Microsoft seems to make it harder and harder to go "up a level" in explorer with every release, and apparently have done away with it completely in Windows 7. Is there any way to bring back the "up one level" button in Windows 7?

Prior to Windows 7, the backspace key did this.

  • In Windows XP, there is no "go up one directory" in explorer (using the keyboard). Alt + Left Arrow simply reveres your steps of navigation. i48.tinypic.com/5bpxk3.png Ha! Thanks RichN. Thanks for the tip; I never knew that. – Scott Mar 2 '10 at 3:55
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    In XP it's backspace, right? – RichN Mar 2 '10 at 3:57
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    I think you need more XP. – Iszi Feb 7 '13 at 17:39
  • They started with a cheap clone of cp/m, and then kept improving it, until it was unusable. – ctrl-alt-delor Oct 28 '16 at 17:58

What about Alt+? Analogous to Alt+ and Alt+ for backwards and forwards, respectively.

If you need to use the mouse, then rerun's answer probably is for you.

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  • The path tree is OK, but often I don't know exactly which folder I want to go to and it's nice to be able to search your way up the tree. – TwentyMiles Mar 2 '10 at 3:49
  • Downvoter: Any particular reason? The mentioned shortcut does indeed work on my Windows 7. – Joey Mar 2 '10 at 4:46
  • Backspace works too, it's what I've always used. – SqlACID Mar 2 '10 at 11:57
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    @cdenker: Backspace goes backwards through the history, not the folder hierarchy path. The two may be the same in many scenarios (like navigating into a folder hierarchy and then back out again), but they don't need to. – Joey Mar 2 '10 at 12:28
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    Yeah, there's no way to go up a folder when you've clicked on a folder in search results. "Up" and Alt+T just takes you back to the search results, not the parent folder, which is what I'm really interested in when it's a folder. – Triynko Dec 14 '10 at 20:14

You can see the path tree in the title bar and can click on any of the directories.

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    It's called Breadcrumb Navigation. – paradroid Oct 10 '10 at 0:17
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    And breadcrumb navigation ignores the directory structure when you click on a folder in search results. If you want to go to the parent folder, without an up-level button, it seems you have to right click on a file in the folder, copy its directory path, then paste that in the breakcrumb bar. Or you can go back to the search results, right click the folder, then choose "Open folder location", which you'd think is what would happen if you just double clicked it... but no. What a joke. They've managed to entangle the concepts of "history" with "directory structure" and it's a total fail. – Triynko Dec 14 '10 at 20:15
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    And you can't do it in Libraries either. getsatisfaction.com/microsoft/topics/… And Library navigation is really messed up. To see the actual folder path, you have to right click individual items in the library, choose open file location, then you get some breadcrumb path from the desktop like ">username>Pictures", and THEN if you click in the breadcrumb bar to turn it into text, you finally see the ACTUAL PATH like "D:\Pictures". Totally unusable. – Triynko Dec 14 '10 at 20:23
  • @Triynko: I solved that problem by adding a sym link to the .. folder in all of my libraries' folder. – tafoo85 Feb 7 '13 at 17:43

You can use ClassicShell to get back the "Go up one level button" of Windows XP.

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easy and fast, works on windows 7 and 8 ::

1 - install AutoHotkey

2 - use this script: pastebin.com/Qm6EdEXd

3 - done!, use Backspace key as milfs say

if you want to have the script (( .ahk file )) on a different folder than "My Documents" ::

1 - right click on desktop

2 - select New > Shortcut

3 - on "Destiny" field, set: "path/to/autokey.exe" "path/to/script.ahk"

4 - on "execute" field, set to "minimized" then click "Accept"

5 - move shortcut to C:\Users\MYUSER\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup (( more details ))

now this will be automatically executed on each window start

debate bonus, as someone pointed in some place ::

Of course it is true that [Backspace] means "Back" in most web browsers. But there is a significant difference: Your folder structure is a hierachical structure whereas most websites are only to a certain degree - they are more like a dialog system where "Back" and "Next" make more sense.

Or let me put it as a question: What benefit would I gain from the possibility to traverse the last 20 folders I visited? I sure can't think of any... In the web, that's another thing.

yea, it is the @MrZoolook answer explained P:

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    You might as well map - sign for going up the hierarchy, like in netrw. – Hope Apr 11 '19 at 14:58

Not sure if anyone will see this, but I just had enough of this issue that i started looking for a solution myself. I found this handy article and am going to try it out.

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    Welcome to Super User! We would appreciate if you could add more detail to this post, instead of just a link. It's fine to link to other useful information, but the critical bits of that information should also be included in your post in case the link should ever get broken. – Iszi Feb 7 '13 at 17:40
  • The solution given DOES work, but requires the program "AutoHotKey" to be installed, and a small script to be running. The link points an article that addresses the backspace key in win-7 merely going through the explorer history, instead of the 'old' behaviour that makes it change to the parent directory. The solution given ALSO works with Vista. – MrZoolook Feb 7 '13 at 19:57

One caveat: Alt+ does not work in Explorer Libraries, which will instead go to the list of libraries instead of the parent directory of the folder in the library.

The workaround I have found for this is to right-click a file in the library and choose the "Open file location" (with i being the access key), then Alt+ works as expected.

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Just use ALT+UP in windows 7 you'll go up one level and not back. So if you use a shortcut to a folder, you can easily go to the parent directory using this combination. (I even programmed that combination in one of the side buttons of my mouse, quite usefull)

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    Yeah, that’s what the most upvoted answer already says. – Daniel B Mar 23 '17 at 13:36
  • Kenny, I'm glad you have an answer for this question, however this answer has already been given. When you have an answer please read the question carefully, and ALL of the existing answers to make sure your answer has not already been posted. Only post unique and useful information in the answer section. – music2myear Mar 23 '17 at 18:01

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