My toolbar at the top of the Internet Explorer page keeps disappearing

Updated April 17, 2017

The standard Internet Explorer toolbar contains a row of drop down menus that include “File,” “Edit” and “Help.” This is called the menu bar. Other applications may prompt you to install their toolbars at the top of the browser, resulting in a series of toolbars sometimes lying side by side or sometimes occupying a series of strips below the top border of the browser. There are a range of reasons the menu toolbar disappears. The solution to this problem depends on the nature of the disappearance.

Full screen

Internet Explorer has a “full screen” mode. This intentionally strips away all borders from the main panel in the browser. The top border of the screen reappears when the mouse pointer reaches towards the top of the screen. However, it no longer includes the menu toolbar. Pressing “F11” takes you out of full screen mode, press “F11” again if you want to go back to that mode. The menu toolbar reappears when you are not in full screen mode.


The menu toolbar contains a drop-down menu entitled “View.” This contains an item called “Toolbars.” When you place your pointer over this option a list of toolbars appear at the side. Only those toolbars that have a tick beside them appear at the top off the browser. If the menu toolbar is not ticked it does not appear in the browser. Getting the toolbar back temporarily while it is turned off is possible by pressing the “Alt” key. It disappears again after you select something in the menu toolbar, or if you press “Alt” again. To prevent the toolbar disappearing press “Alt,” click on “View,” “Toolbars” and finally click on “Menu Bar" in the side list. The next time you look at the “Toolbar” list, the “Menu Bar” line will have a tick at the beginning.


Some users report that their menu bar disappears when they go to “Maximized.” This is where the browser fills the screen. You enter this mode by pressing the middle button at the top right hand corner of the browser. To come out of this mode, press the “Restore Down” button, which replaces the “Maximize” button when the browser is in “Maximized” mode.

Edit the registry

Close all Internet Explorer windows. From the start menu, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users should type “regedit” into the “Search programs and files" box and click on “regedit.exe” in the search results. In Windows XP select “Run” from the Start menu and type in “regedit”. This opens the registry editor. Locate the line “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\ShellBrowser” and right click on the “ITBarLayout” value in the details panel. Click “Delete” and then exit the registry editor.

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About the Author

Stephen Byron Cooper began writing professionally in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computing from the University of Plymouth and a Master of Science in manufacturing systems from Kingston University. A career as a programmer gives him experience in technology. Cooper also has experience in hospitality management with knowledge in tourism.