I don't use the IDLE environment that was installed with ArcGIS's python and in particular the shell extension for .py files (Edit with IDLE) is an eyesore.

I was on my way to removing this shell extension from showing up on the context menu, but I was curious if I could just get rid of the entire IDLE installation. From what I understand its part of Python, but its rarely included with Linux package of python.

Is this possible to do away with IDLE in Windows/ArcGIS or are there unintended consequences?

3 Answers 3


There doesn't seem to be an option to remove it via the Python (2.6 in my case) installer. It's pure python so there's no issue removing it, make sure you have set another application as the default .py/.pyw editor though or you might not be able to right click and edit scripts in ArcToolbox.

Just delete (or rename) PYTHONPATH\Lib\idlelib then delete the context menu registry entries via regedit or the reg file below:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Python.File\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Python.NoConFile\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Python.File\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Python.NoConFile\shell\Edit with IDLE]


If you ever want to add it back:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Python.File\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Python.File\shell\Edit with IDLE\command]
@="\"C:\\Python26\\pythonw.exe\" \"C:\\Python26\\Lib\\idlelib\\idle.pyw\" -n -e \"%1\""

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Python.NoConFile\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Python.NoConFile\shell\Edit with IDLE\command]
@="\"C:\\Python26\\pythonw.exe\" \"C:\\Python26\\Lib\\idlelib\\idle.pyw\" -n -e \"%1\""

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Python.File\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Python.File\shell\Edit with IDLE\command]
@="\"C:\\Python26\\pythonw.exe\" \"C:\\Python26\\Lib\\idlelib\\idle.pyw\" -n -e \"%1\""

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Python.NoConFile\shell\Edit with IDLE]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Python.NoConFile\shell\Edit with IDLE\command]
@="\"C:\\Python26\\pythonw.exe\" \"C:\\Python26\\Lib\\idlelib\\idle.pyw\" -n -e \"%1\""

"02FC15168DB032044A0AA668CDEF855E"="02:\\Software\\Classes\\Python.File\\shell\\Edit with IDLE\\command\\"
  • I removed the first four entries you mention, the fifth did not exist. Searching the registry for "IDLE" yielded no other results. Shell extension is now gone. Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 20:10

Not in any automatic fashion. Idle is not an optional component so you'd be on your own.



Turns out I recommended the wrong Nirsoft product. It's shell menu view that allows you to remove menu items.

enter image description here

Nirsoft has a shell extension manager if you really want to remove the IDLE shell extension from the context menu. As for removing IDLE completely, I don't think it's a good idea. Especially if it's just the shell extension that bugs you.

  • Nirsoft's ShellExView was not able to find the context menu shell extension for the python files in this case. Tried both the 32 and 64 bit versions, where each found extensions that the other didn't. Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 20:11
  • My bad. Updated my answer. Just in case you want to bring IDLE back without the hassle of going through the registry ;-)
    – R.K.
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 12:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.