Windows Search not working? Here’s how to solve it

In recent days it seems that some users of Windows 10 are experiencing a problem with Windows Search, the search feature integrated into the taskbar of the Microsoft operating system. If you are also among those to whom Windows Search not working. In this guide, we will explain how to solve the problem quickly.

If Windows Search doesn’t work, you probably won’t be able to view search results after entering a word or phrase , the screen remains blank. After examining the problem it seems that a possible solution is related to disabling the integration of Bing with searches.

Windows Search, within the Microsoft operating system, is an essential feature that allows you to find practically anything on our computers (such as documents, images, videos, system files, apps, emails and settings) very quickly. Moreover, thanks to its integration with the Bing search engine , it is possible to use the function to quickly access the web pages or to get answers to the most common questions from the preview of the results.

How to fix Windows Search not working?

In short, if Windows Search does not work you could run into annoying slowdowns of your workflow, as you will be forced to search for files manually in your PC, hoping to remember where you saved them, maybe months and months before.

Although Windows Search is a useful feature that we take for granted every day, the time will come when, for one reason or another, it will stop working as usual. For example, sometimes, the search query won’t show any results or maybe an incomplete result. It may happen that the search box in the taskbar does not respond or does not open at all: in this case, Windows Search not working and you need to find a solution to restore it.

Whatever the reason, if Windows Search doesn’t work, there are several steps you can follow to fix common problems , including when your device has received a bug update that interrupts or ruins the user experience with the feature.

In this guide, we will see various methods and all their steps to follow if Windows Search not working, so as to restore functionality as quickly as possible.

Method 1: Remove Bing from Windows Search

If Windows Search doesn’t work and nothing appears in the bar or window, one solution is to disable Bing integration . To implement this method we will go to work with RegEdit, therefore we recommend to make a backup of both the PC and its registry before starting.

After performing all the necessary backups, you can perform these steps to restore local search. Obviously the web results will not be displayed while Bing is disabled.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on the keyboard.
  2. Type regedit and press Enter.
  3. Double click on HKEY_CURRENT_USER .
  4. Double click on SOFTWARE .
  5. Click twice on Microsoft .
  6. Double click on Windows .
  7. Double click on CurrentVersion
  8. Click twice on Search
  9. Right-click on the right pane of the RegEdit window to display the menu.
  10. Click on New .
  11. Select DWORD value (32 bit) .
  12. Type BingSearchEnabled and then press the Enter key.
  13. Double-click on the newly created BingSearchEnabled entry .
  14. Type 0 in the Value data field . (It should already be 0 but make sure.)
  15. Click Ok .
  16. Double click on CortanaConsent .
  17. Type 0 in the Value data field .
  18. Click Ok .
  19. Reboot your PC.

If Windows Search not working, these steps should be able to rehabilitate it, at least for local results . Of course, there is still a temporary solution to be implemented until Microsoft solves the problem at the root and we recommend that you cancel these manual changes to the registry once Windows Search returns to work without problems.

To cancel the procedure described above, all you have to do is repeat steps 13 and 14 , but typing 1 in the BingSearchEnabled data field to reactivate Bing. The same should be done for steps 16 and 17 , with a 1 in the CortanaConsent data field . Just restart the PC to return to normal.

Method 2: Using the troubleshooter

If Windows Search not working and restarting your device does not solve the problem, you could try using the settings of the troubleshooter to diagnose and resolve common problems. You can do this in two ways: from the Settings app or from the Command Prompt.

Reset Windows Search from Settings

If Windows Search doesn’t work, you can try to fix the search functionality with the Settings app, you can follow the following procedure:

  1. Open Settings .
  2. Click Update and Security .
  3. Click Troubleshoot .
  4. In the ” Find and fix other problems ” section, select the Search and Index option .
  5. Click the Run the troubleshooter button .
  6. Select from among the various options those which best describe your situation, for example ” Files are not displayed in search results “.
  7. Click on Next .
  8. Continue following the instructions on the screen (if a problem is identified and an applicable solution identified).
  9. Once these steps are complete, the search function should start working on your computer again.

Restore Windows Search with the command prompt

Alternatively, if Windows Search not working and you want to use this method, you can also launch the troubleshooter via the command prompt:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut by pressing the Windows + R keys to open the Run command .
  2. Type cmd and click the OK button .
  3. Type the following command and press Enter to start the troubleshooter:
  4. msdt -ep Windows Help id SearchDiagnostic
  5. Click on Advanced .
  6. Check the option ” Perform restore operations automatically “.
  7. Click on Next .
  8. Select from among the various options those which best describe your situation, for example ” Files are not displayed in search results “.
  9. Click on Next .
  10. Continue following the instructions on the screen (if a problem is identified and an applicable solution identified).

Once the steps are complete, the search and indexing troubleshooter will scan and resolve the most common problems with the feature (as long as it has managed to identify them).

Method 3: Correct Windows Search using the restart option

If Windows Search not working but you don’t want to go through the registry to fix it, this might be the right option for you. There is a method to restart the Windows 10 process that checks for search items by following these steps:

  1. Click the right mouse button on the taskbar and select Task Manager (Task Manager). TIP: Alternatively, you can open the Task Manager using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc or using the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Del and selecting the Task Manager item.
  2. Click on the Details tab .
  3. Right-click on the process. exe and select the End Task button
  4. In the newly opened window click on the End process button.

Once these short steps are complete, the process should automatically restart. If it does not restart immediately, restart your computer, then check if the search problem has been resolved.

Method 4: Correct Windows Search using the restore option

If Windows Search doesn’t work after trying the previous methods, you may be able to fix it by restoring functionality. However, the recovery process depends on the version of the operating system currently installed on the computer.

Checking the version of Windows 10

To determine the version of Windows 10 installed on your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click System Information.
  4. In the ” Windows specifications ” section, check the version of Windows 10 you are using.

Once you have ascertained the version of Window 10 in use, you can proceed with the next steps.

Reset Search on Windows 10 version 1903

If your PC is running Windows 10 version 1903, May 2019 update, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the Microsoft Download Center website.
  2. Click the Download button in the Reset Windows Search PowerShell script section.
  3. Right-click on the saved file and choose Run with PowerShell (as administrator). TIP: Alternatively, you can also open PowerShell using the Windows + R keyboard shortcut, typing the PowerShell command and using the Ctrl + Shift + Enter key to activate the command as an administrator.
  4. Type the following command to determine the current script execution setting and press Enter:
  5. Get-ExecutionPolicy
  6. Determine the execution policy, for example, Limited.
  7. Type the following command to allow the scripts to run on the device and press Enter:
  8. Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
  9. Type S and press Enter (if applicable)
  10. Type the following command to run the script and press Enter:
  11. & “C: \ Users \ YOUR-ACCOUNT-FOLDER \ Download \ ResetWindowssearchBox.ps1”
  12. In the command, be sure to replace YOUR-ACCOUNT-FOLDER with the name of your account folder.
  13. Type V and press enter.
  14. Type the following command to set the original execution script and press Enter:
  15. Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser -ExecutionPolicy Restricted
  16. In this example, the Limited option was added, as it was the original setting. In case you have a different policy, be sure to change it before running the command.
  17. Type S and press Enter.

Once these steps are complete, Search should start working again as before.

Reset Search on Windows 10 version 1809

If, on the other hand, your PC is running Windows 10 version 18069, the October 2018 update or an earlier version. To restore the search functionality, the steps are much less and simpler. You can, therefore, proceed as follows:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Right-click Cortana from the All apps list.
  3. Select the Other option
  4. Click the App Settings option.
  5. Click on the Restore button.

Once the steps are complete, the restore process should have solved the problem and the search box on the taskbar should have started working again.

Method 5: fix Windows Search using Indexing Settings

If Windows Search not working, the indexing feature can be to blame, which can cause problems that prevent you from returning search results to your device.

If you’ve tried all the previous methods and Windows Search still doesn’t work, you can try rebuilding the index database to fix search problems on Windows 10.

To do this, you can follow the next instructions:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Click on Search
  3. Click on Search in Windows
  4. If you are using Windows 10 version 1809 or earlier, open the Control Panel, click on the View by menu in the upper right corner, select the Large icons view and click on Indexing Options to continue.
  5. Click Advanced Search Indexer Settings.
  6. TIP: if the search does not return results for the contents of a particular folder, it is also advisable to check the “Excluded folders” section since the search will ignore the contents of any folder in this list. If the folder you want to search is part of the excluded list, select it and click the Remove button.
  7. Click on Advanced.
  8. Click on the Index Settings tab.
  9. Under the ” Troubleshooting ” section, click on ” New index “
  10. Click on OK.
  11. At the end of these steps, Windows 10 will delete and rebuild the index database. However, when rebuilding the database, searches from the system tray, from File Explorer and through the operating system may be incomplete until all files are indexed again.

Restarting Windows Search

  1. In the rare event that you viewed searches without results and were unable to access the indexing settings, it could mean that the Windows search service may be disabled on your computer.
  2. To enable the indexing and search service, you can follow the following procedure:
  3. Use the Windows + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  4. Type the following command and click the OK button :
  5. MSc
  6. Double click on the Windows Search service.
  7. Click on the General tab.
  8. Use the Startup type menu and select the Automatic (delayed start) option.
  9. Click on the Start button.
  10. Tap on the Apply button.
  11. Click on the OK button.

After completing the steps, Windows Search will be enabled on your computer and you should be able to start searching for files and apps for the taskbar and file explorer again.

Method 6: fix Windows Search using Windows Update

On Windows 10, quality updates may include fixes for search functionality, but they can also be the cause of the search failure. If Windows Search not working, you could try to fix it by installing an update.

Correct Windows Search by installing an update

If you haven’t updated Windows 10 for a while, perhaps the latest update might include a fix for Windows Search.

To update Windows 10 to the latest release, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Update and Security.
  3. Tap on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for Updates button.
  5. After installing the missing update (if necessary) click on the Restart now button.
  6. After completing the steps, the latest maintenance update should resolve any search problems on your computer.

Correct Windows Search by removing an update

Although it is true that Microsoft is committed to releasing updates to improve the overall experience of Windows 10. Sometimes it happens that an update has problems and will “break” some features. This could be one of the reasons why Windows Search doesn’t work.

If you suspect that a recent update is the reason Windows Search doesn’t work, use these steps to remove it:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Update and Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Tap on the View update history button.
  5. Click on Uninstall updates.
  6. Select the latest update installed.
  7. Click on the Uninstall button.
  8. Click on the Yes button.
  9. Reboot your computer.

After these steps are complete, the problematic update will be removed from Windows 10, solving any Windows Search problems, and the update itself should not be downloaded and installed automatically until Microsoft releases a later version.

With these last steps the roundup of possible solutions to be implemented if Windows Search not working. Let us know in the comments if you have also encountered this problem and with which of these six methods you have managed to solve the problem.

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