[Tip] Get Rid of Windows 8/8.1 Explorer Ribbon and Get Classic Toolbar Back

We all know that Microsoft has added Office 2010 Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer of Windows 8. Ribbon UI is definitely better than the old Windows XP toolbar or Windows Vista and 7's command bar as it provides instant access to many options which were not accessible using toolbar or command bar such as showing hidden files, changing folder view directly, showing file extensions, etc.

But the major problem with Ribbon UI is that it takes a big amount of screen space and small screen users such as netbook or tablet users might face a big problem with it.

When Microsoft released Developer Preview build of Windows 8, removing ribbon from Explorer and getting Windows Vista/7 style command bar back was very easy using a small registry trick.

But Microsoft patched this method in RTM build of Windows 8. Now the Registry trick no longer works and there is no known way to remove ribbon from Windows 8 Explorer.

Recently while working on Windows 8, I found an interesting thing which forced me to believe that the old Windows Vista and 7 style Explorer is still there in Windows 8 and the new ribbon UI is actually hiding it.

Why do I think so? Its because you can get the new ribbon UI and old Vista/7 style command bar at the same time in Windows 8 Explorer. Don't believe me? Here is the proof:

Open Windows Explorer in Windows 8 and you'll get new ribbon UI obviously as shown in following screenshot:


Now press "F11" key to go full screen and the good old Windows Vista and 7 style command bar will appear and you'll no longer see new ribbon UI. Following screenshot shows it clearly:


Please note that when you enter into full screen mode, the toolbar is set to auto-hidden. You can right-click on toolbar and disable "Auto-hide" option to show it permanently.

So the bottom line is that if you don't want to use ribbon in Windows Explorer and want to get more vertical space, simply press "F11" key and you'll get the old command bar back and you'll not have to use new ribbon UI.

Here I would like to add one more thing! There are many system folders in Windows 8 which still have old command bar instead of new ribbon UI. For example, go to "C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files" folder and you'll get Vista and 7 style Windows Explorer instead of new Windows 8 Explorer with ribbon as shown in following screenshot:


Enjoy the old command bar and remove ribbon UI from Windows 8 Explorer using a simple keyboard shortcut "F11".

Also Check:

The Best Method to Remove Ribbon UI from Windows 8 Explorer

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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • cool find.

  • back and forward button in visual style and its too bad for now we cant change in explorerframe.dll looks like in 7 but after patch uxtheme in final version of windows 8 we can change back and forward buttons in visual style :)

  • Hey VG, has anyone figured out how to disable the new start function (app menu) completely and restore the old start button and menu?

  • This actually makes the whole window look like a full screen metro app... Windows Explorer app o.O

  • To switch back to Windows 7 style explorer. Goto your System32 folder, take ownership and rename UIRibbon.dll to UIRibbon.old. Once you log off and back on your explorer will be the Windows 7 style. :)

    More info:

  • Hello Vishal, even though my question is out of this article, but can you tell me how to enable windows defender in windows 8 consumer review. Just don't give the answer that i actually know cuz i tried everything and it gives a message box saying "windows defender is turned of" and there is no option to turn it back on not even from services (I tried to start the service but it turns off in a second).

  • Where i can get that Win 8 Local Disk icon for Windows 7??
    I cant search it.

  • Hi Vishal

    Thanks for another great tip/insight into Win8

    I for one may just take up win8 and winphone as soon as stable

    You must give the OK first please

    Do you think win8 will move faster than win7 did.

    I have friends who still wont shift from Vista?

  • VG

    ^^ We'll need to wait for the RTM release of Windows 8, then we'll be able to decide.

    It should be present in Imageres.dll or Shell32.dll file. You'll need to look into system files using Resource Hacker.

    Windows 8 CP comes with Microsoft Security Essentials which already includes Windows Defender thats why the standalone Windows Defender app shows that error message.

    @Lee Whittington
    Thanks for the tip.

    Not yet.

  • Sorry forgot to mention that I turned both of them off and can't figure out a way to turn them on again (It was to install a third party software as windows detects it as malware)

  • LOL found the option to turn it back on from action center, last place i would have ever considered to look.

  • VG

    ^^ Glad to know you fixed it. :)

  • User interface in Windows 8 is very inconsequent! On one side MS tries to fit onto the smallest screen-size with tiles instead of desktop, on the other side precious space is given away with - in my opinion - unnecessary ribbon-buttons. So what?

  • simple shortcut for hiding New Ribbon UI in windows 8
    instead of using F11 just press Ctrl+F1 to hide it and press again to re enable it.

  • VG

    ^^ Thanks Ashish for your tip Many such shortcuts are listed in following topic:


  • Vishal, would you happen to have the imageres.dll of the Windows 8 Release Preview? I want to use the images for the Start screen in Windows 8 RTM.

  • VG

    ^^ I dont have but you can extract the file from Release Preview ISO using following method:


  • @Lee Whittington

    Thank you so much, I simply could not stand the new look and I was also not looking forward to figuring it all out again. The thing you suggested worked perfectly and its so much better :D.

  • I want to back for the windows 8.1 ribbon how?

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