Why does my Internet back button sometimes not work?

A new window or tab was opened

While browsing the Internet, some websites open their links in a new window or tab. When this occurs, all your previous search history will not move over to the new window. You can determine if this is the cause of your issue by examining the back button or the number of tabs at the top of your browser window. If the back button is gray or non-responsive, it is more than likely that you are in a new window. Or, if you can see that there are more tabs than there were previously, a new one has been opened. To get back to your previous window, you may either close the new tab that has been opened or click on the earlier tab, which is located to the left of the new one.

Tip: To see an example of a link that opens a new window, click here.

A web page automatically forwarded you to an alternate page

Sometimes, when you visit a webpage, it automatically directs you to another page. If this occurs, and you press the back button, you will immediately be re-forwarded to that same page. To resolve this issue, you can try one or more of the following solutions.

  1. Press and hold down the mouse button on the back button.
  2. Press the back button two or more times quickly, this will almost always get you back to a previous page. If you go back too may pages, push the forward button until you see the desired page.
  3. Most new browsers have a small down arrow Back options next to the back button. Pressing this button displays the last few pages you have visited recently. Once this list is displayed, you can select from pages you have already visited.

Other script preventing you from going back

If neither of the previous sections resolved your issue, you have encountered poor or malicious code. There are scripts that can be loaded into the browser through a web page that prevent the back arrow from functioning properly. To resolve this problem, close and re-open your browser or visit a different site.

Additional information

  • See our back button definition for further information and related links on this term.