Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

IE’s Favorites are missing– quick tip

Bookmarks (called “Favorites” in Internet Explorer) make returning to our favorite Websites an easy task, and I — for one — rely on mine. The other day I got a call from someone whose Favorites had disappeared. Quite naturally, I think, they wanted to get them back, and came to me for aid.

An important thing to understand is that Favorites and Bookmarks are shortcuts.. just like the icons on your Desktop are shortcuts to programs (.exe’s) located in your c:\Program Files folder.
Your Favorites are simply a list of shortcuts to URL’s, and when you click on the gold star Favorites icon, this list is displayed. You can “export” this list to other browsers, a comma-separated-values (.csv) file, or a HTML file.. And you can add and delete items from this list as your heart desires.

Tip of the day IE is a integral component to Windows, and Windows stores your custom configurations in your User Account– your Desktop icons, Theme, Settings, etc.. Windows allows for multiple users, and each person who uses the machine should have their own user account– it also has some built-in accounts, like Administrator, and Guest.

If your Favorites is empty, and not displaying any shortcuts, the first thing you should check is that you’re logged into your User Account. Click the Start button, and then choose “Log off” (or “Switch User”, depending) and verify that you are indeed logged into your user profile (and not Guest or Admin..).

If this is not the issue, navigate to the folder that contains the shortcuts list– this is called “Favorites”, and it’s located in your User folder. In XP, your User folder is in the Documents and Setting folder, so your path is c:\Documents and Settings\User*.
In Vista, it’s c:\Users\user.

Open the Favorites folder and see if your bookmarks are there. If they’re not, well, something’s happened to them somehow, and this might be a cause for concern (has a hacker been playing on your machine?) or it might not.
To restore the shortcuts, you can “import” a .csv, or .html ‘export’ you made earlier (hint, hint).. or copy the contents from a backup copy of your Favorites folder (which, because you follow my advice, you have on CD/DVD and another drive).

Or, you have never exported and haven’t backed up your files and folders.. (ahem), well, here is where you can try System Restore to revert your computer to an earlier date. System Restore does not restore deleted files, but it does store User Account information, and so you may have luck this way.
My article on using System Restore is here.

Today’s free link: PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD image file processing tool, which allows you to open, extract, create, edit, burn, compress, encrypt, split and convert ISO files, and mount these files with internal virtual drive. It can process almost all CD-ROM image files including ISO and BIN.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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July 8, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, IE 7, missing files, PC, software, System Restore, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , ,




    Comment by Paulo Viana | February 26, 2009 | Reply

    • In XP: Open My Computer, open Local drive C:\, then Documents and Settings, then your User Account — you will see a folder marked Favorites (if not, Paste in the Backup copy).

      In Vista: Open Computer, open Local drive C:\, then open “Users”, then your User Account — you will see a folder marked Favorites.

      If you’ve already followed these steps, and there is no folder labeled “Favorites”, I have to ask you a series of questions to find out what has happened… such as, what changes did you make recently? And, did you try using System Restore?


      Comment by techpaul | February 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. When I opened IE previously, the sites I visited most frequently were available in the next tabbed window I opened. Now I get a blank page. Where might that feature have gone?


    Comment by S | January 30, 2012 | Reply

    • S,
      It sounds like “about:blank” has been set as your new tab ‘behavior’.

      Open the Tools menu > Internet options
      On the General tab, look down to the Tabs section, and then click the Settings button.


      Comment by techpaul | January 30, 2012 | Reply

  3. Sounds like you’ve helped alot of people! What a wonderful and giving way to live!
    Perhaps you could suggest something to solve my problem! I have created alot of folders in bookmarks on my Samsung Stratosphere
    Mobile! These marked bookmark folders disappeared after I created a new You Tube
    account and linked it to a new secondary gmail
    account which Google made me link to my primary Google l account for my mobile! I got up the next day and found You Tube dug up some ancient old you tube account and changed my new You Tube account to that old one I haven’t used in years and had no idea they would do
    such a thing and also linked it to my primary gmail mobile account! They had no permission to do that and in the process lost my bookmark folders! I am a film producer so those bookmark folders we’re very important containing website production info!!!!! I’ve looked everywhere on phone and my laptop for them under all accounts? Any Help Would Be Awesome!
    Namaste, Tamara


    such a thing! They had no permission to do that and on top of that they linked it to mobile’s primary gmail account instead


    Comment by Tamara | April 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Tamara,
      While I believe I understand your description of your problem, I am not at all sure I have a “good” answer for you.. as I have not ever encountered such a snarl before.

      If you never “exported” a copy of your bookmarks to file form, I have serious doubts about any chances for restoration.

      If this happened quite recently, you might have luck “reading” old data using a SIM card reader, or a good “file management” ‘explorer’.

      And, you might have some luck perusing the Gmail forum.. or posting a question there.. or sending Google a “help me” email.. here,

      .. perhaps someone with a better answer will write in. But I do wish you good luck.


      Comment by techpaul | April 23, 2012 | Reply

  4. I have lost my favorite site that always showed on top of the ie opening page with msn. how do i restore that back


    Comment by Audrey Banzhaf | May 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Audrey Banzhaf,
      What does IE open to now?

      If I understand your question correctly, I think you mean that your “homepage” has changed (which can be a sign of bad things) and not a “Favorite” (Favorite is Microsoft’s word for “bookmark”. A homepage is what website your browser loads when it is first opened.)

      My tutorial for setting (in your case, resetting) the Homepage is here,

      Let me know if I misunderstood.

      (And may I further suggest, you go into the Control Panel, and then Programs, and uninstall any toolbars you see in the list of installed programs.)


      Comment by techpaul | May 20, 2012 | Reply

  5. When I write to friends I click on the plus sign and I use to get groups of names to choose from. Now when I click in the ‘+’ sign my screen goes blank.


    Comment by Ted Nault | December 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Ted Nault,
      I am afraid I don’t know what/which “+ sign” you’re referring to. (But I am guessing that you have been clicking the “Open new tab” + sign, and that your browser is set to Open new tabs to a blank page..)

      I am further guessing that you are talking about a webmail (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail) service, and that you had created “Groups” for mass mailings.
      If I’m right, I suggest you go that that service’s Help/FAQ pages, and look up “groups”, or Google Search for “yahoo mail+ address groups” (or similar wording, based on what email you use.)

      I am sorry but you just didn’t give me enough information to be more helpful.


      Comment by techpaul | December 14, 2012 | Reply

  6. I want to thank you so much for the excellent information. My husband’s computer was restored with missing icons, picture project, documents, and favorites are back to normal. Your help is very much appreciated. Thanks for helping people with computer issues. Sincerely, Janice


    Comment by Anonymous | February 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Janice,
      I very much appreciate your taking the time to write this, and I’m glad I could help!


      Comment by techpaul | February 2, 2013 | Reply

  7. I don’t have a big yellow anything showing….want my favorites back..all my deceased mom’s pics are in there…HELP!!!!


    Comment by Anonymous | January 11, 2018 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      “Favorites” are simply shortcuts to website addresses (they ‘remember’ for you) so, no photos should be missing.

      This article was written for Windows XP users back in 2008.I suggest you do another search, including which version of IE you’re using (or safari, or edge, etc.). Example: IE 12 favorites missing

      .. or hire a tech to take a look.


      Comment by techpaul | January 13, 2018 | Reply

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