New InstallAware X15 with Context Menu Bridge for Windows 11

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InstallAware X15 launching on Friday this week upgrades all legacy context menus used in the File Explorer to Windows 11 standards, without any code changes or recompiles.

InstallAware Context Menu Bridge

InstallAware Context Menu Bridge

One-click migration of legacy IContextMenus to Windows 11's new IExplorerCommand interface and sparse MSIX package format, without any source code changes or even so much as a recompile!

InstallAware Software, the technology leader in software installation, repackaging, and virtualization solutions for application builders and enterprises, is launching InstallAware X15 on Friday this week. InstallAware is the most flexible platform for traditional and agile development teams creating Windows and Azure software installers, as well as MSIX, APPX, App-V Virtualization, agentless/royalty-free InstallAware Virtualization packages.

Until the recent release of Windows 11, software developers had a straightforward way to inject their own menu items into the “context menus” shown in the Windows File Explorer. The context menu is shown when end-users highlight a group of files and/or folders, and subsequently click their selection using the right mouse button. This menu is typically customized by third party apps so end-users have a quick way to access core product functionality. For example, DiskZIP injects “Add to 7ZIP” to this context menu, whereby it instantly compresses all selected files and folders; without the end-user ever having to leave the File Explorer or launch (save learn) the stand-alone DiskZIP application.

From Windows 10 through all earlier versions dating back to Windows 95, implementing an IContextMenu COM object, together with a couple of new registry keys, would have been sufficient to extend the context menu. However, Windows 11 changed the way developers tap into the context menu. Developers must now implement the IExplorerCommand COM object, which is entirely incompatible with all existing IContextMenu interfaces and logic. They must then build what are called “sparse MSIX packages”, themselves an extension of relatively new MSIX packaging technology. Finally, developers must write even more custom code to register these “sparse MSIX packages” (or remove them during uninstallation).

InstallAware X15 rescues developers from having to learn these three brand-new software development stacks just to get their menus showing under Windows 11. InstallAware X15 provides an intelligent IExplorerCommand COM object which wraps any number of legacy IContextMenu implementations, bridging over all existing menu captions, display logic, and activation behaviors seamlessly to the newly released Windows 11 File Explorer. InstallAware X15 also takes care of building the necessary “sparse MSIX packages” which are required to install the bridged menus, and furthermore handles the actual registration (and removal) of these “sparse MSIX packages”.

Developers check a single “Context Menu Bridge” check-box in the powerful InstallAware X15 IDE to enable all of this new functionality. They do not need to rewrite a single line of their existing code. Since no code changes are required, developers do not even need to recompile anything! They simply type their existing menu IDs inside a box, and InstallAware X15 takes care of all the rest. Should further customizations be required, in the best tradition of InstallAware, all of its auto-generated code is fully editable in the underlying script; where direct access to new language commands such as “Context Menu Bridge” and “(Un)Register Sparse MSIX Package” provide unfettered access under the hood.

About InstallAware Software

InstallAware Software, founded in 2003, is the leading Cloud Infrastructure Company with its laser sharp focus on bullet-proof enterprise software deployment. InstallAware has been recognized by multiple awards coming from Microsoft, SDTimes "Leader of the Software Development Industry", Visual Studio Magazine Reader's Choice, ComponentSource, WindowsITPro, among other recognition. InstallAware X15 is available in a free edition for all Visual Studio users and paid editions with prices starting at $395. For a fully functional 14-day trial and more information, visit



Jason Strathmore
InstallAware Software
336 Guerrero
San Francisco, CA 94103
415 358 4094

All product and company names herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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