Saturday, June 28, 2008

Windows XP SP3 Address Bar fix

I'm one of those people who likes to maintain my computer, and have had the same PC for 5 and a half years now. For the last few years I haven't really had the time to find new methods to make my machine run more smoothly (see my posted note on the computer maintenance article for more info). So I've blindly trusted Microsoft hoping that they would streamline things a bit. Then I downloaded "Service Pack 3" for Windows XP. Apparently, the solution some lawsuits presented for the Microsoft search monopoly (now more accurately referred to as, "help, Google is stealing all our thunder; we need to cut them out of the market") included getting rid of the very useful "address bar" at the bottom of the screen.

If you own a Windows XP machine, you can go down to the blue "taskbar" area and right-click, go to "toolbars", and select "address bar". This allows you to launch a website from the taskbar instead of having to open an IE7 window, but it also allows you to launch programs, files, and use the address bar to open Windows Explorer by keying in a drive letter or frequently accessed locations, opening up your entire machine with one or two keystrokes - again, right from the address bar.

Why Microsoft agreed to get rid of this in Windows XP Service Pack 3, but keep it in Windows Vista, is a mystery to me. I use the address bar at every chance and was pissed when I found XP3 got rid of the option to add it. So of course, I googled about it until I found a Microsoft tech bulletin board on the issue. A few minutes later, I had added the address bar back to Windows XP SP3. The steps are listed below. One must have a PS/2 type keyboard in order to get into safe mode, nine times out of ten, so make sure your keyboard is not USB or that you're using your laptop's keyboard for this fix. If you don't know how to get into safe mode you may want to just message me so I can help you out.

Thanks to the members of Microsoft Forums who posted the following steps in this thread:

You can get the dll here:

This worked for me.

1) download the dll and unzip it to your desktop or where you can find it.

2) boot into safe mode

3) use windows explorer to find the file browseui.dll (in C:\WINDOWS\system32)

4) drag it out of the folder to an empty folder on your desktop where you can find it if you need to put it back.

5) drag the one you downloaded into the folder to replace it.

6) restart and right click the taskbar and it should be back


Anonymous said...

There is another way to do it (perhaps for those with USB keyboards :P)

Frank said...

Jaraguala - thanks for the comment. Is this a permanent fix? Will this newly added address bar stay on the desktop after restart?

Something like this was discussed on the Microsoft thread I linked to in my post, which is why I ask. There were some temporary solutions which did not work once the computer was restarted as it didn't change the browseui.dll file.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it does, although I can't remember whether I last restarted before or after doing it -- but it should keep, since it's working with the OS instead of against it.

Anonymous said...

Please note that by rolling back the browseui.dll version you are also rolling back the critical security fix described in MS08-024.

Frank said...

dkt - this is not really an issue, as described on the microsoft technet forums. Replacing the browseui.dll file is a viable workaround.