Windows 10 Start Menu search not working [Complete Guide]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • Windows Search is a basic feature meant to let you find virtually anything on your computer.
  • Plenty of users complain that it suddenly stops working. In such a case, checking the firewall and reinstalling Universal applications are recommended actions.
  • Not familiar with this feature? For more quick tips, just visit our Windows Search section next.
  • Our PC Software Hub contains detailed instructions to resolve the most common problems you may encounter. That’s why we encourage you to bookmark it right away.
Fix Windows search issues

It appears that this OS has a few surprises for Windows 10 users, but not that kind of surprises they were expecting to get.

Many users report that Windows Search often stops working after being used one time. Windows Search is a key part of Windows, but many users reported that Windows Search won’t work on their PC.

That can be a big problem, and speaking of this issue, here are some similar issues reported by the users:

  • Windows 10 Start Menu search not working – Many users reported that the Search option in Start Menu isn’t working. If that’s the case, be sure to check your firewall and ensure that it’s not blocking Cortana.
  • Windows 10 Search bar doesn’t work – This is another problem that can occur with Windows search. If you’re affected by this issue, simply reinstall all Universal applications and check if that helps.
  • Windows Search not working – Sometimes Windows Search won’t work at all on your PC. This is usually caused by a minor system glitch but you can fix it by restarting the Windows Explorer process.
  • Windows 10 Search not finding programs – This is another problem that you can encounter with Windows Search. To fix the issue, make sure that Windows Firewall isn’t disabled in Group Policy Editor.
  • Windows 10 Cortana not working – This issue can occur due to your Group Policy settings. If Cortana doesn’t work, be sure to disable certain settings in your Group Policy.
  • Windows Search won’t let me type, open – In some cases, file corruption can cause this problem to appear. However, you should be able to fix this issue using one of our solutions.

What can I do if Windows Search suddenly stops working?

1. Try out Copernic Desktop Search

try out Copernic Desktop Search

Unlike Windows built-in search, Copernic Desktop Search finishes any search procedure error-free. Users never complain about encountering any issues, since the app never stops working out of the blue.

There are practically no search limits with this third-party tool – use it to quickly find files, email attachments, notes, tasks, contacts stored on your PC’s hard drive, and more.

This might sound frightening at first, but do let us remind you that the interface is clean and easy to work with, even if you’re a newbie.

Quick tips for using Copernic Desktop Search:

  • Select using the appropriate Category tab to quickly narrow your searches
  • Supports prefix searches, so you may find words beginning with a given prefix
  • Use the AND operator to look for documents in which all the terms joined with the AND operator are found
  • Use the OR operator to find documents in which at least one of the search terms joined with the OR operator is present
  • Use .txt to identify all files that contain .txt in their filename
Copernic Desktop Search

Copernic Desktop Search

This lightweight software enables you to instantly find anything on a PC. Take advantage of the 30-day trial right away!

2. Check your firewall

Judging by the latest reports, it appears that there is a strong connection between Cortana and Windows search not working. After disabling Cortana, Windows search works again.

Windows search provides 0 results, kill Cortana, try again, get results, click out, try again, 0 results? I have tried re-indexing, running the troubleshooter and lots of other stuff, anyone have any ideas?

Sometimes your firewall can cause issues with Cortana. If Windows Search won’t work, the problem is most likely related to your firewall. To fix the problem, you just need to make a couple of simple changes and you’re good to go.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter windows firewall. Choose Windows Defender Firewall from the list of results.
    Windows 10 Search bar doesn't work
  2. In the left pane, navigate to Advanced settings.
    Windows Search not working
  3. Now go to Outbound Rules (top left).
  4. Locate the Cortana rule > double click Rule to edit > select Block > Apply/OK.

The most surprising fact is that users haven’t install any updates or third-party software recently. The hypothesis that an update or an app may be causing these search issues can thus be rejected.

On the other hand, some users believe that Microsoft pushed a background update that nobody was supposed to know about. They simply refuse to believe that a feature that was working flawlessly a few minutes before, suddenly stops working.

I have the same issue that everyone else does. I haven’t installed any software and no updates were installed recently. The search function was literally working one minute and then it stopped for no apparent reason. I’m assuming that a background update that was deployed by Microsoft that nobody was supposed to know about.

3. Reinstall Universal applications

In case you don’t know, Start Menu and Cortana are basically Universal applications, and if Windows Search won’t work on your PC, you might be able to fix the problem simply by reinstalling the Universal applications.

This is quite simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter Powershell. Now right-click Windows PowerShell from the list of results and choose Run as administrator from the menu.
    Windows 10 Start Menu search not working
  2. When PowerShell starts, run the following commands:
  •  $manifest = (Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.WindowsStore).InstallLocation + ‘AppxManifest.xml’
  • Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $manifest
  • Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like “*SystemApps*”}

After running these commands, all Universal applications will be reinstalled and the issue with Windows Search should be completely resolved.

Keep in mind that Powershell can be a potentially dangerous tool, so use extra caution. If you’re worried that something might go wrong after using PowerShell, feel free to create a System Restore point on your PC.

4. Restart File Explorer

If Windows Search won’t work on your Windows 10 PC, you might be able to fix the problem simply by restarting Windows Explorer process.

Sometimes there might be some glitches on your system, and the best way to fix them is to restart Windows Explorer.

This is quite simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Locate Windows Explorer on the list and right-click it. Choose Restart from the menu.
    Windows 10 Search not finding programs

Windows Explorer will now restart. Once the Windows Explorer restarts, the problem should be completely resolved. Keep in mind that this is just a workaround, so you’ll have to repeat it whenever the issue occurs.

5. Make sure that your Firewall is enabled

In some cases, Windows Search won’t work if you don’t have the necessary components enabled.

Surprisingly, Windows Search is related to Windows Firewall, and if Windows Firewall is disabled, you won’t be able to use Windows Search.

If you remember disabling Windows Search from the Group Policy Settings, be sure to revert the changes and enable Windows Firewall again.

6. Make changes to your Group Policy settings

According to users, Windows Search sometimes won’t due to your Group Policy settings. However, you can fix that problem by making a couple of changes. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and run enter gpedit.msc. Now press Enter or click OK.
    Windows 10 Search not finding programs
  2. In the left pane, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search. In the right pane, navigate to Don’t search the web or display web results in Search.
    Windows 10 Cortana not working
  3. Select Not Configured or Disabled and click Apply and OK to save changes.
    Windows Search won't let me open

After doing that, the problem should be resolved. Several users are also suggesting to run gpupdate /force command in Command Prompt, so you can try that as well.

Alternatively, you can fix this issue by making a few changes in Registry Editor. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
    Windows 10 Search bar doesn't work
  2. In the left pane, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows. In the right pane, double-click ConnectedSearchUseWeb and set its Value data to 1.

Once you make these changes, the issue should be completely resolved and everything will start working again.

FAQ: Learn more about Windows Search

  • Why is Windows Search not working?

If Windows Search is not working any longer, your firewall and the Group Policy settings are often responsible.

  • How do I fix Windows Search not working?

To quickly fix this issue, you may check your firewall, reinstall Universal applications, or use our quick tips.

  • Is it OK to disable Windows Search?

If you don’t use Windows Search at all and a third-party tool became your top pick as well, you may completely turn off the service.

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