SHIFT+TAB? How I miss thee… in IE.

At least on Vista, my mouse-hating keyboard reflexes have been stymied for a while. (I don't really hate mice, I just hate having to move the mouse when I shouldn't have to. I'm sorry, I'm old. I was born before computer mice were invented, and I developed my computer usage habits long before every PC shipped with a PS/2 port or a mouse.)

With apologies to Bill Cosby, I'm not sure when I lost it; I'm not sure how I lost it. But I know it used to work in Vista... and it still works on Windows Server 2008 in IE7 and Windows XP in IE7. I just tested it on both. [I figured out the root cause while writing this post, but more on that later.]


I've got half a dozen PCs, notebooks and tablets running Vista that I spend most of my time on, and it's really starting to chap my hindquarters when I have to touch the mouse just to back up one field in a web-based form! Inside Microsoft, a lot of things get done (most things?) in web-based forms... and it's always faster to key than to mouse+key.

If this keeps up, I'm going to have to switch to Windows Server 2008 everywhere and get a divorce from the Windows Sidebar (which I love) because it apparently doesn't work on Windows Server 2008, at least on x64, but then neither does many important pieces of Office 2007, such Internet Fax. Double grrr. But nagging teams that don't ship x64 editions of software is another rant for another day.

(Compiling and testing for native x64 isn't hard, people. I realize that it explodes your test matrix by a factor of 2x, but for the love of recycled bits, please budget for that and ship it! I know I said another day, I will!!)

I won't eureka, but I can speculate that focusing on my angst about SHIFT+TAB to type this stream of consciousness probably help me figure out what eeevil possessed my beloved browser and forced it stop responding to SHIFT+TAB on all my Windows Vista machines, but not on my Windows Server 2008 and Window XP boxes... The Windows Live Toolbar, dammit! I never use it except for the Blog This! button anyway (which I can have without the toolbar), so I uninstalled WLT, rebooted and voilá! I have my long-missed SHIFT+TAB back on web pages and forms again. Hooray!

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Comments (8)

  1. Bob says:

    Thank you!  I work with QuickBooks Online, which is (obviously) an IE dependent program.  The lack of SHIFT + TAB was SO frustrating.  I uninstalled the toolbar and everything works great!

  2. SHIFT-TAB Not Working on Internet Explorer in Vista

  3. PH says:

    I think this may work if you upgrade to Vista SP1, although at the same time it may introduce other problems which I did encountered on my previous notebook.

  4. reedme says:

    I switched to the new beta of the Windows Live Toolbar and they fixed it. I can still SHIFT+TAB after installing it. Thanks, WL!

  5. Brad Melton says:

    Thank-you! My IE7 backtab is back!  And, I’ve got a little more browser view panel real estate after dropping the WLT that I never used anyway!

    I searched and searched on keywords like "shift tab not working", "backtab not working", "shift tab ie7", "backtab vista", etc.  Yours was the only hit on my problem -and you had the solution!

    Interestingly, now that I know the context of the problem, when I google "windows live toolbar shift tab" there are several hits on this WLT backtab issue.

    Kinda like the ol’ "In what year did the War of 1812 begin?" joke! 😉

  6. reedme says:

    FYI, this was fixed in the most recent public builds of the Live Toolbar… I use it and still have a happy SHIFT+TAB in IE7.

    Now, I just wish that I could install SearchPerks on Windows Server 2008 (which only works on Vista). I feel so discriminated against. :o(

  7. Paul in Hermosa Beach, CA says:

    THANK YOU! The lack of shift + back tab has been a thorn in my side for over a year, and never had the time to "research" the issue. I’m grateful to you and to for pointing me in the right direction!

    BTW, I didn’t uninstall WLT, just unchecked it from the View | Toolbars drop-down — and the shift+back tab is workiing just fine!

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