How to Get Windows XP Style Toolbar in Windows 8/8.1 Explorer without Using Any Software?

If you are using the new Windows 8 OS or if you are regularly reading news and updates about Windows 8, you must be knowing about the addition of Ribbon UI to Windows 8 Explorer. Microsoft has put Office 2013 style Ribbon UI to Windows 8 Explorer. Some people love the new ribbon UI and some don't, that's another story.

By default Windows 8 comes with ribbon minimized in Explorer. In such way, new users find difficulties in accessing frequently used commands such as cut, copy, paste, delete, unto, new folder, etc. In Windows Vista and 7 Explorer you could access these commands using Command bar.

In Windows 8 Explorer, such commands are present in ribbon and you need to click on the tabs such as File, View, etc to access these commands. You can also access a few commands using "Quick Access Toolbar" which is present in the titlebar near the program icon.


Overall the default setup of Windows 8 Explorer is a little complicated for new users. Wouldn't it be great if you could get a simple toolbar in Windows 8 Explorer similar to Windows XP having all buttons such as cut, copy, rename, etc?

Today in this tutorial, we are going to tell you how to convert the quick access toolbar into a fully functional toolbar similar to Windows XP.

So if you also want to have Windows XP style standard toolbar in Windows 8 Explorer without installing and using any 3rd party software, then follow these simple steps:

1. First of all, click on the small arrow given for quick access toolbar present in left-side of Windows Explorer window. It'll open a menu, click on "Show below the Ribbon" option.


2. It'll put the quick access toolbar below the ribbon. Now you have almost converted the quick access toolbar into a standard toolbar.

3. Now its turn of adding new buttons to this toolbar. Again click on the little arrow and check the desired buttons to immediately put them on the toolbar. You can put a few buttons such as undo, redo, delete and rename using the given menu.


4. But if you want to add custom buttons such as cut, copy, paste, views, folder options, etc to the new toolbar, then first maximize the ribbon by right-click on the ribbon and uncheck "Minimize the Ribbon" option.

Now you can right-click on any desired button present in the ribbon and select "Add to Quick Access Toolbar" option from the context menu:


It'll immediately add the button to the toolbar.

5. That's it. Now you have a fully functional Windows XP style toolbar back in Windows 8 Explorer which will help you in accessing all frequently used buttons quickly and easily without any need of maximize the ribbon and the best thing is that all of this is done without any software.


6. If you want to re-order toolbar buttons i.e. change buttons position, you'll need to first remove all buttons from the toolbar by right-click on the button and select "Remove from Quick Access Toolbar" option and then add desired buttons one by one for example, first add the button which you want to show at first position in the toolbar and then add the 2nd button and so on.

You can also check out following video showing the whole method live in action:

Did you know about this feature of ribbon and quick access toolbar? Do you like the presence of ribbon UI in Windows 8 Explorer? Feel free to share your feedback in your comment...

Also Check:

5 Easy Ways to Remove Ribbon from Windows 8 and 8.1 Explorer


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  • Not so customizable :(

    I think next release of Microsoft Windows, they will make File Explorer's Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar to have the similar customizability like in Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013.

    Want these in File Explorer :D
    (Options > Customize Ribbon) and (Options > Quick Access Toolbar)
    Keyboard shortcuts:

    ( *.exportedUI )

  • Wish the size of those buttons was changeable to at least 24 x 24 sized icons.

  • Excellent tip. Thanks VG for all these useful tips. :)

  • I love this website. No other website posts such useful tips.

    Couldn't agree more.

  • Hello VG
    Is There Any Method To Bring Details Pane At Bottom in wondows 8 explorer like in windows 7 explorer?

  • VG

    ^^ No unless you modify system files using Resource Hacker.

    @Omega Man and Windows 8 New User
    Thanks for your sweet comments. :)

    I completely agree with you. The default icon size is too small.

    I wish too. ;)

  • I do find it funny that just after posting that you hate the windows xp style for something, you then post a tip on how to make something look like windows xp.

  • VG

    ^^ No its not funny. In that topic, the point was XP style balloon popup doesnt match with new Windows 8 UI. And in this topic, we are not changing UI, we are just customizing a feature. ;)

  • @Omega Man

    Agreed. This site always post something useful that other sites don't/haven't. A lot of original post, first to share stuff. :)

    Instead of removing the "" why not convert these special characters to HTML entities. Just saying. :)

    '' (greater than) becomes '>' ( ampersand gt ; )

  • Use Classic Shell's toolbar instead whose buttons, icons, icon sizes are all completely customizable and disable the Ribbon.

  • @VG

    I think the ribbon in Windows 8 is like the ribbon first introduced in Office 2007, user cannot customize the ribbon.

    I believe next release of Windows, ribbon will have the customizability like in Office 2010 and/or 2013.


    Agreed. Classic Shell's explorer toolbar can add custom command and much more things.

    When I'm using Windows 7, I completely hide the Command Bar and use Classic Shell's toolbar instead :P

  • Thanks. I'm still a big fan of the classic XP interface and now that it's time to move to a new laptop, my major concern is the lack of functionality in the Windows 8 interface. It's a relieve to learn that I can change the explorer style to look close to what I'm used to working with.

  • hey, this is an awesome tutorial. I am using W8 since two weeks (under Parallel Desktops on Mac), coming from XP. I hate that ribbon style menu so I used classic explorer bar but I did not like it well and it has limited number of buttons and some bugs. So I am very happy about this tutorial cause I did not know that there is this possibility at all. Thanks so much. Surfing on your site since many years and always had my XP pimped very nicely with the help of all your tutorials and tips...

  • just wondering if you have a tutorial like this for Google Chrome? I have no clue where any of my buttons are now. Please help!!!! Thank you in advance.

  • help!!! how do I find the window to start this???

  • @Pushkar Gogte
    Only with

  • And yet, it's not actually possible to get the clean, simple XP style & capability in Win8.
    Not like this:
    Remember that? It used to be possible to place icons for things like back, up, search, etc on the same bar as the file menu. Now you can't. Why not? Just because there are now b*llsh*t names like 'ribbon' and 'quick access toolbar' doesn't mean there's anything new that has some kind of right to a whole bar always to itself.

    With every version of Windows, Microsoft makes the UI more convoluted, obscure and limited. More and more 'options' and visual frills, but they don't fit together and crucial things like actually being able to easily see and access the true filesystem get ever more difficult. I do not believe this is purely due to incompetence.

  • i just want to get windows xp theme withe close, maximize/restore and minimize button on the right hand side of the windows 8.1{RIBBON REMOVED} file explorer HEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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