Win7/Win8: Remove Breadcrumbs from Windows Explorer

There are people who love the Windows Explorer crumbs, there are people who just accept it and then there are people who absolutely hate it (me).

What drive am I on again?
And WTF is with all that wasted whitespace on the right?

If only Microsoft put an option to disable them =(
(Skip rant for download)

My rant starts here

I've used Windows 7 for about 8 months now and my first opinion of the crumbs still hold true, "Explorer crumbs are still there, and they still suck". Why?

  • Because they take up heaps of space, wasting space on a small resolution screen.
  • There is only a small area on the far left or far right which you can click to "begin editing".
  • Small clickable areas means more mouse movement (which sucks for touchpad or pointing stick notebook users).
  • It also means I've gotta concentrate more to click on a small area. If I'm not careful and click on a crumb, I'll navigate to another fricken folder.
  • Crumb zealots are almost as annoying as the actual breadcrumbs, especially when they say "reinstall XP".
  • I'm not Hänsel nor Gretel, so I'm familiar enough with my own computer that I don't need to leave little trails along the path to find my way home.

You're probably thinking its just a small thing and I should simply learn to ignore it. Don't get me wrong, I've used those bloody things for 8 months now and I still think they're an absolute prick to deal with.

Think of it this way. Those Explorer crumbs are like an eyelash in your eye. Your eye still functions properly, it's small, but its fucking annoying.

If that wasn't enough of a case for you...

And if it were so awesome, Andreas Verhoeven wouldn't of bothered making a small program to get rid of them in Vista. His "AveNoBreadCrumbs" app is pretty good, if you're using 32bit Vista. On 64bit Vista or Windows 7 (either 32bit or 64bit), no suck luck.

Anyway, </rant>.

I've spent about a week learning how to get rid of these things and I'm glad to say I've finally succeeded!

It performs the same functionality that his app does, but it also ensures that the path is visible when Explorer first starts. The path is also updated when you browse to another folder using the tree.

Managed to learn a few extra things on the side =)


Now that its cleaned up and hosted, the links are


  • Simply run the file to kill the crumbs.
  • Close the program to restore breadcrumb functionality.
  • Run with the argument "--no-icon" to disable the tray icon.

It seems to be running fine on Windows 8 (dev and consumer previews) as well.


For those who wish for a more all-out and installed solution to bringing back XP features into Windows 7, check out ClassicShell by Ivo Beltchev.

If you want to keep everything intact and only remove breadcrumbs, then use my Breadcrumb Killer.

And as mentioned previously, AveNoBreadCrumbs works nicely on Windows Vista 32bit, only.


Props to Tux and Shawn for helping me figure out some C++ strings stuff.

Thanks to Ami/Narusegawa_Naru for giving me a starting point (even though she thinks this is stupid).

piratetoasticonbycalacr[1] The icon is "Pirate Toast Icon" by Calacruf at DeviantArt, but the account has been closed so I don't know how else to contact him/her.

If you don't want me using the icon, let me know!

Thanks Ivo Beltchev for reminding me about the KillTimer() call.


Not much to show here. It's the same effect as when you select the address bar.

Normal Windows Explorer.

Windows Explorer with BreadCrumb Killer running.

Address bar selected.

Things left to do

  • Make an "About" dialog
  • Fix duplicate dropdown arrow
  • Fix crumbs not removed when Explorer launched in a separate process
  • Figure out how Andreas Verhoeven hides the crumbs.
    It seems more effective than my method as Spy++ shows fewer messages being sent.
  • Make it work on 32 bit Win7.

Its been tested on Windows 7 (x64 and x86). Would be great if I had some feedback on any issues.

Not sure about Vista, but if it works then that's always a bonus.


v1.41 (20/03/2011)

  • Minor release, removed debug message.
  • Update this page a little
v1.4 (14/03/2011)
  • Rewrote portion of the code so the DLL and EXE share information.
  • Added a refresh so it has a fair idea when to reapply hooks.
  • Listens for WM_TASKBARCREATED.
  • Added a check for "already running".
  • Correctly returns the shell proc value.
  • Updated version info.
v1.3 (09/09/2010)
  • Removed the duplicate dropdown arrow
  • Changed the "Website" button into a syslink
v1.2 (05/09/2010)
  • Fixed x86 version so it works again
  • Added command line argument "--no-icon" to disable tray icon
v1.1 (11/04/2010)
  • Fixed x86 DLL function name mangling
  • Cleaned up some code
  • Combobox creation trigger now works more reliably
  • Added a missing KillTimer() call
  • Added build version to executable
v1.0 (15/02/2010)
  • Initial release.

Other Small Tweaks

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