How to add a “go up to parent folder” button in explorer for Windows 7 and Vista


If you’ve upgraded to Windows 7 or Vista, you may have noticed that Windows explorer no longer supports a “folder up” button that can take you back up to the parent folder.

Instead, Windows 7 and Vista only has a back button. To travel up the folder path, users have to use the breadcrumb navigation structure, which can be somewhat confusing and is not nearly as simple and straightforward as a simple “up” button.

This posting is going to describe a step by step process to add a simple “up” button to Windows explorer in Windows 7 or Vista using a free program called “ClassicShell”. As its name suggests, this software adds a number of functions inspired by the classic Windows XP shell, including a classic “start” menu. Here, however, I will describe how to install the “up” button only, and excluding any extra functions that the software can provide.

Adding Folder UP arrow to Windows 7 and Vista

Step 1: download the latest version of ClassicShell (works on 32bit and 64 bit OS’s). The version I used at the time of this writing is 1.9.8

Step 2: run the executable to begin the installation. Make sure to uncheck “Classic Start Menu” (unless you in fact want it) but keep “classic explorer” checked.

Classic Shell installation

Step 3: open any folder then press ALT+T on your keyboard to access folder options in Windows 7.

Folder options in Windows 7

Step 4: click on the “view” tab and then check “always show menus” as in the screenshot above. Click “OK”.

View folder options in Windows 7

Step 5: right click in a blank area on the newly visible file menu then check “Classic Explorer Bar”.

Activate Classic Shell Bar

Step 6: click on the now-visible “ClassicShell” icon to access the program settings

Click on the settings icon



Step 7: in the Classic Explorer settings, do the following

  • Check “Show Up button in the title bar”
  • Uncheck “Show caption in the title bar” and “Show icon in the title bar” — unless you want these.
  • Uncheck “Enable classic copy UI” and “Show free space and file size in status bar” — unless you want these.
  • Click “OK”

Check show up button only

Step 8: once you exit out of the settings, go back and uncheck “Classic Explorer Bar” — unless you actually like and want it. (Remember that the object of this post is to only add an “UP folder” button to Windows explorer).

Uncheck Classic explorer

Step 9: now go back to the folder options (ALT+T as in steps 3 and 4 above) and uncheck “always show menus” then click OK. I’m trying to get Windows folders to look exactly as they would by default. Do not uncheck this if you want the file menu to be displayed for whatever reason.

uncheck show menu

Step 10: close the window. Now re-open any window, the “Up Folder” arrow should now be displayed as below.

End result
That’s it. If you have any thoughts or reflections on this please let me know in the comments section..