Why does my Internet back button sometimes not work?

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

There are multiple reasons the back button in an Internet browser may not work every time it is used. Below we have provided details about several of the most common reasons for the back button to 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: Click our example link for an example of a link that opens a new window.

A web page automatically forwarded you to an alternate page

Holding down the back buttonSometimes, when you visit a web page, 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 again. 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 to get a list like that shown in the picture.
  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. Some 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.

Script preventing you from going back

If neither of the previous sections resolved your issue, you have encountered deliberate, poor, or malicious code. Some web sites add code to their pages that prevent users from using the back button to leave their pages or site. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to fix and get around that type of code. You may need to manually access a web page you visited several pages ago to get away from the page that is preventing the back button from working.

There are also scripts that can be maliciously 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.

Corrupted Internet browser

It is possible for an Internet browser to become corrupted preventing some features and functionality to stop working. To fix a corrupted Internet browser, you can attempt to uninstall and reinstall the browser to see if that fixes the issue. You can also try to restore Windows back to a previous date when the problem was not occurring.

Additional information