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How to Bring the Up Button from Older Versions of Windows into Windows 7

Windows 7 - Add the classic Up button to the explorer toolbarOne Windows feature from the old days that I really miss is the “up” button.  It was simple, it was glorious, and it got the job done; no questions asked.  The up button is the least confusing way possible to navigate “up one directory,” but Microsoft decided not to include it in Windows 7.  Yet, there is still a way to access the up button in Windows 7, one way involves a shortcut, and the other a free program.


To bring back “up one level” functionality to Windows 7 explorer, we have a couple different options.  Both of them are quick and simple, and best of all –free!

Method 1 – The quickest way

Just use a keyboard shortcut! Most Windows users don’t know about this one.  You can navigate up in Windows Explorer at any time if you Press Alt+Up on the keyboard. Your keyboard has two Alt keys, and either of them will work for the shortcut combination.

up button keyboard shortcut

Method 2 – Install a free app

Download and Install Classic Shell. 

It’s free and open source. The file installation file is only 6.8MB so the download shouldn’t take long.

download classic shell from sourceforge

Done, sort of…

If you grabbed the latest version of Classic Shell, it should have automatically added the Up button next the forward/back buttons and the directory box.  The only thing that might be a problem, is that it also sets your Start Menu back to a classic style –we can fix that, and the instructions are below.

add the up button to windows 7

So, when you installed Classic Shell it gave you an Up button, but it also changed the Start Menu to the old look.  The fix is simple, lets do it.

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Step 1

Since the start-menu has the Classic Shell theme applied, you can Right-Click and Select Settings to access the classic shell start menu options.

classic start menu in windows 7

Step 2

Click the following two bullets

  • Left Click Opens:
    • Windows Start Menu


  • Windows Key opens:
    • Windows Start Menu

Once you’ve got that done, Click OK to save changes.

classic shell, windows start menu settings


Now everything should be back to normal.  Windows 7 now has an up button, and you’ve simultaneously made Windows a lot more customizable.  Of course you can still go in and play around Classic Shell as much as you like. Winking smile  Installation should have put some shortcuts to the Classic Shell settings under Start Menu > All Programs > Classic Shell.

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