How-To Geek

Restore That Missing "Up" Button in Windows Vista Explorer

One of the most frustrating changes in Windows Vista is the lack of the “Up” button when browsing the file system. Sure, there’s been a slightly buggy add-on that you can use, but how about a really solid Up button that just works and doesn’t bloat your system?

If that’s what you are looking for, and you don’t mind paying $5, there is an add-on called Mavis Up Button that does exactly that, and nothing more.

The Up button works in Explorer:


Or in Control Panel:


There’s only one bug… the button stays “active” even if you are “up” as far as you can go (the Desktop). It’s not a big deal, but perfectionists might be annoyed by it.


If you are using a custom visual style, you’ll also notice that it doesn’t change with those themes.

Download Mavis Up Button Trial Version

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 05/12/08

Comments (41)

  1. Sean

    Why do you need an up button? If you have the address bar set up with the arrows, (I think it’s the default?) you can just hop up exactly where you need to go….

  2. tim

    That’s a great find! I just switched to using vista and was really missing the up button. Will try it out.

    @Sean: it’s just one of those things that some people prefer. It’s a lot easier to use the up button a couple of times than the breadcrumbs, especially if you don’t have the window expanded.

  3. Chris

    Whats so buggy about the Tabbed Explorer Add-on Mr Geek?

  4. The Geek


    Some people have complained that it doesn’t uninstall properly, and a few other issues… for instance you can’t seem to turn off the menu bar after installing it.

  5. scynn

    ALT + Up Arrow

  6. Melisa

    There are many, many frustrating changes in Vista, but I didn’t find this to be one of them. I think the breadcrumbs are easy and convenient. You can even jump up two or three folders with only one click. A nice find for those who miss it, though.

  7. B3

    wow that alt-up works good too

  8. John

    The one that ticks me off is not being able to add a delete button to the toolbar. Anybody know how to do that? Thanks

  9. Daniel Murray

    Awesome, the “alt + up arrow key” works fab! Cheers ;-)

  10. Chris

    How do u pay 4 ths mavis up button?

  11. Deney


    Sometimes the default window opens up on a subfolder, and so the back button doesnt work to get out of the sub folder (because you have been anywhere yet to go back to!). So the up arrow is very useful when you have lots of subfolder. The address bar is just less convenient and sometimes not as precise sometimes, but yeah, I coped okay without it. I haven’t suffered enough to pay money to fix it anyhoo.

  12. ph15h

    Alt up wrks better for me. :D but this button can be nice for all those peopl that use my computer when im not there to download crap

  13. Michael

    Worked! But after five day trial, it expired. I had to uninstall it and I can either use [Alt + Up Arrow] or click “Back”; also I can use breadcrumbs to jump to address bar.

  14. thesun

    Oh wow! the alt up worked. Thanks for the tip. Very useful.

  15. Dcw329


    wow man… thanks… now that programmer wont be making 5 dollars a person anymore… now that you gave away “The Big Secret”

    buzz kill -.-

  16. Andi

    Wow, I have to PAY FOR A BUTTON that the old windows had right there.

    Alt+Up is no good for european keyboards, since only the left Alt works, you need two hands.

    Breadcrumbs work IF the folder names are small enough to completely fit inside the bar, otherwise the address bar hides them altogether and there’s nothing to click on.

    Did they have to copy the bad things about OSX as well as the good? What next, put the window controls on the opposite side to the scrollbar so you have to move the mouse further? Put the menu bars 1000 pixels away from your app because Apple do it?

  17. JimB

    @John. Tell me about it, I too miss that delete button very much. It took me some years though b4 I started to use it om my XP. Then I got very used to it, and now I can’t miss it anymore. So if the developer adds a delete button to the Up button, I might consider paying for it. 2 buttons for the price of 1.

  18. Bloated Corpse

    I DESPERATELY need those CUT COPY PASTE UP REFRESH buttons. What was Microsoft thinking, now I have to go back to freaking DOS COMMANDS to do CTRL X and CTRL C? I really want to throw the computer through a window right now. It’s like they go out of their way to remove the useful features and put roadblocks to productivity.

  19. JimB

    I installed and uninstalled this UP-button quite a few times. It simply does NOT work. So now I’m using another FREE tool that has 10 times more features than this not working UP button. Admire this screenshot:

  20. Sergiu

    >>> Why do you need an up button? If you have the address bar set up with the arrows, (I think it’s the default?) you can just hop up exactly where you need to go.
    If you are inside in a folder, that’s on the desktop, how do you get to the desktop? You click the drop-down menu, then you choose “Desktop”. That’s 2 steps, instead of one. When you need to do this multiple times a day, it becomes annoying.

  21. Cons

    Regards the Mavis Up button: I can’t recommend it, since you can’t install it on more than one computer and if you change anything to your hardware you can’t install it anymore. I replaced my harddrive and wanted to re-install the application. It gave me an error that the purchased code I owned wasn’t valid, and I noticed that the hardware ID had changed. Also, their support never responded to any of my questions!

  22. JimB

    Why bother ? It just isn’t working. Use the QTTabbar.

  23. Nico


    It happened the same for me with Mavis Up Button… I changed my motherboard and the key was then invalid after reinstalling Vista, support never answered any mail… And some people wonders why there’s a piracy problem !

  24. JimB

    Once more use the QTTabbar and forget Mavis. He can put his button where …

  25. Nico

    Yeah JimB that’s what I did… But to be honest, the Mavis one was just perfect to me… I don’t really need other feature than the “Up button” and it was well integrated.

  26. Ralph

    Sean, if you are very deep in the folder hierarchy and the folder names are very long, then the breadcrumbs are USELESS, because what you can see is maybe a single folder name.

  27. JimB

    LOL there Ralph, do you realise you’re replying to a person’s post at the top of this thread and dated May 2008 ? I think the person has forgotten this thread a longtime ago. Better look at what we’re saying lately about this whole button thing.

    But you’re of course 100% correct BTW concerning the uselessness of the breadcrumbs. QTTabbar fullfills all your wishes.

  28. Rollo

    I miss the up button. It was perfect and much better than the silly ‘breadcrumbs’ option.

    However the two alternatives on this article are not the answer. Both are badly coded and buggy to install (and uninstall!)

    Hopefully someone will come out with a good hack to put this useful feature back.

  29. Danny

    Mavis don’t reply to their email at all – I had the same issue of my serial code no longer working thanks to a change in hardware, and they just ignored my email. Unless ‘they’ are just 2 guys with a fancy website. I found an easy way to solve my problem was to re-request my code via their website facility, and the code I got was new.

    In terms of functionality, Mavis Up Button is perfect for those who want their up button, like me, but I’ve found a nasty bug in Windows 7 where the installation of Up Button causes Explorer to crash should you use the “open containing folder” feature in Firefox’s download feature when a download’s finished and you want to directly access the folder it’s in.

    This might have been an issue in other Operating Systems but I didn’t notice it.

    So, it’s very hit and miss overall – no support at all, and a brutal bug in Windows 7 – but gives the up arrow which should have been there in the first place.

  30. Amirz

    Just use “Classic Explorer for Vista / Windows 7”: it’s free and much more useful with more features than this crap

  31. Mark

    Fantastic. Works great. Not having the ‘Up One Level’ button was driving me nuts.

    A word if you are buying from the UK… They add another buck for, ahem… VAT! I’m pretty sure that extra buck won’t find it’s way into the chancellors purse but still it’s a great feature that Windows should never have dropped.

    I’m using the 64 bit version on Windows 7 and it works like a charm so far!

  32. Cesar

    Why there is ALWAYS someone asking “why do you need this” for everything? That Up button is essential because:

    – fast to find on the window (you always know where it is – good for people that work fast);
    – just one click to achieve what you want (commented earlier);
    – breadcrumb not always give you a way to go UP (window resized to a small size);
    – breadcrumb requires more clicks in some cases (commented earlier).

    Look, we are not telling breadcrumb is evil. It is just a new feature, which could perfectly live with Up button togheter. The usefull Up button.

  33. ienaxxx

    Will that work with the mighty ctrl+UP button for opening the upper folder in a new window? this is really what i miss more than other features in vista…

  34. Bode

    Unfortunately Mavis Up Button stops the recycle bin opening (comctl32.dll error)

  35. Bode

    “Just use “Classic Explorer for Vista / Windows 7″:…..-windows7/ it’s free and much more useful with more features than this crap”

    I’ll second that; it works really well.

  36. kev

    try Classic Shell, it’s free and has more features

  37. Dave

    I really like classicshell too. Whoever it was at Microsoft that decided to take those buttons off Explorer should get demoted to junior programmer’s assistant.

  38. Snoglydox

    I believe…

    The software people do not actually use their software like the rest of us do, and do not consult the actual users, even though they like to say they do; if they did, Windows would have an update with it back in.

    These guys get rich off of their operating systems and retire, opening up the floor for the next nimrods to write code for the next operating system.; they need real competition to help them think clearly, because, at this time, it is too easy for them.

  39. JerryLR

    The 1st factor which is noticed concerning the Spanish Language course will be the tediousness of the lessons. The vocabulary words are given in blocks of 4 for ease of memorization, but they’re repeated continually throughout the rest of the plan. Sadly, the monotony of the plan can trigger a user to drift off throughout the course of the lesson and miss some crucial points.

  40. Dude

    FREE program Classic Shell fixes this problem, along with a lot more “missing features in Win7.

  41. Rufus McDufus

    More bloatware. Just post a f*****ing registry tweak, please.

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