Missing Internet Explorer Toolbar Tools

by Adrian Grahams

Missing toolbars on the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser can prevent users from accessing and using all browser functions, including menu navigation and the Favorites folder of bookmarked Web pages. To restore missing toolbars in Internet Explorer, try configuring the toolbar display options on Windows 7 computers. On older operating system, you might need to use the online “Microsoft Fix It” service or tweak the computer’s system registry settings.

Windows 7: Configure IE Toolbars

If the toolbars in Internet Explorer don't display on Windows 7 computers, try pressing "ALT" while in Internet Explorer to toggle toolbar display. Pressing the "F11" key to toggle full-screen mode in the browser window may also restore the toolbar view. To ensure that the toolbars stay visible, click "View" in the menu followed by "Toolbars." Click and select the menu bar option. If you can't enable this option, first uncheck any third-party toolbars, such as the Google or Yahoo toolbars, and then click and select the menu bar option. After enabling the tool bar view, click and enable "Lock the Toolbars" check box.

Vista and XP Missing Toolbar Problem

Microsoft says the missing toolbars issue affects the IE6, IE7 and IE8 Web browsers on computers running the Windows Vista or Windows XP operating systems. When you open the browser to access the Internet, the toolbar at the top of the screen fails to display. The problem can also prevent the menu bar from displaying in IE.

Vista and XP Automatic Fix

Microsoft has released an automatic fix for the missing toolbars technical problem. To repair the fault automatically, first navigate to the support page for this issue at Support.microsoft.com. Click the “Microsoft Fix It” tool button labeled with the repair man icon. Select “Run” to launch the repair file automatically, or choose “Save” to download the MSI repair file to your computer’s hard drive and launch the file at a later date. When you launch the application, the tool automatically adjusts your computer’s settings to fix the missing toolbar problem. If prompted, restart your computer at the end of the process.

Vista and XP Self Help: Backup Registry

Repairing the problem yourself involves changing the computer’s registry settings. Because the registry contains vital system files and information, first back up the existing registry so that you can restore existing settings should a problem occur. Click “Start” on the desktop taskbar, followed by “Run.” Type “regedit” into the “Open” box, and then click “OK” to open the Registry Editor. In the tool’s “File” menu, use the “Export” feature to export and backup your existing registry before troubleshooting the missing IE toolbars issue.

Vista and XP Self Help: Modify Registry

After you’ve backed up the registry, exit Internet Explorer and close all Windows Explorer folders. In the Registry Editor, use the expandable folder and file tree menu in the left pane to go to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar”. In the “Details” pane, locate and open the “WebBrowser” sub key. Right-click the “ITBar Layout” value, and then click the “Delete” button. Exit the Registry Editor. Launch Microsoft Internet Explorer and check that the toolbars display normally. If not, return to the Registry Editor, but this time go to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\ShellBrowser.” Again, delete the “ITBar Layout” value. This procedure will return the default toolbar and menu bar to Internet Explorer.

About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.