How to restore an invisible Quick Access Toolbar

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read
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The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) is a customizable toolbar that’s usually at the top of File Explorer‘s window. This toolbar provides quick access to a variety of File Explorer options and tools. However, it’s not much good if the QAT has mysteriously disappeared from Explorer. This is how you can restore an invisible Quick Access Toolbar in File Explorer.

Restore an invisible Quick Access Toolbar using these methods

  1. Move the Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon
  2. Add New Options to the Quick Access Toolbar
  3. Remove File Explorer Customization Software
  4. Reset the Quick Access Toolbar

1. Move the Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon

If you can’t see any Quick Access Toolbar at the top of File Explorer‘s window, move the QAT below the Ribbon instead. The QAT will most likely disappear when you add third-party add-ons such as Clover to File Explorer.

Clover adds a new tab bar to the top of File Explorer as shown in the snapshot below.

file explorer

Thus, Clover is one program that removes the Quick Access Toolbar from the top of File Explorer. To get it back, right-click the Ribbon and select the Show Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon option. Then the QAT will re-emerge just below the Ribbon as shown in the snapshot directly below.

file explorer

2. Add New Options to the Quick Access Toolbar

You can remove all the options and icons from the Quick Access Toolbar. So it might seem as if the QAT has disappeared if there are no buttons on it. However, you can still select the Quick Access Toolbar’s small arrow icon shown in the snapshot below.

file explorer quick access toolbar

Click that arrow icon, and then select all the options on the menu to restore them on the QAT. Then you can select those options on the Quick Access Toolbar. You can also add buttons to the QAT by right-clicking an option on the Ribbon and selecting Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

file explorer quick access toolbar

3. Remove File Explorer Customization Software

As mentioned, third-party customization software for File Explorer can remove the Quick Access Toolbar. That’s especially the case for programs which add new folder tabs to File Explorer and customize the UI. QTTabBar, Clover 3 and Tab Explorer are three programs that add tabs to File Explorer.

As such, uninstalling File Explorer customization software will probably restore your Quick Access Toolbar. You can uninstall the programs by pressing the Win key + R hotkey and entering ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run. That will open the tab shown in the snapshot directly below. Then select a program to remove, and press its Uninstall button.

uninstall file explorer

4. Reset the Quick Access Toolbar

If you haven’t installed any File Explorer customization software, reset the Quick Access Toolbar. Resetting the Quick Access Toolbar via the registry will restore it to its original configuration, which will probably fix various QAT issues. This is how you can reset the QAT with the Registry Editor.

  1. Open Run and enter ‘regedit’ in the text box.
  2. Press Run’s “OK” button to open the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to this registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer >Ribbon.registry reset file explorer UI
  4. Right-click the QatItems DWORD and select Delete.
  5. Now restart your desktop or laptop. Your Quick Access Toolbar will then be restored to its default layout.

 

So fixing an invincible Quick Access Toolbar is usually fairly straightforward. For further File Explorer troubleshooting tips, check out this article.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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