5 Ways to Remove Ribbon From Windows 8 and 8.1 Explorer

Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 users might be aware of the new Ribbon user interface (UI) introduced in Windows Explorer to make your work experience better and more productive. The introduction of the Ribbon UI is nothing but a replacement of the old Command Bar (toolbar), seen in previous OS editions from Microsoft. Acquiring an Office 2013 style appeal, the Ribbon UI is welcomed by some users, but several others highly criticized it for being confusing and too sensitive towards mouse gestures. Most of the users have stated that using the old Command bar or classic toolbar was easier than using this complex ribbon styled toolbar in Windows Explorer. The poor integration and confusing interface makes it difficult to access tabs for performing the desired action. Moreover, the company hasn’t provided any built-in option to disable Ribbon in Windows Explorer, but you can do that with some simple tweaks.

In this article, you will read about the 5 simple ways to remove ribbon from Windows 8 and 8.1 Explorer.

1. Use Windows Explorer in Full Screen Mode

This is the most used and appropriate method to disable the Ribbon UI, especially if you don’t want to use any additional or third party software. This method will bring in the desired change without modifying any system file, registry key, or any other technical change. In order to disable ribbon in Windows 8/8.1 Explorer by using this method, you will be required to trick your OS to temporarily disable the Ribbon toolbar. By doing this, you can easily access the old toolbar in Windows Explorer and make your working experience better.

To use this method, simply press the ‘F11’ key and it will show Windows Explorer into Full Screen mode. You can do this whenever you want to get rid of the Ribbon UI and then you’ll have access to old toolbar in Windows Explorer.

2. Use a Freeware

Users who are not aware of the tech tweaks and their benefits can easily opt for this method. You can easily search the web and take the help of a free software named ‘OldNewExplorer’ to remove ribbon from Windows 8/8.1 Explorer. Using this freeware will also let you bring back some of the amazing Windows 7 style features including ‘Details’ pane at the bottom, classical drive grouping, and many others. You can simply type-in ‘freeware for bringing Windows 7 features back’ keyword in Google to find hundreds of free software to fix this issue.

3. Rename a DLL File

This method lets you to permanently remove Ribbon UI from Windows 8/8.1 Explorer and make it unnoticeable on your devices. Renaming a DLL file to ‘UIRibbon.dll’ will completely remove the Ribbon in Windows Explorer and restore the same in Windows 7’s Command bar. The biggest drawback is that you will no longer be able to use Paint and Wordpad programs as they use Ribbon UI and will be crashing on their launch. Carefully perform the following changes in DLL file to remove the Ribbon completely:

I. Open ‘Windows Explorer’ and go to ‘C:WindowsSystem32 folder’.

II. Now, look for a file UIRibbon.dll and take ownership of the file. You can do the same by either adding the ‘Take Ownership’ option to the File or Folder Context menu in Windows or by manually asking permission in Windows.

III. Once you’ve got the ownership, rename ‘UIRibbon.dll’ file to any other name to bring back the old Command Bar.

IV. After renaming the DLL file, restart your system and the ribbon will be permanently gone from the Windows 8 Explorer.

4. By converting the inbuilt Quick Access toolbar into Classic toolbar

This method is an ideal solution for users who don’t want to remove ribbon, but want to add on a Windows XP style classic toolbar in Windows Explorer. Modifying the inbuilt Quick Access toolbar in Windows Explorer will make it look and work like the old classic toolbar, offering you optimal comfort during crucial work hours.

If you want to have a Windows XP style standard toolbar without installing any third party software, then follow these simple steps:

I. Click on the ‘small arrow’ for quick access toolbar located on the left-side of the Windows Explorer window. Now, click on the ‘Show below the Ribbon’ option from the menu.

II. This action will bring the quick access toolbar placed below the ribbon and now you can almost convert the quick access toolbar into a standard toolbar.

III. To add new buttons to this toolbar, click on the little arrow and checkmark those options that you wish to see on the toolbar. Buttons such as Undo, Redo, Delete, and Rename are some of the common selections by the users.

IV. You can also add custom buttons including Cut, Copy, Paste, Views, Folder options, and many others to the new toolbar by maximizing the ribbon. To do the same, right-click on the ribbon and ensure that the ‘Minimize the Ribbon’ option is unchecked.

V. Now, right-click on your desired buttons and select ‘Add to Quick Access Toolbar’ option from the context menu.

VI. Once all the desired buttons are added, you have a fully functional Windows XP style toolbar located on the Windows 8 Explorer.

Note: You can easily re-order or re-arrange the toolbar buttons by removing all buttons from the toolbar. You can easily do this by right-clicking on the button and selecting ‘Remove from Quick Access Toolbar’ option and then adding desired buttons one-by-one.

5. Modify the DLL file

Users who don’t want to lose access to Paint and Wordpad apps can disable Windows 8/8.1 Explorer Ribbon by modifying the DLL file. To bring this method in action, you will be required to edit a DLL file ‘ExplorerFrame.dll’ in Resource Hacker. Editing the file and removing a key section from it will permanently remove the ribbon from Windows 8/8.1 Explorer with no side-effects or changes in functioning.

• Open ‘Windows Explorer,’ go to ‘C:WindowsSystem32 folder’ and search for the ‘ExplorerFrame.dll’ file. Once you’ve spotted the file, copy it on your Desktop.

• Now, edit this DLL file in Resource Hacker by going into ‘UIFILE -> EXPLORER_RIBBON -> 1033’
• Delete the ‘EXPLORER_RIBBON’ key by right-clicking on 1033 key and selecting ‘Delete Resource’ option. As soon as the key is deleted, save the file and close ‘Resource Hacker’ window.

• Now, replace default ‘ExplorerFrame.dll’ file with this newly modified file in the System32 folder. To do the same, go to ‘C:WindowsSystem32 folder’ and take ownership of ‘ExplorerFrame.dll’ file (by following the same technique used in method 3).

• Rename the original ‘ExplorerFrame.dll’ file with some modifications in name and copy the newly modified ‘ExplorerFrame.dll’ file from the ‘Desktop’ to ‘System32’ folder.

• On successful completion, restart your system and enjoy the old toolbar in Windows 8 Explorer without the ribbon.

The above mentioned steps will help you remove the Ribbon UI from Windows Explorer without doing many changes in the OS. Restoring the old toolbar back in Windows 8/8.1 Explorer will not only give you the similar Windows 7 appeal but will also make the work environment simpler and easier. All these tricks work perfectly in getting rid of the ribbon in Windows 8 and Windows

About the Author: Polly M Quinton is an ardent technician associated with Qresolve online computer support with wide experience of fixing issues with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphone. With a strong track record of devising effective ways of online tech support and system security, she has so far helped thousands of users across the globe. Her writings on tech issues are the reflection of her in-depth interest and command she carries as a pc security support technician. Her blogs and articles have been rated high for their lucid style and easy to understand language.