Display Internet Explorer 9 Menu Bar Always, And On Top
Browser developers all seem to have found that a new minimalism design wise works best for their browsers. The menu elements are reduced throughout the bank, which leads to criticism of users who do not want to miss those items. Good developers make the changes optional, so that users have a choice. Bad ones force the changes upon the user, with no option to go back.
Internet Explorer 9 Beta has several of those changes. One of them is that the menu bar is hidden by default. The menu bar contains the File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools and Help menu items which have been part of the Internet Explorer ever since it was introduced.
Thankfully though, there is an option to display the bar temporarily by pressing the Alt key on the computer keyboard.
The menu bar that is displayed this way is only temporarily visible (it disappears after the next click or if the browser window is out of focus) and below the other header controls.
In Internet Explorer 8 and earlier, it was always visible and on top of all controls in the header.
There is no option in the browser to change the appearance of the menu bar. Options are available on the other hand in the Windows Registry.
Making the menu bar visible all the time in IE9
If you are working a lot with the menu bar, then you may want to speed that up a little. Instead of having to press ALT every time a menu bar item needs to be selected, it may be better to always display it instead in the header.
Open the Windows Registry editor with the keyboard shortcut Windows-R, typing regedit and enter on the keyboard.
Navigate to the following Registry key:
If Internet Explorer does not exist, create it by right-clicking on Microsoft and selecting New > Key from the context menu. Name that key Internet Explorer.
Now perform the same operation on Internet Explorer. Right-click the Registry key and select New > Key from the menu. Name that key Main.
Now right-click on the Main key and select New > Dword (32-Bit) Value and name it AlwaysShowMenus. Finally, double-click on the new parameter and set its value to 1. Setting it to 1 makes the menu bar in Internet Explorer 9 visible all the time. To revert the change, set it to 0 at anytime.
The change takes effect on the next start of the operating system. It is alternatively possible to kill the explorer.exe process and start it again in the Task Manager.
The change was immediately visible in the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer 9. In the 64-bit version we had to press Alt once to display the bar. From that moment on it stayed visible.
How to move the Menu Bar to the top
With the previous tweak, the menu bar is shown all the time. It still sits below other browser controls in the header. If you want to move it to the top of the browser, do the following:
Locate the Windows Registry key
Right-click that key and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value from the context menu. Name the new parameter ITBar7Position and give it the value 1.
Both Toolbar and WebBrowser did not exist on our Windows 7 Professional test system. Simply right-click on the parent key and select New > Key to create them.
The changes once again become visible on the restart of the browser.
To revert the change, set the value of the parameter to 0.
Microsoft definitely should have made it easier for users to change the location of items in the Internet Explorer 9 header. It is simply not understandable why they did not add an option to drag and drop items around, and display them using the right-click menu or the options of the Internet browser. Yes, some options are available but those are not sufficient, at least not for us power users.
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