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Windows 7: Remove Explorer toolbar?

15 Aug 2009   #11

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Holy cow! I did it. It's finally gone.

I actually extracted everything under UIFILE in shell32.dll with Resourcer, then I let Notepad++ search through all files for "FolderBand", which it would find in UIFILE 12, 27, 28, 32 and 46. Then I opened shell32.dll in XN Resource Editor under XP (VirtualBox) - for some reason it worked fine saving the changes in XP - and commented out the FolderBand parts in the relevant UIFILE files. Lastly, since I don't have any other OS besides W7 installed directly on this computer, I booted Ubuntu directly from a DVD, which allowed me to copy the modified shell32.dll into the System32 folder again.

My modified DLL (from W7 Ultimate x64) can be downloaded here, if desired.

Good luck! Keep me posted.

Attached Images
Remove Explorer toolbar?-finallygone.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2009   #12

Windows 7 64bit

I haven't got to trying it yet, just so busy, but will certainly let you know. This is great to hear.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2009   #13

Windows 7

Nice I modified my shell32.dll x86 the same way and it works, but I have one question.
How can I now enable/disable the navigation, details and preview panes?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Aug 2009   #14

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Sorry, I don't know how or if it's possible without the toolbar. The navigation pane would be handy sometimes, but otherwise I don't use any panes, I like to keep it simple.

By the way, some programs with Open/Save File dialogs still has that toolbar, like Notepad++ and Firefox. What does these programs do different from those without the toolbar (e.g. Notepad and Opera)?

I'm considering looking into Shell programming (I have programming experience, but not with the Windows Shell) to maybe make a solution which lets you toggle that toolbar. But I don't have so much motivation or time, so I don't know if I'll get anywhere with that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2010   #15

Windows 7 64bit


I gave up caring about this and got used to having the toolbar there. Only just now have I tried removing it again.

I have now removed it on my win7 64 release candidate. I have a retail version handy but won't be testing it on that (my retail win7 is just sitting there until I build my new pc, which is quite a long way off).

Here is a DIY summary for everyone, as I didn't think the thread read very clearly:

Get XN resource editor (must be run on a 98/2k/XP system, not Vista/Win7 compatible)
Copy the shell32.dll from system32 in your windows 7 installation to the PC that will run XN resource editor
Open shell32.dll in XN resource editor
Browse to UIFILE\12
Look for the word FolderBand
Look for the first <Element> written above the first occurrence of FolderBand
Look for the first </Element> written below the last occurrence of FolderBand
Delete everything between (and including) the <Element> and </Element>. There is no need to leave blank lines in their place, they can be deleted too.
Repeat in UIFILE\27
Repeat in UIFILE\28
Repeat in UIFILE\32
Repeat in UIFILE\46
Save the file (not export, just save).
Verify the file you saved has actually saved (check the file modified date). It didn't work my first time but that was probably operator error.
Boot off a linux cd and overwrite this file into System32 on your Windows 7 installation drive (I overwrote the file in SysWow64 as well*. I put the exact same modified shell32.dll into both folders). CANNOT be done via booting into XP on a dual booted system.
Don't replace the 12.5mb shell32.dll that you may find somewhere else. (Well, I didn't need to)
Delete the two shell32.dll files in Windows\winsxs so that windows won't restore these as backups.*

* Indicates whilst I did this and it worked, it may not have been necessary.
In particular, deleting from winsxs may be a bad idea, just in case windows ever needs to roll back to the old files (my understanding is that the files here are not a form of file protection, they are only used when newer files aren't working correctly).

There was no need to mess with permissions in win7. Trying to do so simply didn't work.

Side notes:
Zim, I didn't know what you meant by 'comment out'. I understand the concept, I didn't know if the punctuation for it was an apostrophe, percent sign, etc etc. So I simply removed the "element" code entirely, which worked. Perhaps you can provide info on what you did.

Also, the above file link is dead. I haven't (and won't) be including a replacement file. Reason for this is that the file may not work with different service packs or updates etc. Apart from the pest of needing an xp system and a live linux cd, the process is actually quite easy to do.

Thanks all!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2010   #16

Win 7 Pro x64, VM Win XP, Win7 Pro Sandbox, Kubuntu 11

Thanks to all who have posted here. This has been an interesting read. Maybe one of you folks could get a hold of Brink to see about setting up a tutorial for this little project you have been working on. I am sure there are others here on the forums who would like this information.

Again thanks for the information and great read.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2010   #17

Windows 7 64bit

Funny you should say that, I'm suddenly having a few issues with my win 7 RC.

My method needs someone to play with it, something I won't be doing (win7 64 RC is on my laptop, which I've just sold. I wont be building a machine with win7 for a long time for financial reasons).

Things to try: try only replacing the shell32.dll in sytem32, not in syswow64 as well. Check that the original shell32.dll's in both locations are actually the same file via CRC (remember that I copied my modified shell32.dll into both locations without checking first that the files were supposed to be identical). Try not deleting stuff in winsxs. Try not using the release candidate.

Hopefully someone can update this thread with a better solution, and perhaps try their hand at doing a writeup. Sorry, but I soon won't have a computer capable of running win7, so I'm bowing out here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2010   #18

win7 x64

Here's a much easier way to remove that folderband in explorer :

2shared - download Shellstyle Replacement.rar

Just follow the provided instructions, and you'll be done in under two minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2010   #19

win7 x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gumballguy View Post
B. Permissions are a pain. Claiming ownership and granting full access to shell32.dll in \system32 didn't allow me to overwrite it. It did allow me to rename it... but then Win7 wouldn't copy the edited shell32.dll into system32. It also wouldn't let me rename my shell32.bak into shell32.dll, so I got stuck without a file at all. Without one, your OS is dead on reboot. I though it may have been a lack of folder permissions for the \system32 folder, so I tried fixing that but windows would instantly close the security settings dialog, stopping any changes being made. Luckily I dual boot, so I copied the file to my other OS and drag and dropped it in that way.
As for this issue you had, you could try this regtweak to add the take ownership to the context menu :

Take Ownership Shortcut


Also, it's best to completely disable UAC if you want to take ownership and rename systemfiles. Otherwise UAC keeps f**ng things up...

This has ALWAYS worked for me, for any systemfile...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2010   #20

Win7 x64

Thanks for all the helpful information in this thread, was able to do this trick for myself as well.

Does anyone know if its maybe possible to take this even further and remove the address bar as well?

Don't know hardly anything about this but just for the heck of it tried messing around with explorerframe.dll since thats where I figured the values for it would be, but I was only successful at getting the search bar nonfunction.. not gone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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