Windows

Video: Restore the Address toolbar removed by Windows XP SP3

Windows service packs are great when they actually solve problems. Unfortunately, updates sometimes whack a feature you find really useful. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler shows you how to retrieve a handy Windows XP feature that Microsoft removed in Service Pack Three--the Address toolbar.

Normally docked on the Windows XP Task bar, the Address toolbar provides a convenient navigation alternative to the mouse. Enter a network or local folder path, and Explorer takes you there. Enter a URL, and your default Web browser opens the page.

Unfortunately, Microsoft removed the Address toolbar with Windows XP Service Pack 3. According to posts in the TechNet forums and a Microsoft KnowledgeBase article, the company made the change "in response to an issue that was raised by a regulatory agency."

We can assume that Microsoft was concerned the Address toolbar would run afoul of the company's antitrust settlement with the European Union. But fear not. If you're frustrated by Microsoft's elimination of the Address toolbar, you can get it back with a simple hack.

In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler shows you how to retrieve the Address toolbar after installing Windows XP SP3.

After watching the video, you can read Senior Editor Mark Kaelin's article, "How do I... Return the Address bar Windows XP SP3 removed?"--the basis for this video.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

61 comments
mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

It has a google address for the tool bar.

bensullivan
bensullivan

just found a way to do this without moving any files from a sp2 to sp3. just create a extra "links" tool bar then drag it to desktop and add address bar to that then drag it onto the original toolbar. no safe mode no sp2 no nothing. just make it and drag it back. no video either.

allan.kerr
allan.kerr

yeah all well and good but what else was possibly fixed for a real security reason in browseui.dll that we are removing to get this toolbar?

looker
looker

why dont you guys just write a paragraph or bullet points vs an almost 5 minute video

sjh_vt
sjh_vt

If the reason for removal is correct, why is the Address toolbar still available in Vista?

andy
andy

I hate things that take up to much taskbar space... which is why I never used the address toolbar in the first place. http://www.launchy.net/ is a good solution. It's a small program that runs quietly in the background, opens up when you press alt+space, and lets you do everything that the address toolbar did, plus there are plug-ins that expand its functionality.

josephhand
josephhand

Another way to skin that cat... Enable any other toolbar on the Task Bar... (i.e. The Quick Launch Bar) then, drag it to the top of the screen. Once the top of the screen has a toolbar, right click it and viola... you now have the ability to choose Address Bar. If you want the Address Bar on the bottom task bar, simply drag its handle to the Taskbar and adjust. No file copying to monkey with.

cwill
cwill

I used the address bar all the time and really missed it. Microsoft's "replacement" was terrible!

harryxebec
harryxebec

get off this flash crap will ya!

jbaviera
jbaviera

Yea, like it's really going to open "your default Web browser". I found that the only "default" browser it opens is idiot exploiter. It sure as h**l never opened Mozilla for me, which by the way, IS set as my default!!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Windows service packs are great when they actually solve problems. Unfortunately, updates sometimes whack a feature you find really useful. In an IT Dojo blog post, I show you how to retrieve a handy Windows XP feature that Microsoft removed in Service Pack Three--the Address toolbar. I also explain why I think Microsoft removed the Address because of pressure from the European Union. Original post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=163 In its effort to keep Microsoft from using Windows to create an Internet browser monopoly, government regulators seem to have taken aim at the Address bar. As the Address bar was useful for quickly accessing a variety of local, network, and Internet locations, I'm not sure why the regulators wanted Microsoft to ax the Address bar in Windows XP SP3. To me, the whole affair seems like bureaucratic overkill. What do you think? Have any of your favorite Windows features been removed by subsequent Service Packs? Does Windows Vista lack a favorite tool that was available in previous Windows versions?

JimInNM
JimInNM

Yeah, I'm on a 219Kbps connection. try video on that and you'll see why a text version is essential

vucliriel
vucliriel

What a waste of time and bandwidth!!!

tkeller
tkeller

the outakes and flubs from the end of the video if it was done in paragraph or bullet point form. Where's the fun in that? :)

invmgr
invmgr

Like most things in this universe, people tend to flow toward the path of least resistance. The more difficult and insecure XP is, the more easily people make the move.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

I don't want to install another plug-in. I'm sick and tired of all the plug-in's and toolbars like google's toolbar or yahoo or what ever. I try to keep my system clean of these things.

phertiker
phertiker

The only thing I couldn't stand about Launchy was it's crazy memory usage. This, however, was quite a long time ago so I'm sure they've been through a few software revisions by now.

n2iph
n2iph

I am agast that some of you are so taken by this work around. No offense to the OP it's a good trick alright, I have used it many times in the past. This is OT brought back to life, and for a good cause. Even if you don't care for the Address Bar there is not reason that we should be forced to lose functionality based on some BS from across the pond. It's not a matter of being Pro or Anti MS, its about not losing something you paid when it does you no harm. Istalling SP3 should at the least prompt you and give you the choice of removing the address bar or not. Anyone notice how Vista gives you not even a basic description of what an update does? You only get a reference to the KB article where you have to go look it up. Why? Because people are more likely to blindly install the updates, especially with auto-update enabled which is how MS likes it. That way they can turn things off or replace them and you'll never know what you lost.

ecmorgan69
ecmorgan69

I bow before your technical wizardry. Thanks!

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

This method of skinning the cat works wonders.

camainc
camainc

I tried your method just for kicks, and it works like a charm. No file copying, no hassles.

raym444
raym444

What are you, some kind of retard? Flash is THE most versatile programming language around. You can create RIA's, programs for hand-held devices, even full blown apps. I get such a kick when I hear so-called "computer techs" trying to convince me they know what they're talking about. If you're going to steal IT jobs from the USA, then at least what you're talking about.

sml
sml

I would prefer WinMedia video where you can speed up the playback.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Trust me, you don't want this in XP... The file indexing is extremely slow and inefficient, even on the latest version available.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

It is a Microsoft OS not Mozilla's. Why should it open another browser that was not around on install or even part of the OS build. The other poster showed you the solution, tell the bar what browser you want, WOW!

TG2
TG2

started firefox for me when I simply typed "firefox" and then when I added a web URL of choice firefox www.google.com it opened firefox too.. it also opened the cmd prompt, and I'm sure it could do *other* very nasty things.. thankfully its a "feature" I never used. now... put that stuff into the RUN command and you'll have something I use.... (which by the way I find it equally amuzing and upsetting that you can run pretty much any program via the address bar, but not so from the run dialog box?? oh no, there you *MUST* type the path?! f***ing microsoft stupidity)

zzz2002
zzz2002

From the tech notes on MS, and elsewhere this sounds like a tactic to push MS desktop search. With a excuse of the lawyers made me do it.

RNR1995
RNR1995

The file does get updated, so this solution will not last forever.

dyett
dyett

I installed SP3 on one of my machines, and it screwed up a number of things. I backed it out. It seemed to me that the intro to the installation of SP3 indicated that it mainly consisted of changes that I already should have had if I had been keepg up with XP updates. My XP SP2 machines are running fine. Is there the slightest reason to install XP3?

carldavidtodd
carldavidtodd

I had already installed SP3 so had to get the SP2 version if browseui.dll from a Ghost image taken before SP3 install. My SP3 version was 6.0.2900.3314 whereas the SP2 version was 6.0.2900.3268. I doid not find the address book in the toolbar options. I did find an older version 6.0.2800.1692 and tried that as well. Same results, no address bar option. In addition, the search function no longer worked. What version did you find to work? Thanks, Carl

husserl
husserl

Thank you for reminding me of this 'thing'. As to the fancy replacement method, why not just boot up into UBCD win or Bart BE? Failing that, why not a Linux bootable USB, or even a DOS one, which is quicker than either? there is a DOS application that can read NTFS and copy files. It's either readntfs (http://www.download3k.com/Install-Active-NTFS-Reader-for-DOS.html) or ntfs4dos (http://www.bootdisk.com/ntfs.htm). Boot up into DOS, run the programme and browse your NTFS drive. No need for a preinstalled environment, nor for Bro Linux, and the boot time is about 5 seconds. ;->

john3347
john3347

Surely I sampled this useless item at some point in the past. Never had any use for it. Didn't know it was gone, but good riddance. This may be the only improvement that SP3 has produced. SP3 must have come from the same cubical in Redmond as Vista came from. Installed on 4 computers and 2 never rebooted, and the other two were so screwed up with applications that SP3 simply refuses to play with that I have had to uninstall SP3 from every XP machine and will wait for a couple of years and maybe the resident of the subject cubicle will move on and a real programmer will replace them. When that happens, I will install SP3 on my XP computers and will also warm up to Vista.

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

If the European Union doesn't like something, they whine and complain until they get their way. Doesn't bother me until what they want negatively impacts the rest of us. The rest of us aren't complaining about the Address bar. If the European Union doesn't like it, buy or produce something else. Oh no, it's so much easier to just complain and do nothing. I see Russia got sick and tired of their bitching and complaining and said enough is enough. Why doesn't Microsoft just do the same and cut them off at the knees and stop selling/supporting Microsoft products to them all together. Then they can whine and complain about how worse off the alternate solutions they'd be forced to go to are. There's just no pleasing whiners and complainers!

fof9l
fof9l

When I moved to XP, I quickly found the address bar useless and nixed it - I'd even forgotten it was there till I read this article. The reason it's useless, for me at any rate, is that it shows the full path of a file, complete with "%20" marks, so that you can't see what file it's referring to till way over on the right hand side of the bar space. And so you have to have the address bar so wide that it takes up most of the more useful space at the screen bottom. And finally, the entries don't support the little yellow box that would give me the full name of a file hidden by a narrower screen. No, as far as I'm concerned, the EU can dispose of the address bar as it likes.

asyousay
asyousay

Not as hard as this video makes out.Yes do the browseui.dll thing but you don't need all that extra trouble in safe mode to get round security. Just rename the damn thing and and drag the new(old really!)file in. Then delete it. XP won't argue. Ummm. Why all the fuss?

weeksgroove
weeksgroove

The address bar was always kind of pointless to me. Its job is to minimze mouse clicks, yet you have to click the address bar to use it. So its not completely "mouseless". However, WindowsKey->Run Type what you want. Always seemed like a more effecient practice. Its actually the only feature of Vista i really like. WindowsKey Type what you want.

vucliriel
vucliriel

... Imagine on 48,000 bps (that's 46.875 kbps, BTW ;) ) Please give us a TEXT version!!! And TEXT boxes to appear under your buttons (like the otherwise invisible "reply" button) so that we don't have to load all the images on a page to simply press the reply button!

T Mike
T Mike

actually, some of us have the extra time & can use a 'humor-break' in the midst of "what have they done to us today rescues"... would you like or prefer a disclamer in the intro text...:)

dAVErSF
dAVErSF

Just checked and saw that Launchy was using 12,384K. That's a lot for what it does, but it surely is convenient and doesn't clutter up the Taskbar.

deetle
deetle

If jbaviera's comment above is correct (I have not bothered to try it), then the toolbar should have been removed when the "BS" was happening here in the states (well, really it should have been fixed correctly instead of removed). I guess one more slipped through the cracks. For those who want to continue to use it, and if it's slightly broken behavior does not hinder your work, I'm glad a couple of workarounds have appeared.

josephhand
josephhand

Looks like they missed a spot when they took it out. ;-) I'm glad you found it useful. -joe

vucliriel
vucliriel

Flash is utter garbage, a waste of time and resources. Give me content, I couldn't care less for packaging. Those who believe Flash is the greatest should go back to their keyboards and learn to express themselves in writing clearly. Unfortunately it would seem that obesity has extended from the programmers into the garbage they produce now and good writing is buried under tons of legalese and other junk that has nothing to do with the subject at hand. Producing a video to replace simple text instructions such as this site does is so utterly wasteful I simply refuse to watch it.

fevrin
fevrin

When he set Mozilla as the default.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

I've never used the address toolbar, but I thought that for those who do, that when you type in a URL, the default brower opens up? Simple enough to set Firefox, Safari, Seamonkey, etc as default and have that launch you type in a URL....

asyousay
asyousay

Hope you've fixed it by now but if not you just need any pre sp3 - not necessarily sp2 browseui.dll. Rename your new sp3 one and replace with any old one. You don't need all that save mode stuff.

hforman
hforman

If they cut off the EU, then it will mess up their plans for world domination!

marlb3
marlb3

No we should give the European Union a chopped down version of any Microsoft Product. One with no options, just basic features. Hmmm maybe sell them old Windows 3.11 and tell them its the New Vista EU version. Shouldn't be much to complain about with that.

fevrin
fevrin

It could have easily informed the user of this change (right-click the taskbar > "Where is the Address Bar?" dialog) and that there are alternatives that provide the same (and more) functionality. Instead, Microsoft only made an obscure knowledgebase article on the issue. How helpful.

phertiker
phertiker

Open an explorer window, Tools menu, Folder Options, View tab, then uncheck "Display the full path in the Address Bar". There you go. What makes it so stupid is the lack of keyword support for Favorites. That would be sweet.

lapdog65
lapdog65

Ok, the first pc I did, i did just as i did in my previous post, and is working as of now. The 2nd pc needed to be done in safe mode due to the file protection. Personally I couldn't deal not having the address bar, it drove me crazy not having it there. And I'm still confused why the address bar is still in Vista.

lapdog65
lapdog65

Well, that actually worked, but you forgot to mention you need to terminate explorer.exe and restart it to see the change. And i also pulled the dll file out of the uninstall folder, so this took me all of 2 mins without rebooting :-)

Zeppo9191
Zeppo9191

I like the Address bar a lot, and was rather upset to find it missing in SP3. To me, even the keyboard shortcut is less convenient than the address bar. I liked the idea that I could click on the arrow, and my most-often used UNC addresses were there.

mahony11
mahony11

12MB is less than the address bar uses. Check the task manager. Select 'address' from the applications tab, go to process and you will find that Explorer.exe is using 40M - twice its normal memory usage.

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

I use it quite frequently. It helps keep track of which system or hard drive the window is actually used for when doing data recovery and virus removal. Before I stated using it, I found myself hunting for it quite regularly to make sure exactly which window was for what and actually had data going the wrong way several times before I realized it, (Not good) The address bar is a quick way to avoid confusion and an aid in maintaining situational awareness. Keith Hailey

mahony11
mahony11

That option doesn't affect just the address bar. It has repercussions for all Explorer windows. I find it more useful to leave it checked. It is especially handy for clarifying the identity of tabs on the taskbar.

asyousay
asyousay

Yeah, seems security interferes, but now that I just did no.10 machine at work...(some users didn't notice, others were screaming, just like this thread)I found it's in the timing. Machine no.6, security argued. Since this it was exactly the same as the others I couldn't figure it. Then I realised I'd become jaded (better things to do at work)and hadn't followed exactly the same procedure I'd accidentally tried the first time. That is - Have the old .dll close on the desktop ready to go, rename and immediately drag it in before a new one is created by XP. If you want instant gratification and avoid rebooting, first use the 'make-MyComputer-toolbar-and-show-address' method, which would normally disappear after reboot. However once you've done the old switcheroony of the .dll, it will stick when you finally decide to reboot later. PS I was one of the screamers. I'm with you. Couldn't deal with it's tragic loss. And as for Vista... there's a lot about it that a mystery. Ours is not to question. Apparently.

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