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date 19.Feb.2017

■ Console tool reveals missing shell extensions for some particular file type


Everything is clear under the sun registry, but it is quite tedious to figure out registered shell extensions for some file type, e.g. DOC or PDF. Are all the important preview and text search handlers installed? Do you have both 32 and 64 bit versions thereof? Is there anything missing and robbing you off a full shell experience?

There are all sorts of shell extension registration rules. You can look each type up manually, following the registry path from HKCR\.ext to the ultimate handler in HKCR\CLSID registry key, but why waste your time fumbling with Wow6432Node and whatnot? I wrote a tool to make everybody's life easier. It can check the registration of:
  • Text filters (IFilter)
  • Preview handlers (IPreviewHandler)
  • Thumbnail extractors (IThumbnailProvider, IExtractImage)
  • Property handlers (IPropertyStore)
sample output of shell extension tool
Click to download CHKSHXT tool (40 KB)
Unpack the ZIP archive then read the instructions

To use it, open a console window and type the tool name followed by the file type you want to examine, e.g. for PDF you would type:

chkshxt .PDF

If you find there's something missing, you must install a namespace extension that will fill the gap. Sometimes you are ok in 64 bit but missing out on 32 bit plugins (or vice versa) — this tool will tell you if that's the case. That's all folks!

You may have heard of a similar tool called Shell Extension View. That's a different kind; it shows all the shell extensions on your system. My tool will query per file type.

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