How to Quickly Fix Windows Search Bar Not Working

Windows search troubleshoot

For many Windows users, the issue of the Windows search bar not working will never seem to go away. As we all know that the search bar is the number one utility that every user cannot do without as it makes their life while using the system easily. If you need urgent access to any applications on the system, with the windows search bar you get it almost immediately. It is a feature that all lovers of windows OS cannot do without. There are times that the searches will not just populate any searches or you cannot even type into the search box. Kindly refer to some of my guides: How to Quickly Spin Up a Windows Server ISO Image on Hyper-V and Using Windows Server Backup or Nakivo to Back up your Hyper-V VM, how to Deploy Dynamic Website to AWS EC2, How to Host Static Website and Versioning on AWS S3, how to create IAM Users, Adding MFA and Policies on AWS, and how to Setup SonarLint in VS Code for your App Project.

Windows Search (also known as Instant Search) is a content index desktop search platform by Microsoft introduced in Windows Vista as a replacement for both the previous Indexing Service of Windows 2000 and the optional MSN Desktop Search for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, designed to facilitate local and remote queries for files and non-file items in compatible applications including Windows Explorer. 

This issue can be frustrating but there is always a solution around the corner. In this article, we will be covering different fixes to this issue which you can try on your own. The image below is an example of a windows search bar that is not bringing out any result when in focus.

Search bar not responding
Windows Search Bar

How to Fix Windows Search Using the Troubleshooter

Every windows user has the privilege of using the built-in troubleshooting system aid. This troubleshooter will always provide the first level of support on how to fix the search bar issue. Follow the below steps on how to implement first-level troubleshooting:

  1. In the Windows Settings click on “Update & Security
  2. From the sidebar to the left, click Troubleshoot.
  3. By the right side click on Search and indexing and click the Run the troubleshooter underneath.
Fix Windows search issue
Windows Troubleshooting System
  1. After clicking on the Run the troubleshooter, you will get a new widow that list all problems you are likely to notice on a windows system. Select these options “Files don’t appear in search results” and “Search or indexing is slowing down the computer”.
Quick solutions for search bar problem
Search and Index
  1. Click on Next and follow the prompts one after the other to complete the troubleshooting.

Using Windows Update to Fix Windows Search Issue

So if I may ask do you update your windows regularly? If your system is set to manual update it will not have any recent updates, so you need to regularly update the system to avoid system issues, if possible set the update to automatic.

It is very possible that the absence of recent updates is what is causing the issue with the search bar. Follow the below steps to know how to get your windows operating system updated:

  1. Go to Settings and click Update & Security.
Update and Security

2. Then click on Windows Update and by the right side click on Check for updates. This will start the process of checking for updates online and it takes time for the updates to complete even though this is dependent on when last an update was carried out on the system.

Windows Update

How to Fix the Windows Search Bar Issue by Uninstalling Windows Updates

Sometimes what you think will be the solution to the problem could be the cause of the issue. What Microsoft does is regularly releasing updates and upgrades that fix some bugs on the system. But while trying to do this it could lead to another issue on the system. For instance, a search bar that was working fine before could suddenly stop working after a recent update on the system. That is why reverting to previous version or the previous update will be the solution to the issue.

Follow the below steps on how to roll back any update done before you notice the windows search bar issue.

  1. Go to Settings and click Update & Security. By the right hand side click View update history.
Update History

2. You can confirm the complete list of the updates till when the issue starts. click Uninstall updates.

Uninstalling Updates

3. Then select the latest update from the list and click on Uninstall that will pop up.

Installed Updates Overview

This process might take some minutes before it completes but confirm it actually complete the uninstallation before stopping it and restart your system so that the process will complete. This uninstallation could resolve the issue as the update that caused the issue is removed.

How to Fix Search Windows Search Issue by Rebuilding the Index

Another reason for the Windows Search bar not working could be as a result of a broken or old index. This can be fixed by rebuilding the search index. Follow the below steps on how to rebuild your system search index.

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Go to the View by drop-down and select Small icons from the options.
Control Panel

3. Then click on Indexing Options and then Advanced.

Indexing Options

In the Troubleshooting section click on the Rebuild button.

Index Advance Options

The process of rebuilding the index might take some time but confirm that the system is restarted after completing the process.

If after doing all these and you still experience the issue I will advise that you should not further tamper with anything on the system or any configuration setting as this may lead to further issues. Sometimes issues on the system will get corrected as you continuously use the system.

I hope you found this blog post on How to Quickly Fix Windows Search Bar Not Working Issue very interesting and helpful. In case you have any questions do not hesitate to ask in the comment section.

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