I am running Windows 7 Professional. I have used the context menu for each of several file types to specify vim in the "open with" field. There are times I want to open the selected file with vim and times I want to open it with gvim. So I have both vim and gvim in the context menu when I right-click a file. The problem is that both vim and gvim have the same icon and the same program description -- "Vi Improved - A Text Editor", so they are indistinguishable in the list of programs from which to choose in the "open with" field. And whichever one I last used is the one that appears first, so I can't just select based on their relative position in the list. Is there a way that I can edit the description on each executable to make it distinct?

  • 1
    I may be wrong but I think this is off-topic: your question is about Windows not Vim. Also you might be interested in this Super User question.
    – statox
    Oct 25 '16 at 8:18

This requires you to edit the registry.

Run regedit.exe and navigate to the file extension under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. Text files for example would be


The (Default) data set will define the file type, txtfile in this example.

The next step is to navigate to the shell section of file type entry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > txtfile > shell

Create a new Key (right click on shell > New > Key) and name the key the text you'd like to see (Open Text with console vim). Make a new key under this and name it command.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > txtfile > shell > Open Text with console vim > command

Set the (Default) value to the command line string you'd like to execute. Use %1 to represent the file argument

cmd /K "C:\Vim\vim.exe" %1

If you want to open a file in gvim you can ditch the cmd /K stuff and just run the command directly

C:\\Vim\\gvim.exe %1

Now when you right click on any .txt file you'll see a new menu option.

Unfortunately you'll have to create this entry under every file type you want a special menu for. If you are defining new extension types you can always group the file type together by setting the (Default). So HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > .txt contains the same (Default) value as HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT> .text.

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