Technology Advice by Ryan Taylor Adams

Restore the Address Bar in Windows XP SP3

May 8th, 2008 · 18 Comments · Printer Friendly Version


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Windows XP SP3 fixes many things. But it also removes the Internet Explorer icon form the desktop and the “address bar” toolbar from the taskbar. If you want to restore your Internet Explorer icon, check out this guide. If you want the address bar back, keep reading.

Service pack 3 for Windows XP removes the address bar by updating the “browseui.dll” file. If you replace your computer’s “browseui.dll” file with one from Service Pack 2 (where the address bar was still available), you can get your address bar back. Here’s what you will need to do:

  1. Download this ZIP file.
  2. Extract the four files inside to the same folder, ideally your desktop.
  3. Restart your computer into safe mode.
  4. Navigate to the folder containing the four extracted files.
  5. Double-click on the file named “InstallAddressBar.bat”.
  6. The process will run automatically. You will then be prompted to “Press any key to continue…” Confirm that all the files copied successfully, then press any key.
  7. Allow your computer to reboot on its own.
  8. That’s it!

This process replaces the currently installed (SP3 version) browseui.dll with one from Service Pack 2. It also creates a backup of the SP3 version, just in case you ever need it again. If you do want to revert back to the SP3 version of browseui.dll, follow the same steps as above, but double-click on “UninstallAddressBar.bat” instead.

If the above method does not work for you, you may try the following steps.

  1. Download this ZIP file instead.
  2. Extract all the files to your desktop.
  3. Double-click on the file named “InstallAddressBarv2.bat”. You do not need to be in safe mode.
  4. Allow your computer to restart.

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18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 capnhairdo // May 14, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    Absolutely brilliant…worked like a charm. Nice work, Ryan.

    Was using the Muvenum version (www.systemsabuse.com/2007/12/27/xp-service-pack-3-sp3-where-did-my-toolbars-address-bar-go-missing/) for the past few days until I found this. Despite the hard work to emulate the Microsoft address bar, just wasn’t the same…amazing how much you can do with the original version of that little address bar (and I do!).

  • 2 Len Norris // May 17, 2008 at 2:14 AM

    Unlike countless other suggestions, yours actually worked and, what’s more, it was simple, quick and permanent. Hats off to you. Donation to follow in near future.

  • 3 Ryan Adams // May 17, 2008 at 2:19 AM

    Glad to hear it’s working.

  • 4 Dani Turienzo // May 17, 2008 at 1:28 PM

    Worked just fine. Thanks a lot!

  • 5 Bobby // May 21, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    I was scratching my head… I failed to realize it happened after I installed SP3 because right after that I installed Google Desktop. I thought that was to blame.


  • 6 Larry // May 25, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    I am not at all computer literate, and could not find a way that worked for me to restore the address bar after SP3 installation.
    Your method was SIMPLE, EASY, and UNDERSTANDABLE, even for a dolt like me. Thank you very much for your fix, as I used the address bar constantly.
    You are a SUPERSTAR!!

  • 7 Jack Roark // Jun 6, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    BANG ON, brother! Thanks a million! You will see a donation from [email protected]…. in the next few seconds!

  • 8 Pedro Ponte // Jun 27, 2008 at 1:14 AM


    I was stressing up, because i got addicted to have the address toolbar on the windows bar… is saves me hours!

    I don’t understand how Microsoft thinks by itself that she can remove this of such importance to customers…

    Ryan you RULE!

  • 9 josh // Jul 4, 2008 at 7:51 PM

    CHEERS MAN!!! Worked like a charm – and didn’t even try it in safe mode. One thing I noted is that I forgot to close all the apps I had open before I ran it so it didn’t work the first time. Then when I thought through it the second time I had nothing open, nothing in the tray running and ran it in normal mode as the first app after reboot and it worked perfectly. Made a donation for you and hope that everyone does as this is a perfect fix to something I really missed !! THANKS!! /Josh

  • 10 Claude // Jul 28, 2008 at 8:36 PM

    Just installed it, I took the second option that is not in safe mode and it appears to be working just fine…This is Great!!!

  • 11 Barb // Aug 29, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    Thanks a million Ryan! I used Version 2 and it worked like a charm. I am thrilled! I’m going straight to the Donate button after I post this. I do have one TIP for anyone thinking this didn’t work for them:

    TIP: If you don’t see the Address Bar in your Toolbars menu after reboot, **Unlock the Taskbar**, and ‘Address Bar’ mysteriously appears in the Toolbars menu. :)

    Thanks again Ryan!


  • 12 Barb // Aug 29, 2008 at 8:36 PM

    Has anybody else noticed that Windows Explorer crashes and restarts once in a while since swapping the browseui.dll file? I haven’t changed anything else. So far, the two or three times it’s happened (in 2 days), I was viewing a web page (reputable sites like discovery.com). I didn’t write down the message but it says something like — To protect your computer, Windows has shut down the following program: Windows Explorer. Please tell Microsoft about this — Then the task bar disappears and comes back right away, but with the settings it had a few system restore points ago – i.e. the address bar is gone (but the option to turn it on is still there) and the task bar is on auto-hide, when I had turned that off. Now that I think about it, it’s POSSIBLE this began after I attempted the first fix of trying to replace the browseui.dll file with the pre-sp3 version manually, but the attempt failed in regular mode and in safe mode, due to “taskbar in use”. Thanks to Ryan’s program I finally got my address bar back. :)

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. :)

  • 13 Ryan Adams // Aug 29, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    @Barb: I haven’t heard of this happening before, but of course, anytime you tinker with Windows’ core files, you risk causing a problem.

    Your best bet is to ensure the browsui.dll file is the appropriate SP3 version. If you did revert it to the SP2 version, and are also using the second method, it may cause a conflict.

  • 14 KA // Sep 3, 2008 at 11:30 PM


    Thank you so much . The Address Bar is an important part of my web surf experience . Google bar is ok… but nothing beats the Address bar IMHO. Too bad the MS techies cant offer this work around.. or write something to accommodate its CUSTOMERS..
    oh I forget… MS rules? and we .. well we are drug behind the bus
    San Diego, CA

  • 15 Matt // Jan 27, 2009 at 7:42 AM

    Found a workaround w/o and downloads.

    1. Drag Quick Launch off taskbar
    2. Right Click, Toolbar -> Address
    3. Drag Toolbars back where you want them.

  • 16 Ryan Adams // Jan 27, 2009 at 8:14 AM

    @Matt: Unfortunately, the address bar will disappear after after restarting Windows when using that method.

  • 17 Jeff // Feb 21, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    Ryan I’ve tried both your downloads and neither are working. If there is no solution is it necessary for me to delete your files? Are there any other solutions? Thanks, Jeff

  • 18 Ryan Adams // Feb 21, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    @Jeff: I’m surprised it is not working for you, as at least on of the methods seems to be successful for everyone else. If it isn’t working for you, then your BrowseUI.dll was not updated and there is nothing you need to delete, other than the files you downloaded from here.

  • 19 Eric L // Jun 20, 2009 at 3:35 AM

    Thanks Ryan!!!

    When I noticed the address bar was missing after SP3 i was kinda mad.
    Thanks for posting the solution.

    Then I started to think. if i need to type in a quick command or web address I could also just pressR and start typing which might be faster then moving the mouse to the bottom of screen to put focus on the address bar.

    I’m gonna try the R solution for a while to see if I like it, if not, it’s good to know Ryan has a fix for us!!!!!!

  • 20 Ryan Adams // Jun 20, 2009 at 3:44 AM

    @Eric L: Point of clarification: you’ll need to press the Windows + R to open the run dialog.

  • 21 Anand // Jun 25, 2009 at 4:18 AM

    WOW!!! I GOT MY ADDRESS BAR BACK! (Please forgive the all CAPS here – just got a bit emotional)

    Thank you Ryan, your solution actually works like a charm.

    Ofcourse the batchfile did not work for me, but I opened it as text and manually copied the file to the mentioned locations and rebooted.

    Here’s why the batch did not work for me:
    1. The path was hardcoded as ‘c:\windows’ where as the path on my laptop (winxp) is c:\WINNT

    2. I did not have permission (Even though I am a member of the administrators group) to delete the ‘c:\winnt\system32\browseui.dll’.

    But I could rename the file as ‘browseui_SP3.dll’ and quickly rename the ‘browseui_SP2.dll’ to ‘browseui.dll’.

    Note: If you let a couple of seconds elapse before you rename the new file, then Windows automatically creates a file called ‘browseui.dll’ which is effectively the SP3 version.

    @Jeff: I guess this could be the reason, why it did not work for “Jeff”.

  • 22 Jdevlin // Jan 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    If the SP2 version of Browseui.dll seems to be crashing SP3 alot, try registering the replacement file with Regsvr32. Start -> Run then just type in ” regsvr32 %windir%\system32\browseui.dll ” and it should clear you right up. at least it seemed to for me

  • 23 Alglenne // Feb 2, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Hey Ryan, thanks, I just reinstalled my address bar, but sorry to say I’ve hit a snag and I don’t know why. The address bar work except f0r the’GO’ command, I press ‘go’ but nothing happens. How do I fix it? Thanks

  • 24 Ryan Adams // Feb 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    @Alglenne: I’m not sure what to tell you. I have not heard of that issue before. What happens if you press Enter instead of clicking Go?