Having your "favorites" just a few clicks away is convenient. However,
sometimes the My Favorites toolbar isn't visible. Where did it go, and more
importantly, how do you get it back? The answer depends on which program is
missing the My Favorites Toolbar and potentially which operating system you
are using. One of the most common issues with a missing My Favorites Toolbar
occurs after upgrading to Internet Explorer 9. The software developers may
have been attempting to provide more usable screen space within the Web
browser by hiding toolbars. Users may not realize that the missing Favorites
toolbar is just a click or two away.
Other issues with missing favorites toolbars have to do with the operating system. For example, Internet Explorer stores the actual list of favorite websites in a folder stored on your hard disk. If this file goes missing or is deleted, then the browser can't display the favorites. In addition, the Windows operating system contains a different type of My Favorites Toolbar that's not related to Web browsing whatsoever. Let's take a look at the different issues and possible solutions for problems with missing toolbars in Internet Explorer 9, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.
Earlier we mentioned that the My Favorites Toolbar in Internet Explorer 9 isn't readily apparent upon upgrading to IE 9. Even if you previously had this toolbar in view, it can sometimes disappear from view. Whether another user closed the My Favorites Toolbar or you accidently did so, the solution is a simple matter of clicking View > Toolbars > Favorites bar. Unfortunately, sometimes the File | Edit | View | Favorites | Help menu isn't visible either. Though this may seem like a catch-22, you can quickly display the File | Edit | View | Favorites | Help menu by pressing the Alt key on your keyboard. This toggles the menu bar on and off. Here's yet another trick, you can restore both the Menu bar view and the Favorites bar view by right-clicking a blank section along the top of Internet Explorer and clicking the toolbars that you want to display along the top of IE9.
What if the toolbar itself is fine, but its contents have disappeared? This is usually due to a missing, deleted, damaged, or moved Favorites folder on your computer. The default location of this folder varies depending on which operating system you have.
In Windows XP, Internet Explorer's Favorites Toolbar accesses the Favorites from a local folder stored on your computer's hard disk. By default, this location is:
C:\Documents and Settings\Users\Your User Name\Favorites
This folder, like just about any folder or file on your computer, can be moved, renamed, modified, deleted, or damaged. Start by checking the default location for the My Favorites Folder by right-clicking Start and choosing Explore. Is it there? If not, enter "favorites" into the Search bar and allow Windows XP to search for your favorites folder. If Windows finds it, right-click it, choose Properties, and click on the Location tab. At this point, you can quickly move it back to its default location by clicking Restore Default. Next, open Internet Explorer and use your My Favorites Toolbar. It should be able to display your favorite URLs now that you have restored the folder to its default location.
In Windows Vista (and Windows 7), Internet Explorer's Favorites Toolbar accesses the Favorites from a local folder stored on your computer's hard disk. By default, this location is:
C:\Users\Users\Your User Name\Favorites
If the Favorites folder is not located in the default location, you can quickly search for it in Windows Vista by going to Start and entering the word "favorites" into the search bar. If Windows Vista finds it, it will be listed near the top of the Start menu. From there, you can right-click the link, choose Properties, click Location, and click on Restore Default. By restoring the folder to its default location, Internet Explorer should be able to access it and display your favorite links.
Windows Vista's Windows Explorer also contains a Favorites toolbar, not to be confused with the My Favorites Toolbar used in Internet Explorer. In this case, the Favorites contain links to your favorite files and folders on your hard drive, not favorite websites. The icon to the Favorites in Windows Explorer can be hidden from view. To unhide it, hover your mouse over the Folders pane until a double arrow appears and then drag down to reveal.
Need additional help with a missing My Favorites Toolbar? Below are a few sites containing helpful tips that address issues with Favorites files and toolbars:
Hijacked toolbars are a possibility that shouldn't be overlooked. Trojans and web-borne viruses may infect a computer and then wreak havoc in all sorts of mysterious ways. A symptom of virus infection is files, bookmarks and documents changing location on your computer. For example if your favorites files folder changes directory location your may need to scan for intruders in order to removecomputer.com threats.
Microsoft Knowledgebase Article: The menu bar and the toolbar are missing in Internet Explorer on Windows Vista or Windows XP or in Windows Explorer on Windows XP – This article from Microsoft discusses three different methods for making the My Favorites Toolbar reappear in Windows Vista and Windows XP as well as includes an automatic "Fix it for me" solution.
Microsoft Knowledgebase Article: Favorites Bar May Not Be Displayed Properly in Internet Explorer – Though this is an older article, it may be useful for users of retired Windows operating systems. It discusses issues with the Favorites Toolbar caused by: the Favorites bar being disabled; the Favorites system folder being moved, renamed, modified, deleted, or damaged; and the toolbar Favorites folder being moved, renamed, modified, deleted, or damaged.
Working with the Favorite Items in Vista Explorer – This article explains how to hide and restore the Favorite Items located inside Windows Vista's Windows Explorer. Note that this particular Favorites folder is for programs and files located on your Vista computer; it is not related to Internet Explorer.
Troubleshoot Menus (Outlook 2003) – By default, Microsoft Outlook 2003 stopped displaying a Favorites menu item in its toolbar. This page shows you how to customize the menu to contain a Favorites menu.