go back into Device Manager and see what it says about that device. Mine looks like this:

mice
Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40528701
Okay, here is the latest.  Went to Device Manager, clicked on Mice and other pointing devices and uninstalled Dell Touchpad.  Restarted the computer and it said it had installed the driver and I needed to restart.  I did that and now I NO LONGER HAVE A MENU.  The information on the computer came directly from Dell's disc:  Dell Insperion N4110.  I am attaching three picks Dell Touchpad.Pick 1Pick 2Screen-Shot-3.jpg
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Accepted Solution

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 40528710
> The information on the computer came directly from Dell's disc

If you mean the disks that the Geek Squad gave you, maybe they got it wrong. Try this. Click Start>Run and then type msinfo32 in the box and click the OK button. That will bring up a dialog box with lots of info. System Summary on the left should already be selected (if not, click it). On the right, what is in the System Model field?
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Author Closing Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40528732
Many thanks.  Problem solved.  I am going to initiate another question later on why I can't execute SFC /SCANNOW.
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Author Comment

by:camtz
ID: 40528734
I don't know what happened but my comment did not post.  What I said was that in playing around with all the buttons in the Touchpad, I discovered that the right button was set on "click".  I changed it to "short menu" and I got my menu back.  I frankly don't know how it's ever worked because I have never messed with it before.  Thank you all for all the time and effort you put into this.  Hope this post shows up,
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40528742
You're welcome. Your last post showed up fine. I'm very glad that this is solved! I hope 2015 treats you well. Regards, Joe
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