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The menu bar and many of the toolbars in Internet Explorer are very easy to hide, often by accident. I'll show you a couple of ways to get them back.

I have lost my internet toolbar which allows me to go to my tools, file, internet options, etc. What do I do about this?

From your description, I'm going to assume you mean that all this is happening within Internet Explorer.

There turn out to be a couple of things that make it easy to hide things, and as a result make things difficult to find.

I'll examine those, and show you how to get your toolbar, menu or whatever it is that you're missing, back.

The Big Surprise: F11

A lot of people get bit by this one. Here's Internet Explorer normally (showing the current contents of http://msn.com):

Internet Explorer, normal, opened on http://msn.com

And here it is after pressing F11 - accidentally or otherwise:

Internet Explorer, full-screen, opened on http://msn.com

F11 instructs Internet Explorer to a) go full-screen, and b) hide all the menu bars, tool bars and window frames.

I believe that pressing the ALT key should make the menu visible again for one-time use, but in reality if you find yourself in this situation unexpectedly, just press F11 again - it should return to normal. (Though if it goes even "more" full screen, then we started with a different problem.)

The Internet Explorer Menu Bar

The by now familiar File, Edit, etc.. menu bar may default to being hidden in IE, as you can see from the "before" image above, but it's easy to get back.

Right click in an empty area next to the tabs, or on the Favorites button:

Internet Explorer, context menu for various toolbar visibility

The popup menu actually has options for several different toolbars that you might want to display, or not. In this case, simply make sure that Menu Bar is checked, and the familiar menu bar should return:

Internet Explorer with Menu Bar

That same right click popup menu that allowed us to turn the menu bar back on is worth exploring - you may find toolbars you'd long forgotten, or you might be able to quickly hide a toolbar that you're tired of.

Article C4626 - November 25, 2010 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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23 Comments
Tony
November 25, 2010 8:13 AM

this also works in Google chrome and Firefox and other browsers as well thanks for awesome tips Leo and happy thanksgiving.

Cassandra
November 28, 2010 8:09 PM

Great tip! Thanks for sharing this solution. This is a commonly asked question and your tutorial is perfect - short, sweet, and to the point (plus screen shots are always helpful).

For more shortcut tricks in IE, visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/Windows7/Keyboard-shortcuts

Cheers,
Cassandra
IE Outreach Team

John Hess
November 30, 2010 2:16 PM

Either IE 9 Beta does not have a traditional Menu Bar or I cannot find it. I really miss it. Can you help me restore it, or create a new one?
Thanks,
John
Petaluma, CA

John Hess
November 30, 2010 2:19 PM

Never mind about my not finding the File Menu on IE 9 Beta. I found it...by pressing F11...the tip you gave first, naturally.
Ouch,
John Hess
Petaluma, CA

Siegfried
November 30, 2010 8:13 PM

I don`t want to waste space with the file menu up there all the time and if I need it for one thing or the other I just press "alt" and it appears till I press it again and it is gone again in IE 8.

Fertic
January 16, 2011 10:48 AM

Ouch. What were they thinking? I teach Seniors computer classes and I guarantee they accidentally do this one ... and then panic. Also, I used the 'alt' suggestion to temporarily show the menu bar again and it does not work for me.

dave sulis
March 30, 2011 8:28 PM

F11 and ALT don't work. Right click don't have option to choose menu toolbar, and only show: restore, minimize and nView option. Please help

Susan
April 29, 2011 1:45 PM

when i right click at any where on my internet screen i dont get a menu with the option to tick menu bar please help i dont even have the option to open my favourites?

jordyn
August 21, 2011 1:08 PM

this didn't work. i'm really getting mad please just tell me what to do.

amiri
November 28, 2011 5:15 PM

My laptop has wireless button and when I turn it on it doesn't come any option on toolbar what should I do?

jack
February 19, 2012 3:48 PM

Thanks worked great, not after hitting f11 as that went to the 'even more full screen' but after rt. clicking on favorites then making certain menu bar was clicked returned it auto..
Thanks
Lee

Gloria
April 5, 2012 5:01 PM

Yes this got my tool bar, and menu bar both back up for me.
I looked all in my books I have on using a PC, and found nothing that was of any use for me.
Thanks for this information, and I do appreciate you posting this for us who need it. :)

ann gover
May 21, 2012 2:02 PM

my icon for my email is gone on my tool bar, how can i get it back

Scarlett Strong
May 25, 2012 7:39 AM

Thank you, Leo, it worked for me. It worked in Firefox. I was cleaning the dust off my laptop and suddenly everything was gone, tabs, toolbars ... The only thing that would come up was yahoo and that was full screen. I found Ask Leo and tried several buttons and having no solutions, but then f11 worked suddenly. Thank you, thank you Leo.

Marsha TIndell.. thanks so much. I got it back and was finally able to fix another problem.
July 11, 2012 3:33 PM

Thanks so much. I got it back and was able to fix something else that was a major problem. I can also finally clean up my cookies file. It's a disaster. Many thanks, Leo!

Sandy
August 11, 2012 5:19 AM

thanx F11 worked....

sandra collins
August 14, 2012 2:45 PM

A tech worked on my computer and my tool bars are missing and I need to get them back.

Beverlee
October 13, 2012 5:29 PM

Thank You! My computer got a "bug" and it came back from the shop with a different tool bar. I was not able to find how to print stuff with the new bar. I've had an aggrivating 7 months! And then today you pulled up and within minutes my familiar tool bar is back AND I just printed this article using it! You are a blessing to my personal harmony!!!

Mark J
October 13, 2012 11:44 PM

F11 works in Firefox and Chrome and also very likely in most other browsers.

karen hammond
November 8, 2012 9:40 AM

I had a tech work on the computer for me, and he solved the problem!!!

comfort
December 11, 2012 4:00 AM

how do i get my internet address bar back

tara
February 13, 2013 2:32 PM

I tried it all. F 11 just made the screen jump around a bit, right click on favorites onny brought uphowing navigation bar size of icons, default office home mobile and customize (the icons offered by msn). Ineed to get to the tool click on to get to internet options to fix a problem. Can I just download a more appropriate task bar that has what I need.

April
April 12, 2013 2:08 PM

You just saved the day for me...F11 was the culprit!

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