How to Auto-Hide or Disable Command Bar in Windows Vista and 7 Explorer?

Recently an AskVG reader "Nick C" asked following question via e-mail:

Is there a way to hide the 'organize' bar in windows 7 explorer?  I can hide everything else, but unlike Vista there isn't an option to hide that bar.

Its not the first time we received this query. Lots of people want to hide the Command Bar aka Folder Band in Windows Vista and 7 Explorer so that they can get more free space in the Explorer window.

Today in this tutorial, we'll tell you how to set the Command Bar auto-hidden in Explorer window. In this way, it'll only appear when you hover your mouse cursor over it as shown in following screenshot:

Auto-Hidden Command Bar aka Folder Band:

To make the Command Bar auto-hidden, you'll have to edit the "Shellstyle.dll" file which is present in Theme directory.

For example, if you are using default Window Aero theme, you'll get the "Shellstyle.dll" file in following directory:

%windir%\Resources\Themes\Aero\Shell\NormalColor

NOTE: If you are using Windows Classic theme, you'll need to edit "Shellstyle.dll" file present in "Windows\System32" folder.

You just need to follow these simple steps to make Command Bar auto-hidden:

1. Open "Shellstyle.dll" file in Resource Hacker.

2. Now go to "UIFILE -> 1 -> 1033".

3. Press <Ctrl>+F or click on "View -> Find Text..." option and type following in "Find what" textbox:

<style resid="FolderBandStyle">

4. It'll go to following line of code:

<style resid="FolderBandStyle">
<Element
background="argb(0, 0, 0, 0)"
/>

5. Now add following code after <style resid="FolderBandStyle"> line:

<if mousefocused="false" mousewithin="false"><Element padding="rect(0rp,0rp,0rp,-28rp)"/></if>

So that it'll look as following:

<style resid="FolderBandStyle">
<if mousefocused="false" mousewithin="false"><Element padding="rect(0rp,0rp,0rp,-28rp)"/></if>
<Element
background="argb(0, 0, 0, 0)"
/>

Enable_Auto_Hide_Commandbar_Vista_7.png

PS: To permanently disable or hide Command Bar, add following code after <style resid="FolderBandStyle"> line:

<Element padding="rect(0rp,0rp,0rp,-28rp)"/>

6. Now click on "Compile Script" button.

7. Now save the file at some other location, for example in D: drive.

8. Rename original "Shellstyle.dll" file to "Shellstyle_backup.dll".

9. Now copy your new modified "Shellstyle.dll" file to this folder.

10. Restart your system and after restart Windows will start using your new modified file.

PS: This method will work for all 3rd party themes as well. Simply modify the "Shellstyle.dll" file present in custom theme folder.

NOTE: If you want a ready-made modified "shellstyle.dll" file, you can download it using following link and replace the default file in your system with it. You might need to take ownership of default "shellstyle.dll" file before replacing it.

Download Link





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Posted in: Windows 7, Windows Vista


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Comments

  • Works! Thanks from Russia...

  • @BoneyardBrew,

    Just change the -28 value in the script to -32, it will remove the 3 extra pixels. It worked for me.

  • Does not work in Windows 8. (If you used ribbon disabler, and got back command bar)
    Wish there were some way to get a minimalist UI in Windows 8.

  • Hi VG.

    I tried this and it works perfectly on my Win7 X64 machine - thank you!!. However, when I open a program, like Word 2007 for example - the command bar is still there. If i open my computer or windows explorer its not there anymore but from within an application/program it still appears.

    Any pointers there?

  • VG

    ^^ Thats the only thing which you can get. ;)

  • It only partially worked for me, I have progressively gone from -28 to -32, and now -35, and the bar still pops up, moving the contents of my windows around, every time my mouse gets close to it. It's really hard on the eyes.

  • thanks :) works fine on my win8 pro, with ribbon disabler i have no problem :)

  • Note that this hack breaks system protection.

    In other words, SFC /VERIFYONLY will emit the following error:

    "Windows Resource Protection found integrity violations. Details are included in
    the CBS.Log windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log"

    Within CBS.log we find:

    Hashes for file member \??\C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Aero\Shell\NormalColor\shellstyle.dll do not match actual file [l:28{14}]"shellstyle.dll"...

    This means SFC /SCANNOW will undo the change.

    Folks may be willing to accept this, but it should be made known.

    -Noel

  • VG

    ^^ Its obvious. Whenever you edit a system file and if you run sfc command, it'll always try to restore the original system file.

  • Hi

    First, thank you. AMAZING instructions and info.

    Added QTTabBar (multi-tabbed windows 7 explorer, like chrome :) and about to remove everything that can be (that isn't needed! That title bar looks HUGE!) Never enough real-estate.

    Whilst configuring my QTTabs, I noticed that Avast has added a toolbar reference (Avast! Online Security). It tries (I think) to load something (flicker) but fails.

    Do you know where this reference would be in the registry? Searched for the string (in tune-up's AWESOME Reg.Editor, of course), but no results. Searched for Avast... 229 results!

    Finally, for anyone understandably a bit reluctant to hard-code this, a tool can facilitate (maybe quicker, as it has checkboxes for folder types, ie reducing repetition.. maybe not an issue to advanced reg Editors out there, finding and replacing Keys and GUIDs)

    So, if anyone has any suggestions, thanks in advance.

    Happy tweaking

  • Does anyone else have the problem where, upon disabling the bar using -padding using

    each desktop icon is covered by a black square (big icons = no square, middle icons = icons partially obscured by square)?

    Tempting to leave desktop icons turned off if necessary....

    How can I safely remove the 'ghost' "avast! Online Security" toolbar option? (Windows Explorer, 3rd party toolbar option added that doesn't show any toolbar)? There's never a tick, even when you try and select it. Like an orphan entry I'd like to remove, if possible.

    Thank you

  • Surely this patch will be undone whenever System File Checker (SFC) is run. Is there a simple way of ensuring SFC will not replace the patched DLL?

  • VG

    ^^ No. Once you properly replace the file using above mentioned method, it'll not be replaced.

  • Excuse me, but this strikes me as nuts. I inadvertently struck some combination of keys today, and now the noisome 'Organize' command bar won't go away. How is it possible that I can accidently invoke this with keyboard commands but have to edit a DLL to get rid of it?

    Surely there's a keyboard combination that will banish this command bar/toolbar/irritant.

  • So, I tried this, but Windows won't let me copy the new file into the folder, nor delete the existing file, nor rename the old file.

  • VG

    ^^ Did you take ownership?

  • Works beautifully only thing is now I have the library menu bar and I cant seem to find a option to turn it off imagebam.com/image/0e8c23290353076

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-remove-library-pane-libraries-header-from-windows-7-explorer/

  • I can take ownership of the modified shellstyle.dll (stored on desktop), take ownership of the original shellstyle.dll (in Windows\System32), and move the modified version from the desktop to Windows\System32. However, if I then open shellstyle.dll in Resource Hacker, it has reverted to the original version, without the edits to FolderBandStyle that I made. What is going on? What can I do about this?

  • VG

    ^^ Do not replace the file directly. Rename original file and then copy new file as mentioned in following tutorial:

    http://www.askvg.com/tip-how-to-modify-system-files-using-resource-hacker-in-windows/

  • Running windows 7 64bit.

    I want the command bar gone. this tweak does not work for me for some reason.

    I goto system32. I take ownership of he file. I rename it to .bak. I take ownership of the new file (just in case) I copy and paste it into system 32 so I now have 2 files the .bak and the new .dll

    I reboot. No joy. Command bar is still present.

    this is a pristine clean virgin install of win7 on this machine (w500 lenovo)

    Suggestions?

  • Same here. Repeatedly did everything in this tutorial and everything here: http://www.askvg.com/tip-how-to-modify-system-files-using-resource-hacker-in-windows/. The shellstyle.dll file does appear to be modified, but it seems to have no effect on the file band. Any other ideas?

  • Is it safe to edit shellstyle in 64 bit windows?
    I am using winsows 8/8.1 vs. Its shellstyle(original) is present here:
    C:\windows\resources\themes\Windows 8~8.1\Colors\Windows 8\Shell\NormalColor\

    I mean that I don't need to edit shellstyle in SysWOW64 & system32 folders?

    Please help

    Thanks in advance

  • VG

    ^^ For 3rd party themes, you need to edit their own shellstyle.dll file only.

  • You just saved a lot of precious screen real estate!
    Add Classic Shell and you get a custom toolbar that fits right in the menu bar with panel toggles, views, or whatever buttons you want.

    I used -32 in the script and it's perfectly gone.
    Also, you do do not have to restart to see your changes; you only have to reload the theme (like switch between themes).

    @Chris Taylor @Andy Yancy, be sure your active theme is the one you are editing the shellstyle.dll of. The one in system32 is just for the classic theme, see article.

  • I'm on Windows 7 Ultimate x64. I'm trying to edit the classic theme to do this. I've edited the 4 different shellstyle.dll files in the system (system32, sysWOW64, amd64, and x86microsoft class). No dice. What else do I need to do?

  • VG, THANKS!!! I've been looking for a way of getting that band out of the way.

    Anyway of adding some sort of delay element to autohide function so that it's not so twitchy??

    If I wanted to change the band's color, would you know where I would that?

  • Hey VG, never heard back from you with regards to my previous question. Is it because there isn't a way of controlling the speed of the autohide? Thanks again, for the tutorial, man. It's gone a long way to delamify Windows Explorer and increase my understanding of theme modding.

  • VG

    ^^ May be it can be done using some sort of code but I cant help much.

  • Very good I became crazy looking how! But the problem is that every time you poke the mouse comes and goes. This served with a desktop theme especially. For the default theme is better to use the Command Bar Tweaker Windows 7.
    For other topics in the line

    To thereby so that:

    So hide it forever! Works with zune theme.

  • If you disable ribbon and use oldnewexplorer (for theming purposes), you get the folder band. Before to disable ENSURE you have a true toolbar (classic explorer, for example) working.
    However, patching (AND backupping) the shellstyle of the default aero theme can hide/disable the folder bar again. Thanks :D

  • On Windows 10. Forgot to say :)

  • Sadly, it stopped to work in build 10586 (Win10).
    Or probably, the uxtheme bypass doesn't hook the correct resources yet. (Not very sure about that)

  • Uxtheme [patcher] was updated for Win10 TH2 so this wonderful trick still works on the last release ;)

  • This works like a CHARM! You're the best. I'm emulating W7 Reg on forked Debian 8, and I detest the stupid bar. I was trying everything short of building the registry back from the ground up, but I found this, and it worked great - never would have thought to go into resource hacker to fix this. A+.

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