How To Fix Windows Search?

How To Fix Windows Search In Windows 10 If It Is Not Working

Windows Search is a Windows service that allows users to quickly find and search for files on their computers. It is a search platform created by Microsoft that swiftly finds the most common file and data types. Before Windows Search, this function was known as Windows Desktop Search or WDS.

Type a keyword or two and it will reveal not only file and data results, but also web links, Windows tools, and settings. This can be very useful if you wish to find and open a specific Windows setting or tool in a single click. Using Windows Search, there is no need to look for a particular setting manually or go through several different windows to find a file. As well as typing manually, you can also use Cortana, the voice recognition assistant. If it is more convenient for you to use voice search, the results will be the same as typing.

Despite these advantages, operating systems are not perfect and users often face problems when using Microsoft Windows. For example, Windows Search might not be working properly, or not working at all. In this article, we show several methods to fix this type of problem. Since it can be difficult to ascertain what exactly causes these problems, you may need to try a number of the methods outlined below.

how to fix windows search

Table of Contents:

Restart File Explorer

File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer) displays the hierarchical structure of files, folders, and drives on your computer. It also shows any network drives that have been mapped to drive letters on your computer. Using Windows Explorer, you can copy, move, rename, and search for files and folders. Restarting File Explorer might get Windows Search working properly. To restart File Explorer (Windows Explorer), open Task Manager by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on the keyboard or right-click Start menu and select Task Manager from the contextual menu. Once Task Manager is open, find "Windows Explorer" under the "Processes" tab and select it. Then locate the "Restart" button in the bottom-right corner and click it. File Explorer will be restarted and Windows Search should work properly.

restart file explorer

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Restart Cortana

To restart Cortana, go to Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on the keyboard or right-click Start menu and select Task Manager from the contextual menu. Once Task Manager is open, find the Cortana process under the Processes tab and click the "End task" button in the bottom-right corner. Alternatively, right-click the Cortana process and select "End task" from the contextual menu. This will restart the Cortana process - check if Windows Search now works properly.

restart cortana

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Check Windows Search Service

Windows Services (also know as services.msc) are used to modify how Windows services run on your system. These services are responsible for running available programs and managing many system settings and resources. You can modify a service's settings for security, troubleshooting, and performance-related reasons. One reason why Windows Search might not be working is that the Windows Search service is not running or not enabled. To access the Windows Search service, press Win key + R to open the Run dialog box. Once the Run dialog box is open, type "services.msc" and click "OK", or press Enter on the keyboard.

check windows search service step 1

In the Services window, you will see a list of local services. Scroll down to find "Windows Search" and right-click it. Select "Properties" from the drop-down menu to open the service's properties.

check windows search service step 2

In the Windows Search Properties window, click "Start" to start this service (if it has stopped) and ensure that the "Startup type" is set to "Automatic". By doing this, you will direct the Windows operating system to start the Windows Search service on every Windows startup. Click "Apply" to save the changes made and "OK" to exit. You can also right-click the Windows Search service (when in the Windows Services window) and select "Restart" from the contextual menu. See if the Windows Search is now working properly.

check windows search service step 3

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Run Windows Troubleshooter

Windows includes a number of troubleshooters designed to quickly diagnose and automatically resolve various computer problems. Troubleshooters cannot fix all problems, but they are a good place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer or operating system. The built-in Windows troubleshooter can solve (or at least identify) most problems that can occur when using this operating system. To start troubleshooting, go to Settings and type "troubleshoot", and then select "Troubleshoot" from the list.

run windows troubleshooter step 1

Now, scroll down to find "Search and Indexing" under "Find and fix other problems" and click it, and then click "Run the troubleshooter".

run windows troubleshooter step 2

Windows troubleshooter will ask "What problems do you notice?" Mark the "Files don't appear in search results" and "Search or indexing is slowing down the computer" checkboxes and click "Next" to start troubleshooting. See if this fixes the problem with Windows Search.

run windows troubleshooter step 3

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Re-register Cortana Using PowerShell

PowerShell is a task automation and configuration management framework from Microsoft, consisting of a command-line shell and associated scripting language. In PowerShell, administrative tasks are generally performed by "cmdlets", which are specialized .NET classes implementing a particular operation. You can access PowerShell by right-clicking on the Start icon in Windows and selecting the "Windows PowerShell (Admin)" result.

re-register cortana using porweshell step 1

Now copy the "Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}" command and paste it into the PowerShell window. To paste it, simply right-click on the Powershell background and the command will appear - press Enter to execute this command. Close PowerShell and see if this fixes Windows Search and it is working properly.

re-register cortana using porweshell step 2

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Restore Indexing Service

Indexing service (now known as Windows Search indexer) is a Windows service created to improve search performance on Windows computers. If Windows Search stops working properly or stops working completely, then restoring this service might help to fix the problem. To restore Windows Search indexer, go to Control Panel and find "Indexing Options". If it does not appear, ensure that the Control Panel view is set to "Small icons".

restore indexing service step 1

In the Indexing Options window, click the "Advanced" button.

restore indexing service step 2

In the "Index Settings" tab, find the "Rebuild" button under Troubleshooting and click it. This will display a notification saying that rebuilding the index might take some time to complete and that some views and search results might be incomplete until rebuilding has finished. The amount of time required to finish this process will depends on the system speed. If you have an older or slower computer, it might take much longer to finish. Click "OK" to start rebuilding the index.

restore indexing service step 3

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Restore Your System Using Restore Points

If none of the methods mentioned above fixed the problem with Windows Search, you can try to restore the Windows operating system to a previous state at which the problem with Windows Search was not present.

The System Restore tool creates restore points. A restore point is a collection of important system files stored by System Restore on a given date and time. System Restore reverts everything to a saved restore point, but first, you must have one recorded. If a restore point does not exist on your computer, System Restore has nothing to revert to. To use this tool, you must have previously created restore points. With a created restore point, this feature will bring your system back to the previous working state, without affecting your files and data. To restore your system, launch Run. To start it, press the Windows Key + R and type "rstrui.exe". In the Run dialog box, press Enter or click "OK".

restore your system using restore points step 1

In the System Restore window, click "Next".

restore your system using restore points step 2

If there are restore points created, you will see a list of them. Mark the "Show more restore points" checkbox - this should display more restore points. Select the most appropriate restore point (depending on the time created, etc.) and click "Next". Do not select a Restore Point at a time when the Windows Search problem was already present - you certainly do not want to revert to that state.

restore your system using restore points step 3

Confirm the restore point. Your computer will be restored to the state prior to the event detailed in the "Description" field. If you are happy with your choice, click "Finish" and the system restore process will begin.

restore your system using restore points step 4

We hope that this article was helpful and you were able to solve the problem with Windows Search. If you know of any other methods to fix these issues, please leave a comment in the section below.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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