How-To Geek

Disable Favorite Links Panel in Windows Vista Explorer

If you dislike the new Favorite Links panel in the Windows Vista Explorer panel, you might not realize that it’s really called the Navigation Pane, and it’s extremely simple to turn off. 

If you want to disable the entire panel, just click the Organize button, and select Layout, and then deselect Navigation Pane.

And just like that, no more Favorite Links bar. The only problem with this is that it also hides the Folders view as well. (read further)

If you want to show the folders view instead of the favorite links panel, just hold your mouse over the top of the folders bar until it changes to a resize icon like this:


 Then just drag it all the way up to the top, and you will only see the Folders view from now on.


Thanks to everybody in the comments for leaving comments about this.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 02/26/07

Comments (67)

  1. anonymous

    this removes the whole navigation pane, not just the fav links panel – it would be nice to be able to have the nav panel but not the fav links (it just takes up unwanted space and I dont use it).

  2. Geo

    You can drag it shut if you don’t want the favorite links panels.

  3. korisu

    … durp. Thanks, Geo. Now that I’ve done that, I can’t believe I spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to disable that panel without killing my folder tree view.

    Now, does anyone know how to get the Links taskbar toolbar to map to the Users\myName\Links folder, instead of the Favorites\Links folder? I’d really like to start using that from the taskbar, but I don’t want it to mess with the Favorites section.

  4. pl1982

    thanks geo. helped me allot. cant believe i took 30 min and still didnt think of just dragging the fav links panel closed. i love the folder tree view, so thanks again.

  5. jlinux

    Honestly, I could not find a way to drag the favorite links panel. I get not mouse activity at all when I hover or click on it. The folder panel, on the other hand, goes up and down on a single mouse click, which was very annoying when I tried to drag it to a new position, which is not supported. Gawd I hate the new UI. The re-design seems totally unnecessary and arbitrary. I hope that MS wins over enough Mac users to account for the defections to linux.

  6. Beth

    …how to get the Links taskbar toolbar to map to the Users\myName\Links folder, instead of the Favorites\Links folder?
    No, I don’t know how. But somehow I ended up with TWO links folders, one of which IE7 uses in its toolbar and the other one Vista uses on the desktop taskbar. I did not plan it that way — it happened when I moved my old data and favorites from an old ENGLISH XP computer to my new GERMAN VISTA machine. One of these links folders uses the German term for links (Verknüpfungen). This is the one that can be activated from the Vista taskbar properties. It was initially empty, so I filled it with shortcuts to my favorite PROGRAMS.
    Small problem: Vista thinks I want to go to the Internet and makes me confirm every click, even though I have User Access Control switched off. Sigh.

  7. glacia

    Wasn’t the question How to “Disable Favorite Links Panel in Windows Vista Explorer” and NOT how do you turn off the Navigation Pane.

    This did not answer the question AT ALL.

    You get an F for the answer and an additional F for not understanding the question.

  8. glacia

    Geo, was correct although the explanation was missing. If you put your cursor at the very top edge of the ‘Folders” bar until it changes to the ‘double arrow’ cursor you can click and drag the Folders until it covers the Favorites.

  9. ValTrum

    THANKS for the last comment! it was driving me NUTS!

  10. VL

    Thanks Geo and Glacia! Your advice work for me. I hate that Favorite Links Panel too!

  11. James

    glacia OMG THANK YOU


  12. Tony B

    Does anyone know how to put Favorites (URL addresses) on the menu bar? i can go to customize and click favorites but it only gives me the option of putting Add to Favorites and Organize Favorites to drag up. I use a lot of the same websites daily and at the moment i have to use the scroll on my address window and search down for the one i want.

  13. Mark

    Just drag it? OH!

    I’d tried that but clearly I haven’t got the precision required by MS programmers, it just kept snapping shut and open again – thanks for the advice – perseverance pays!

    One Vista issue sorted, 239 to go…

  14. Robert

    You can drag it shut if you don’t want the favorite links panels.

    Well, now don’t I feel like a retard! I’ve been trying to close that stupid-assed thing for weeks.

  15. Chris

    Yeah, turning off the Navigation pane doesn’t do it… I’d have to agree with glacia’s assessment of the tip – no bueno Mr. Geek. Although now that I’ve read through these posts I’ve at least learned how to get rid if this ridiculous thing – just drag it closed.

    It boggles the mind that something like this is seen by MSFT as an “improvement”. How can using up a large chunk of valuable real estate in the explorer window be seen by anyone as a good thing?

    Oy Vey!

  16. The Geek

    I’ve updated the article to explain how to show the folders instead of the favorite links panel instead.

  17. adnix

    I have a second problem: How can I disable the very annoying “moving folders”?

    If you have only 2nd, 3rd and so on levels on the navigation panel but you don’t have root level (ie desktop) the folders panel moves left and right all the time to whichever level is the lowest. And I hate it, it sucks big time and I want to disable it.

  18. Riza

    Because I use only me my computer I like Favorite Links but I don’t know why they are gone. I have enabled Navigation Pane and I have many favorite folders but not showed. Only word “empty”. maybe is conflict with Favorites from IE because I’ve moved default Favirites folder from User to My Documents in D:\.Any idea why not showed my favorite links in Navigation pane, please?
    Sorry for my english.

  19. Ivan

    Dragging it shut with stupid aero is not so obvious… the end of the folder control is higher than you can easily see…… move mouse up slowly above the “folders” word and you’ll get it…

  20. Michael (custom ford)

    I really don’t like this vista junk and the way they’ve changed so many things around. Thanks for the how to. It was anything but obvious how to get rid of the links.

  21. MajiD Fatemian

    Thanks, simple but useful ;)

  22. JC

    Thank you so much for your pointers! This is like learning all the hidden secrets by clicking random objects in a video game!!!!

  23. jadi

    try dragging out the favorite pane in a normal mode window, then maximize it. ups!

  24. jadi

    workaround: drag the folder panel up, but NOT all the way. stop just when it covers up the “favorite links” text.
    now THAT’s the stuff. :D

  25. Nimal

    Thank You

  26. Josh

    OMG – THANK YOU !!!!

    I cannot tell you HOW LONG I have been trying to figure this out, and now I feel like an idiot that it was so simple.

    YOU ROCK!!

  27. Kenz

    YIPPIE !!!

    I got ride of the that stupid favourites panel

    Cheers Buds from a Mac/Linux/Windoze user (in that order)

  28. phyber

    I figured out how to remove the links panel easy enough. (Running Vista Home Premium)

    What REALLY driving me crazy is the “Favorites” , “links” and “Searches FOLDERS in the documents folder under Users>My Name

    I delete them and they keep coming back after restart. Persistent little buggers.

    The only way I can remove them is by using their properties and making them hidden. But I like to see my hidden folders and would have to change this just to circumvent this nag.

    Any suggestions?

  29. Jonah125


    I am paid like most people by the quality of what I produce from my PC.

    Time wasted by having to convert to the Vista and Office 2007 quirks does not benefit anyone.

  30. Jocke

    THANKS!!!! simple stuff but still so hard to figure out.. haha

  31. pierssy

    many thanks for that. it was driving me nuts !!

  32. jon

    f___ing brilliant! Thanks.

    BION (believe it or not) that was almost my last problem with Vista.

    Last one is how to prevent the My……. folders reappearing after I delete them. I store music/pictures/roboform data etc in another partition and don’t need them cluttering up my main data partition. Advice from the geek or others appreciated. Thanks.

  33. Rudy

    Excellent, thnx!!!

  34. Pete

    Thanks! Although it seems obvious now, I’ve been searching a way to do this for some time now.

  35. Rich

    Beautifully simple.
    Now why didn’t I think of that, I must have scanned up and down the list in “Folder Options – Advanced Settings” 20 times looking for something resembling it. I mean, why would you put it with all the other folder view customisations!?

  36. Alex

    Thanks a bunch!

  37. John

    The advice given above doesn’t work for removing the Favorite Links section. You cannot drag the Folder section over the Favorite Links. It only goes so far, about an inch and a half from the top, below which is found the Folders section.

  38. Whatamess

    Thanks, this worked.
    What a mess, why not make favorites work the same as folders? Seems like Microsoft tries really hard to make things a little bit less convenient.

  39. John

    Thanks for this. This was really bugging me…. especially since it took away from my folder list!

  40. db


  41. Adeleine

    Uh, yeah, this works temporarily, until I have to do it again. Thanks, Vista!


  42. Brian

    It will take permanently if you go into Explorer:Tools:Folder Options:View: Apply To All Folders

  43. Brian

    Fudge, I stand corrected.

    Setting the View to Apply to All Folders does not alter teh View permanently!

    Thanks, MS. What a bunch of loons!

  44. Brian

    Ooops! Dialog box was still open on one Explorer Window which prevented it from working correctly.

    OK, MS is a bunch of smart loons.

  45. Palmetto

    It’s like Ivan said, the dumb control bar is barely a pixel wide and nearly invisible. I spent half an hour trying to make yet another MS-imposed brilliant idea go away.

  46. Serenity

    I am still having trouble because everything on these forums has not worked for me… Does anyone know how to put the links back into the Favorite Links bar another way? Somehow I deleted them and I have tried every single thing on this forum and others and it still has not worked. Dragging them into the bar did not work. Creating a shortcut in the folder did not work. And for some strange reason, they still exist in the folder, but they are just not in the Favorite Links bar. When I try to drag “Music” for example into the bar, it puts up the circle with the slash through it — the “NO” sign. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

  47. hei

    genius! =) +1

  48. jonrichco

    Hi Serenity. If you haven’t succeeded in restoring your favorite links, click right in the favorite links pane and click [Restore Default Favorite Links]. But I am not clear why you deleted them. The subject of this thread is how to hide them, which is easy to do, then easy to restore them if you need them again, by dragging the folders bar.

  49. Serenity

    Hi jonrichco: Thank you for your suggestions. But for some reason, that still did not work. I think I broke it somehow. I tried what you said – right-clicking and choosing “Restore Default Favorite Links,” but that did not work either. And I did not mean to delete them, I think it was an accident – I think I accidentally deleted the Favorite Links folder in the C:/Users/Serenity directory. I tried recreating it by creating another new folder and naming it Favorite Links and putting shortcuts in it, but this still did not work. Any other ideas? Thank you for your help.

  50. DierkMeister

    Thank you, thank you, thank you !
    I HATED that “Favorites#$%@#%$” thing with a vengeance!
    Now, if I could only figure out how I can have the Folders pane open to the C drive (or even better, like it is possible in TweakUI, to avoid the “My Desktop” and open directly in the computer – that would be just SUPER – but I don’t want to sound like an ingrate, so . . . again, thank you!)

  51. jonrichco

    Maybe this will help you Dierk. As you can see I got it from a helpful newsletter. Works for me.

    Change Windows Explorer Default Open Location
    1. Open the Start Menu.
    2. Click All Programs. (At bottom)
    3. Click Accessories.
    4. Right click Windows Explorer and click Properties.
    5. In Target: area, type %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe and add the full path to where you want it to open to.
    eg, You want it to open to F:\ drive instead (often the data drive). You would type:
    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe F:\ in the Target area.

    NOTE: To restore default settings, type %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe in Target area. (See step 5 above)

    NOTE: Add ,/select to the end and get :
    EX: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe C:\,/select (Opens like Computer with no expanded tree folders)

    NOTE: If you use a shortcut to Explorer in the taskbar, you have to apply this to the shortcut, not as listed above

  52. spenser

    If this many people universally hate the feature, it must have been a very bad decision made by someone who likes bling more than function at MS.

    It’s all been downhill, UI wise, since NT4.

  53. Nathan


    I cannot believe the my IT guy and myself spent 15 minutes trying to figure this out in vain yesterday. Who knew MS decided you needed to make a “purposeful pause” before attempting to adjust the position of the folder to cover the useless favorites bar. I was ready to pull my hair out after clicking it open and closed for the 80th time while trying to drag.

  54. ds

    I didn’t realize so many felt as I did about this ‘feature’. Like everyone else here, spent waay too much time trying to get rid of it. Thanks everyone for the assist.

  55. givemebackmymac

    Thank you. Oh, God I hate Vista.

  56. btbj

    Thanks jonricho. You’re a legend.

  57. J.R.

    Thanks for that – cursing Vista here in so many ways, but that simple drag fixes one of the most annoying.

    Do you know how/where to change the default location for Explorer when opened using the Control/E shortcut, as I don’t use the long-winded menu approach if I can avoid it?

  58. Philippa

    Hi Thanks very much for this tip. Folder lists are crucial and the favourites were cramping my style. I don’t think I would ever have worked that one out for myself.

  59. Keith

    Thanks so much!

  60. turbine

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Drag up the folder tree? it’s so obvious I wouldn’t have ever guessed, hahaha. Thanks!

  61. davidg

    Nice. I just wish Microsoft would have included the hide favorites/keep folders option directly on the layout menu instead of leaving people guessing about how to reduce their “helpful” clutter.

  62. Rubarb Honey

    Excellent, I was looking for that all over the pace. It’s kinda nice that you can have the favorites pop-up again by just clicking on the Folders bar. I also like peeing outdoors, but not in public though.

  63. Dave

    Thank you. I have been trying to find out how to do this for ages

  64. ineedfiles

    thank you so much.
    this is the very reason i always remove vista from any computer i get, and install xp.
    WTF is wrong with microsoft? are they smoking dope?
    they need to have mandatory drug tests for all microsoft employees. i am certain that microsoft would start to produce better products, if they get rid of all of the drug addicts.
    this type of crap does not make any sense. do they have any idea of the type of frustration they cause with B.S. like this?
    i dont need to learn new crap.
    i like the old crap.
    they should just have a xp mode.
    ‘vista, or windows 7 with the look and feel of XP’… for you dummies who dont want to learn anything new

  65. Chris

    I have stored some flics on my favorites menu. Its a drop down type of thing. I believe my girlfriend disabled it. How can I enable it?

  66. Sandy

    Thanks – this was driving me crazy!

  67. Martie

    Bless you a thousand times!

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