How to enable or disable Windows Search in Windows 7 / 8

If you find that the search box is missing in the start menu and / or the Windows explorer, then here is what you need to do. By following this tutorial, you will be able to enable or disable Windows Search in Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista.

Search Box is missing

In Start Menu:

start search missing 400x150 How to enable or disable Windows Search in Windows 7 / 8

In Windows Explorer :

explorer search missing 400x89 How to enable or disable Windows Search in Windows 7 / 8

Open Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features on or off.

enable search windows7 400x271 How to enable or disable Windows Search in Windows 7 / 8

CheckĀ ‘Windows Search’ to get it back. To disable Windows Search, uncheck the option. Click OK and for for Windows to configure the settings.

You will have to restart your computer.

Disable Windows Search

Using Windows Registry

Alternatively or additionally, you may also have to check if this registry key exists. Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

If a value called NoFind exists in the right pane, delete it. A value 1 would mean that search and the following features have been disabled:

  • The Search item is removed from the Start menu and from the right click context menu.
  • The system does not respond when users press F3 or Win+F
  • The search item does not appear in the drive or folder right click context menu.
  • The search item may appear on the Standard Buttons toolbar, but Windows will not respond when you press CTRL+F.

If the key does not exist or has a value 0 then it is the default state; ie Search is enabled.

Exit regedit.

It is always a good idea to back up the registry or create a system restore point first before touching the windows registry!

Using Group Policy Editor

You can also open Group Policy Editor and navigate to:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu & Taskbar > Remove Search link from Start Menu

Ensure that Remove Search link from Start Menu is Disabled or Not Configured.

This should help!

If you turn off Windows Search the following things could happen:

  1. All the search boxes in Windows will disappear
  2. Programs that rely on Windows Search, including Internet Explorer, will not function properly.
  3. Tablet PC handwriting recognition won’t work.
  4. Windows Media Center won’t have enhanced search capability.
  5. You’ll no longer be able to arrange your library views by metadata, and your column headers will only sort items, not stack or group them.
  6. Options that affect Windows Search functionality will be removed, including indexing in Control Panel and the Search tab in Folder Options.
  7. Windows will no longer recognize these search-based file types like search-ms, searchconnector-ms and osdx.

Check this post if Help windows keep opening automatically.

Also see:

  1. Disable Bing Search in Windows 8.1 Search Charm
  2. Disable Search Results Over Metered Connections in Windows 8.1.
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • http://rgbstock.com Cris DeRaud

    Just get the VistaStartMenu
    http://www.vistastartmenu.com/index.html

    The Win7 and Vista start menus are feeble and hard to navigate. This freebie is large and configurable and expands to fit your preferences. Favorites are easy to pin in the left column. No scrolling to see what you have loaded on your machine. Excellent search box too.

  • pcnw

    I was searching for hours…nice! thank you

  • Meneer

    In my case, search box doesn’t appear both on the Start Menu and the Explorer. I have tried all the way you mentioned above. No result. Windows Search feature is ticked (default), NoFind value is not exist (default), and Remove Search link from Start Menu is not configured (default). No changes to those items. (X_X) Should I reinstall my Windows?

  • Anonymous

    Very useful post.
    I didn’t know this tip.

  • http://twitter.com/saxyroro Rosie

    This was easiest for a simple problem. Thank you

  • Navchichkhede

    Thank you It Works……… 4 me

  • Zulqadar

    thanks

  • Serdar Paker

    this is very old post but i have problem with search.i don’t want search box or search service. when i remove search feature i can’t see some web page extesions like “addthis buttons” or some hidden “divs” supposed to when clicking the link to open on the web pages.
    i also have tried disable the search service/enable search feature and solved my problems about web pages.
    search service -enable / search feature – disable (not work)
    search service -disable / search feature -enable (it works)
    it’s worked but very annoying to see search box in the bottom of the start menu and every top of the windows on win 7.
    is there any solution?

  • bj the dj

    Thank you sir! Worked for me. Ive been puzzling this for weeks and its been causing me problems not being able to search directories for song & having to use just the search database on the music software (Virtual dj pro) which is processor intensive – so thank you for providing an easy fix – it really is appreciated. Kind Regards. Ben. http://www.bestdjsonline.com

  • Adityasinh Raol
  • Gideon Thompson

    It is much better construction in Windows 7 than this extended startmenu. It is easy to find things when you click on all programs or write the name of program you are seeking for

  • Gideon Thompson

    do you still have problems?

  • Gideon Thompson

    do you still have problem?

  • Serdar Paker

    yes and i gave up. searchbox sitting there. i also figured displaying web pages correctly does not related with it but i still have no idea what does related.

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