How do I get my menu and toolbar back in Internet Explorer?

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
Internet Explorer, normal, opened on

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

Internet Explorer, full-screen, opened on
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.


  1. Tony

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

  2. John Hess

    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?
    Petaluma, CA

  3. John Hess

    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.
    John Hess
    Petaluma, CA

  4. Siegfried

    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.

  5. Fertic

    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.

  6. dave sulis

    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

  7. Susan

    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?

  8. jack

    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..

  9. Gloria

    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. :)

  10. Scarlett Strong

    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.

  11. Marsha TIndell.. thanks so much. I got it back and was finally able to fix another problem.

    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!

  12. Beverlee

    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!!!

  13. tara

    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.

  14. Krt

    Thanks, F11 got back menu options. Even Microsoft Support site did not mention about this. It only said click “Menu Bar” option.

    • Mark Jacobs

      Once you’ve deleted the history it’s usually gone for ever. Otherwise, there would be a lot of people complaining that they can’t really delete their history.

    • Generally you don’t – you deleted them. (Forensic professionals can sometimes recover some of it using undelete software and intimate knowledge of how things are stored, but that’s not at all guaranteed.)

  15. Josephine

    How do you look at your cookies, I used to get a whole list of the history and now all I get is just some boxes to click on and it doesn’t come up with the whole list any more. Is this something new? Or did someone touch or click on the cookies to not make me able to see the history pages. Thanks

    • Depends on the browser you’re using, but most all let you look. IE 11 made it hard. Internet Options – Browsing History – Settings – View Files in the General tab, and then use the search to search for “cookie” – seems to do the trick.

  16. tony

    file edit help toolbar not on computer. windows 7 64bit using explorer and google chrome and tried all options given f11 etc and nothing. No right click option on existing toolbar with favourites on. No spanner just three horizontal lines top right. I NEED MY FILE SAVE AS OPTION. Aaarghh!!!!

    any help please would be welcome (without the use of programming language)


  17. carolyn

    menu bar has dissappeared at the top of my screen. There is no bar to click on. f11 doesn’t work either. I’ve tried several things to no avail. Someone said click on the gold star at the left of ur screen 4 ur favorites icon to come up, I don’t have a gold star. Very frustrated!! help

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