Any way to defeat disabled "back" button?

I just found myself on a web page where my browser “back” button was disabled. Is there anyway to defeat this type of crap, apart from avoiding that site in future?

Try Alt+Left Arrow on a Windows machine.

Disable javascript.

Hmmm…Alt + Left Arrow didn’t work and disabling javascript seem a little heavy handed for a problem that occurs so seldom.

Thanks anyway.

In IE, if you click the tiny down arrow to the right of the word “Back” you’ll get a list of previously visited pages. You may not be able to go back to the page immediately previous, but you can generally go back to some point without entering an entirely new URL.

(I have never encountered a page that disabled “Back” that also disabled the drop-down list, but if you do, that would obviously render this solution useless.)

Disabled back button? ALT + <-- doesn’t work??

Are you sure that the window you are trying to go “back” from is not a “new window”? Like when you click on a link from this message board, a new window will appear with a disabled back button. It’s disabled because it is a new window and there is nothing to go back to.

Are you positive that you are not trying to go back from a new window?

… not trying to insult you or anything. We just gotta exclude all the posibilities here.

The browser’s toolbar should have “back” (and “forward”) buttons. There should be a small black triangle on those buttons, which, when clicked, opens a menu of visited pages. Choose anything but the first item for “back”.

Using the dropdown on the Back button to skip the preceding page is the best advice so far. Most likely you are on a site where the first page is simply a redirect to another URL. What is happening is you are being redirected to the actual content. Then when you click Back, you are simply going to the page that redirects you again to the same content. You can use the dropdown as mentioned earlier. Another technique that works for me most of the time is to simply click Back twice quickly. This skips past the redirect before it has time to execute.

Good luck.


An article on mouse trapping.

Some programers write the code so that clicking on the link to the next page will sneakily do two things:

  1. Open the next page that the link points to.
  2. Auto-closes the original parent window, so that it seems like you’re still working in the same browser window.

This happens fast and you might not even notice that you’re the mark in a game of two-browser monte. Check it out here.

The downfall of this method is that some IE versions tell the user that a page is trying to close (without a toolbar command having been used) and do they want this to happen. Kind of ruins the effect.

Don’t know how to get around it. My suggestion is to hit CTRL+H to bring up the history window (view by order visited today), there you’ll be able to click on a previously viewed page even if it wasn’t viewed in the existing browser window.

Attrayant, why on Earth would a website designer want to pull that sort of trick? Surely that is exactly the sort of thing that would make any sane web user go “Well, screw those guys!” and close down his or her browser altogether.

What does the site designer have to gain by screwing up usability in this way? Do they really think they can “fool people into” reading crap that they don’t want to?

Porn sites do it all the time. You end up clicking on a link by mistake and then browser windows start opening up like mad. They disable the back button so you can’t leave.

Yeah, yeah… :smiley:

Hey, that worked!.Thanks a lot.

Some legitimate business sites do this as well - it’s not just porn. I don’t know what their thought process is, because it’s bloody annoying when the site you go to isn’t what you’re looking for, but the asshole web designer doesn’t want you to go back where you came from. Do they think I’m gonna say “well, I can’t leave the site, so I guess I’ll stay and do business with these guys…”?

I’ve found that a rapid double or triple click on the “back” button usually does the trick.

Hellifiknow. But all you have to do is Google on “disable browser back button” to see a whole page of links to developer forums where wedmasters are asking how to do just this.

One web design book I read which discussed actual usability studies indicated that the back button in one of the primary navigation tools most people use. I think this was in Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think”, which is an excellent web usability guide regardless of whether it’s the cite I’m looking for. Any developer who thinks disabling the back button is a good idea does not have the user in mind. But most of the developers who would consider such a thing are not the type to take usability advice anyway.

The trick Attrayant posted does work in Opera, but I’ve never seen a disabled back button on a real site in this browser. Does anyone have a (non-porn) link to a site using Javascript to do this so I can test if Opera behaves differently than IE?

I’d be inclined to advise them to “run the applet that’s being e-mailed around the net in a file called ‘’”. But that’s just me.

Here’s the Physics site I had trouble with.

Curiously, Firefox v0.8 suffers the same way. I clicked the link provided (opened it in a new tab, to be precise) and followed one of the links on the main page. The back button highlit to indicate history, but clicking it had no effect.

It was a Tripod site, though, which I hate like the plague – you can find a better description of basic physics than that.