Mini Shell Extension Framework
C++ C Batchfile
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Undocumented Shell Interfaces Windows 8.reg
Undocumented Shell Interfaces.reg

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The Mini Shell extension Framework (MSF) is a collection of C++ template classes that can be used under the LGPL licence to create shell extensions for the Microsoft Window Explorer. Shell Extensions are COM objects. MSF relies on the Microsoft Active Template Library (ATL) to provide support for implementing COM objects.

Shell Extensions


  • Info Tip (IPersistFile, IQueryInfo)
  • Shell PropertySheet Extension (IShellExtInitImpl, IShellPropSheetExt)
  • Context Menu Extension (IContextMenu, IContextMenu2, IContextMenu3)
  • Copy Hook Extension (ICopyHook)
  • Extract Image Extension (IExtractImage, IExtractImage2)
  • Custom Shell Folder (IShellView, IShellFolder)

Legacy Shell Extensions

The list below are shell extension types not used anymore in Windows.

  • Column Provider (IColumnProvider). Not used anymore by Windows Vista or newer.


A couple of articles discussing how to create shell extensions are available on codeproject.

Operating Systems and Compilers

To reduce maintaince effort MSF has 3 support levels:

  • Supported. This is the compiler \ OS used to validate MSF. In practice this will be latest available RTM versions of the OS and compiler. The thought behind it is that most people that create shell extensions are using the latest available compiler and target the latest version of Windows.

  • On-demand. These versions are not longer developed or tested, but support is not removed from the code base.

  • Legacy support. These versions are not longer activly maintained and support is removed to keep the code clean. The source code in the repository is tagged to make it easy to retrieve old versions that have support for these compilers \ Windows versions.

Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows 10

On-demand Operating Systems

  • Windows 7

Legacy Operating Systems

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 98

Supported Compilers

  • Visual Studio 2017 RC (ATL 14.0)
  • Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 (ATL 14.0)

Legacy Compilers

Support has been removed from latest code, requires older release.

  • Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 (ATL 12.0)
  • Visual Studio 2012 Update 5 (ATL 11.0)
  • Visual Studio 2010 SP1 (ATL 10.0)
  • Visual Studio 2008 SP1 (ATL 9.0)
  • Visual Studio 2005 SP1 (ATL 8.0)
  • Visual Studio .NET 2003 (ATL 7.1)
  • Visual Studio .NET 2002 (ATL 7.0), needs latest Windows SDK

Note: Latest source code is only validated with Visual Studio 2017 RC and tested on Windows 10 x64.