Troubleshooting Guide: Windows Search Bar is Not Working

The Windows 10 search bar is one of the most useful features of Windows 10, conveniently located just beside the familiar Start menu button. Old-school Windows users know how to find something by going through the menu but the Windows search bar makes it easier than before. If you ignored it beforehand, you are missing out on making your Windows experience faster and more efficient. One nifty shortcut Windows 10 search bar has for searching needs you to simply open the Start menu and start typing – the results automatically come up! Windows Search makes it simple to find and search for files, apps, and all sorts of odds and ends without wasting time digging deep in your PC.

Like there are problems with other features, you can have Windows 10 search bar problems too. Not to worry though – follow the solutions below and you can fix your search bar!

1.     Troubleshooting

Getting fast search results relies on indexing the data and other files on your PC. You can use the troubleshooter for Windows Search and Indexing to fix your Windows 10 search bar problems.

  • To run the troubleshooter, do the following:
  • Open the Start menu and click Settings.
  • Go to Update & Security, and select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left.

  • In the section “Find and fix other problems”, choose “Search and Indexing”. Click the button labeled “Run the troubleshooter”.

  • The troubleshooting wizard automatically detects and fixes any present Windows 10 search bar problems.

If you cannot access Setting, use command prompt to launch the troubleshooter by following these steps:

  • Use the Windows logo key + R keys shortcut to open Run. Enter the word “cmd” in the box.  Click OK.

  • In command prompt, run the following command:

msdt.exe -ep WindowsHelp id SearchDiagnostic

  • This launches the troubleshooter. Click Next and follow along with the screens. Reboot afterward if needed.

Related: Troubleshooting Guide: Touchpad Clicking Is Not Working

2.     End the Windows 10 Search bar process

The Windows 10 Search process runs the searching and indexing, and by restarting it you can fix possible issues with the search bar. Here’s how:

  • Launch the Task Manager. There are two methods to open the Task Manager.
  1. Press the Windows logo key + X and select Task Manager from the menu, or
  2. Press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys. Your screen switches to a blank one with a list of functions to choose from. Click on Task Manager from the options.
  • When the Task Manager opens, switch to the Details tab. Find “SearchUI.exe”, right-click on it and choose “End task”. Select “End process” when prompted.

  • When you perform a search next time, the “SearchUI.exe” process automatically starts again. Reboot your PC if it does not restart.

Interesting Read: How To Supercharge Your Computer’s Performance

3.     Rebuild the Windows 10 search bar index

There’s the likelihood that your Windows 10 search bar problems may have resulted from corruption in the search indexing files. Rebuilding the search index may help. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Go to Control Panel.
  • In Control Panel, open the “View by” drop-down menu at the top-right of the screen and select “Large icons”.

  • Select “Indexing Options”. In the window that opens, click on the button labeled “Advanced”.

  • In the next window, click the “Rebuild” button in the Troubleshooting section.

  • Select OK on the prompt that pops up, and wait until the process finishes.

Interesting Read: How to Make Undeletable Files and Folder in Windows 10

4.     Resetting the Windows 10 Search bar function

Depending upon your Windows version, this solution may take a short time, or otherwise longer to execute.

First, you need to know what Windows version you are using on your device, using the following method:

  • Open the Start menu, launch the Settings app, then select System.
  • Scroll down the navigation items on the left and open About.
  • Scroll to the section titled “Windows specifications”. Here you can see what version of the Windows 10 operating system currently runs on your device.

1809 and Former Versions

Follow these steps:

  • Open Start, right-click on Cortana, expand to More, and click on the “App settings” option.
  • When the settings launch, Find the Reset option and click on it.

1903 and Later Versions

If you installed the May 2019 Windows 10 Update and the next ones, you got the 1903 version. The Windows 10 Search bar reset requires the use of Windows PowerShell. Administrator permissions and a script download are necessary as well.

  • Visit the Microsoft Download Center online to download the script titled “ResetWindowsSearchBox.ps1”.
  • Open the location where you saved the file, right-click on the file, and select the option “Run with PowerShell”.

  • Select Yes if prompted by the dialog “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?”.
  • The script execution takes place and resets the Windows Search bar. When “Done” appears in PowerShell, you can close the window.

In case your script execution policy does not allow loading such scripts, you can try the following.

  • First, check your execution policy using the following command in Windows PowerShell.

Get-ExecutionPolicy

  • Tap Enter.
  • If it is set to “Restricted”, you can change it to allow the script to run. Note down which policy was set – you must change it back afterward for security reasons. Here, we have the “Restricted” setting.

  • Insert this command in the command line in Windows PowerShell next, and tap Enter:

Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

  • Next, when the cautionary message appears, press Y for Yes, followed by tapping Enter so that your changes are saved.

  • You will see “Done” appear when the script finishes running. Don’t close the PowerShell window just yet! Now, you should change your policy setting back to the original one.
  • In Windows PowerShell, enter this command:

Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser -ExecutionPolicy OriginalSetting

  • Here, replace the text “OriginalSetting” with the execution policy setting you noted earlier e.g. Restricted. Tap on Enter.
  • When the cautionary message appears, tap Y for Yes as before, and hit Enter to save the change and return to your original execution policy setting. You can close the Windows PowerShell window now.

5.     Reboot the Windows Search service

Sometimes, results don’t appear when you search and the Indexing settings are not accessible. In situations like these, the Windows Search service was probably deactivated on your PC. Enable it with the following steps:

  • Open Run by pressing the Windows logo key + R.
  • Type “services.msc” and hit OK.

  • Scroll down to find the Windows Search service and double-click on it to open a new dialog window.

  • In the General tab, open the drop-down menu named “Startup type”, and choose the option “the Automatic (Delayed Start)”.

  • If the service was disabled, you see an active “Start” button under the Service status text. Click it, followed by clicking on Apply and OK to save your changes.

Note: Does this article provide the info you’re looking for? Is there any information you think of missing or incorrect? You can give your opinion in the comments section below.

If you like this tutorial, share this post and spread the knowledge by clicking on social media options below because “Sharing is caring

Kiran Shahzad: Kiran Shahzad is a freelancer who has been writing about travel and technology since 2018. Her interests include video games, archeology, and music. Contact: kiranshahzad395@gmail.com
Leave a Comment
Recent Posts