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Restoring Toolbars in Firefox

John from Pacific Grove, CA. asks:

I don’t know what happened but when I sat down at my computer this morning and opened my browser (Firefox), my History button was gone, my address bar was gone…all I have left are my tabs and the top bar that runs across the top of the screen! I am right-clicking everywhere and nothing will come back up! Can you help?

Okay, John, I don’t know about you, but I hate not being to solve a computer problem easily, especially one as basic as this.

When I first installed Firefox and started playing around with it, lo and behold I lost the Navigation bar, the Menu bar, the Bookmark bar – the same problem you have, John. I right-clicked in every area possible and didn’t get anything. (I did get a little irritated, but I suppose that doesn’t count.)

How do you even find out how to get out of this mess? You can’t use Google; heck, you can’t even type in Google. Unless you have another browser installed (which I did) or unless you have your handy-dandy five-thousand page Firefox manual right by your side (which doesn’t exist), then you are pretty much…um…stuck.

There actually is a really easy way to restore your history button, your address bar, etc., and I never would have figured it out without the help of another browser that doesn’t have this problem. In fact, I think most browsers don’t have this problem. I digress.

Okay. You have Firefox open. All of your toolbars are there. (By toolbars, I mean things like your menu bar, which has File, View, Tools, Help, etc. or the Navigation toolbar where the back button is, or where you type your website address in, etc.) With the toolbars in place, the left side of your browser (depending on how you have decorated it) will look something like this:


Okay, I am going to eliminate all of the toolbars now. There are different reasons as to how the toolbars disappear; I lost mine by right-clicking in an empty area above the Navigation Toolbar. A box popped up that had all toolbars checked (meaning that they were all showing) and I unchecked them one by one, just to see what my browser would look like.


After I unchecked the boxes, this is what the (left-side of) my browser looked like:


Now this is all fine and good and clean, but I couldn’t get anything back. Until I …

(Drum roll, please)

..pressed the Alt button.

That’s right. Pressing the Alt button (on your keyboard) will bring up the menu bar (temporarily). Click on View (could have used that before!). Check all the boxes and you’re back in business.

Why couldn’t anyone tell me that before the Help part of the Menu bar disappeared? It’s a little hard to get help when you can’t get to Help.

John, thanks so much for writing!

~ Lori Cline