How to Fix Windows Search Not Working On Windows?

If your Windows search is not working, it is mainly due to a recently downloaded Windows update, interference from the bing search utility, stopped Windows search service and corrupted system files. These are the most common causes that can trigger this issue.

How to Fix Windows Search Not Working On Windows?
How to Fix Windows Search Not Working On Windows?

Usually, Windows search stops giving search results after installing a buggy Windows update, preventing you from using the Windows search utility. However, it can easily fix by clicking on the empty area on Windows search, but it is not a permanent solution. You need to follow the following methods to fix this issue permanently. If one of the solutions does not work for you, try other solutions, as they all have worked for the affected users in different scenarios.

1. Restart File Explorer

As a first solution, we recommend restarting Windows explorer before going through the other fixes. Windows Explorer handles the taskbar, start menu and others. Hence, if there is a temporary bug causing this issue, restarting Windows explorer will help. Here are the steps:

  1. Right-click the taskbar and then click Task Manager
  2. Once the task manager is opened, select Windows Explorer and then click Restart

    Restarting Windows Explorer
    Restarting Windows Explorer
  3. Once done, check if the issue is fixed.

2. Disable Bing Search From Registry

It has been seen that the bing search prevents the Windows search utility from returning the results. There is a high possibility that your Windows search is not responding due to interference from the bing search. Therefore, try disabling the bing search from the registry editor to fix this issue.

  1. Press the Win + R to open Run Window
  2. Type regedit and click OK

    Launching Registry Editor
    Launching Registry Editor
  3. Go to the following directory and then right-click on the empty space on the right pane
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search
  4. Hover New and click DWORD (32-bit) Value

    Creating A Registry Entry To Disable Bing Search
    Creating A Registry Entry To Disable Bing Search
  5. Name it BingSearchEnabled
  6. Then, double-click on the entry to make sure that its value data is 0. If it’s not 0, then change it to 0
    Disabling Bing Search From Registry Editor
    Disabling Bing Search From Registry Editor
  7. Once done, click OK, close the registry editor, and restart your computer for the change to take effect.

3. Run Search And Indexing Troubleshooter

Another good solution to this issue is to run the search and indexing troubleshooter, which often fixes the Windows search as it restarts the Windows search component and fixes the problems related to the search indexing.

If you don’t know about the index,  it is a feature that is used to find text in a file or a particular file or folder in less than a second. Even though it makes the Windows search feature fast and responsive, it can also lead you to this issue if your Windows is not able to index properly. Therefore, try running the search and indexing troubleshooter by following the steps written below:

  1. Open Settings by pressing Win + I on the keyboard
  2. Then navigate to Update & Security

    Heading to Update And Security
    Heading to Update And Security
  3. Select Troubleshoot from the left sidebar
  4. Click Additional Troubleshooters
    Opening Additional Troubleshooters
    Opening Additional Troubleshooters
  5. Then, select the Search And Indexing troubleshooter
  6. Click Run The Troubleshooter

    Fixing Search Indexing Issues Automatically
    Fixing Search Indexing Issues Automatically
  7. A Window will pop up, and you need to select the problem that you are facing. If you are not able to see the search results, then tick the first option, which is Can’t Start A Search Or See Results

    Describing Issue In To The Troubleshooter
    Describing Issue In To The Troubleshooter
  8. Then, click Next
  9. If the troubleshooter detects the problems, it will show an option that is Try These Repairs As An Administrator. Click on it to fix the problem

    Applying Fixes Automatically As Administrator
    Applying Fixes Automatically As an Administrator
  10. Once done, now check if the Windows search is not showing the search result problem is resolved.

4. Uninstall Recent Windows Updates

The Windows search not working issue also occurs if you recently installed Windows updates. Windows automatically downloads or installs the updates in the background if they are available, which sometimes takes you to this issue. The easy fix for this issue is to uninstall the Windows updates and if the issue is fixed, then disable automatic Windows updates to get rid of this issue permanently. Below are the steps to uninstall a recent Windows update:

  1. Press the Win + R keys and type Control Panel and then press Enter to launch
    Opening Control Panel
    Opening Control Panel
  2. Click Uninstall A program or navigate to the following path by pasting into the search bar
    Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features
  3. Click View Installed Updates to see the list of updates
    Clicking To View Installed Updates
    Clicking To View Installed Updates
  4. Now, right-click the Windows update you want to uninstall, then click Uninstall

    Uninstalling Buggy Windows Update
    Uninstalling Buggy Windows Update
  5. Click Yes when the confirmation message popups
    Confirming to Uninstall Windows Update
    Confirming to Uninstall Windows Update
  6. Once done, check if the issue is resolved.

5. Restart Window Search From Task Manager

Windows search is an essential service as it handles content indexing, property caching, and search results. If this service is not running for any reason, you may run into this issue. Therefore, check the service status, as it might not be running, causing this issue. Follow the steps:

  1. Right-click the taskbar and click Task Manager

    Opening Task Manager
    Opening Task Manager
  2. Select Search and click End Task. This will restart the service
    End Tasking Search Process
    End Tasking Search Process
  3. If that does not work, press the Win + R to launch the Run program
  4. Type services.msc and click OK

    Navigating To Services Window
    Navigating To Services Window
  5. Find and right-click the Windows Search service and click Properties

    Opening Windows Search Properties
    Opening Windows Search Properties
  6. If the startup type is not set to automatic, change it to Automatic and click Apply
  7. If the service is stopped, click Start to run the service and click OK

    Restarting Windows Search Service
    Restarting Windows Search Service
  8. Once done, check if the issue is fixed.

6. Rebuild Search Items

Rebuilding indexing means removing all indexing content from the database and rebuilding a new database by re-indexing all the items located in the drives. However, if this method does not fix the issue, resetting the search index using the registry editor might fix your issue.

  1. To rebuild the index, open the Run program by pressing Win + R simultaneously
  2. Type Control Panel and click OK to navigate
    Heading to the Control Panel
    Heading to the Control Panel
  3. Select Large Icons from View By from the top right
    Changing View By In Control Panel
    Changing View By In Control Panel
  4. Then, click on Index Options and then click Advanced

    Opening Advanced Setting Of Search And Indexing
    Opening Advanced Setting Of Search And Indexing
  5. In the end, click on Rebuild

    Rebuilding Search Index Database
    Rebuilding Search Index Database
  6. Click OK when a short Windows appears, indicating that it might take some time, depending on the system.
  7. Once done, now try searching for something to see if the issue is fixed.

7. Reset or Rebuild the Windows Search Index using Regedit

You can also reset the Windows search by using the registry editor, which also rebuilds a new database for indexing. You can follow the below steps to do that:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to launch Run Program
  2. Enter regedit in the search box and click OK

    Opening Registry Editor Using Run Command
    Opening Registry Editor Using Run Command
  3. Go to the following path
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search

    Note: You can paste the address in the search bar to navigate quickly

  4. If you see the SetupCompletedSuccessfully entry on the right pane, then double-click on it and change its value to 0

    Editing Registry Key
    Editing Registry Key
  5. After, click OK and restart your computer to save the changes 
  6. If the SetupCompletedSuccessfully key is not present, then right-click and hover New and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value

    Creating A Registry Key To Reset Windows Search
    Creating A Registry Key To Reset Windows Search
  7. Name it SetupCompletedSuccessfully and then change its value to 0

    Changing Key Value Data to 0
    Changing Key-Value Data to 0
  8. Once done, click OK and restart your computer to reset and rebuild the search index.

8. Use PowerShell Commands to Fix Windows Search

If the issue is still there, try reinstalling the Windows search with the help of powershell commands by following the steps below:

  1. Right-click the Start Menu and click Windows PowerShell (Admin)

    Opening Windows PowerShell
    Opening Windows PowerShell
  2. Once the powershell is opened, paste the following commands one by one
    PowerShell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like "*SystemApps*"} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
    $manifest = (Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.WindowsStore).InstallLocation + '\AppxManifest.xml' ; Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $manifest
    Reinstalling All System Apps Including Windows Search
    Reinstalling All System Apps, Including Windows Search
  3. Once done, check if it fixes the issue.

9. Repair Corrupted Files

The Windows search not working issue can also occur due to the corrupted system files. You can easily restore them from the cached by running the SFC command. SFC or System File Checker is a command line utility used to fix and restore corrupted files. Hence, give a try to this by running the command mentioned below:

  1. Right-click the Task Manager and then click File > Run New Task

    Running New Task From Task Manager
    Running New Task From Task Manager
  2. Type cmd in the search box and tick Create This Task With Administrative Privileges
  3. Click OK to open the command prompt with the administrator
    Running Command Prompt With Administrator Privileges
    Running Command Prompt With Administrator Privileges
  4. Type the following command and press Enter
    sfc /scannow
    Running System File Checker To Repair The Corrupted Files
    Running System File Checker To Repair The Corrupted Files
  5. Wait for the verification to be finished and then check if the issue is resolved.

10. Reset Your Computer

If all else fails to fix this issue, the last option which is left is to reset the Windows without losing the data. Remember that you won’t lose your data, such as images, documents and files, but you will lose all the installed apps and drivers.

Therefore, if you are not in a position to reset the computer, restoring the computer to a state where Windows search was working might be a good option. However, to restore to the previous state, you need a restore point which should be created before encountering this issue. In this case, we recommend resetting your computer because it has worked for most affected users. Here are the steps:

  1. Launch Windows Settings by pressing Win + I together
  2. Go to Update & Security

    Heading to the Update And Security Settings
    Heading to the Update And Security Settings
  3. Select Recovery from the left pane and then click Get Started under Reset This PC

    Clicking To Reset Your Windows
    Clicking To Reset Your Windows
  4. Choose Keep My Files and then select Local Reinstall

    Selecting Keep My Files Option
    Selecting the Keep My Files Option
  5. Click Next and then click Reset

    Resetting Windows Without Losing Data
    Resetting Windows Without Losing Data
  6. Wait for the computer to restart
  7. Once done, the issue should be fixed.
Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.
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Expert Tip

How to Fix Windows Search Not Working On Windows?

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

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