If Windows Search or Search Indexer is not working properly or will not start in Windows 8 / 7, then this troubleshooting post may help you fix the problem. You may try the suggestions in any order you wish, but remember to create a system restore point first, before you commence.
Windows Search not working
If on searching in Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you get a message :
Search Failed to Initialize
Try these steps:
1] Rebuild Search Index
To rebuild search index, Open Control Panel > System & Maintenance > Indexing Options. In the Advanced Options, Click on Restore Defaults and also Rebuild Index. Click OK.
Next, type ‘service’ in your Start Menu Search Bar, and start Services. Scroll down to the ‘Windows Search Service’, and ensure that it is set on Automatic and Running. Restart this Service. You will also have to ensure that RPC (Remote Procedure Call) is running and set on automatic.
2] If you find that your Indexing is not running , or that the Advanced Button is grayed out and /or you get a message:
Waiting to receive indexing status
Microsoft Windows Search Indexer Stopped Working And Was Closed
… then the chances are that your following Registry key may have been corrupted :
Open Regedit and navigate to the above-mentioned key. In the right pane, double click on SetupCompletedSuccessfully. Ensure that the Value Data is 0, that is, zero numeral. Click OK. Reboot.
This procedure will reset your Windows Search completely, rebuild index and reset your crawl and other indexing settings.
3] Even if your Windows Search Service is set on Automatic, you are unable to Start the service; but instead you get the following error message :
Windows could not start the Windows Search on Local Computer
I suggest then that you see the Event Viewer to check for System Logs. To do so, simply just type event in the Windows start menu search bar and hit enter. On the left side, click on System, to view the logs.
Note the Event ID and seek Event Log Online Help.
4] Open Windows Explorer, set it to show Hidden files and folders via Folder Options, and then navigate to the following location:
Right-click the Indexed folder > Properties > Advanced > Check Allow files in this folder to have indexed in addition to file properties. Click Apply and Exit.
5] If you cannot find files when you search a Windows computer even though the files exist on the computer, then KB932989, may be what you are looking for !
6] See this post if you receive error message: Windows Search service on local computer started and then stopped.
7] See this post if Windows Start Menu Search Box not working in Windows.
8] This post may help you if Search box does not display search results correctly in Windows.
9] Run the Windows Search Troubleshooter and follow its suggestions.
10] Restore your computer to a prior good point, or Reset / Refresh your Windows 8 PC. Else repair your Windows 7 installation. Boot from your Windows DVD > Select System Recovery Option > Select Repair Computer > Choose your installation of Windows > Select ‘Startup Repair’ > Follow the instructions.
11] See this post if you see Search Indexing was turned off message in Windows 10 Start Menu.
If nothing works, then you might want to consider using an alternative Search software for Windows.
NOTE: Microsoft’s Fix It Blog has automated this WinVistaClub post dated 7th Oct 2008 on Windows Search not working, into a Fix it MSI package! It resets Windows Search settings to default. It is incidentally, the first MVP Fix It !
Here’s what the Fix It package does:
- Stops the Windows Search Service
- Configures the service to start= auto
- Sets HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\SetupCompletedSuccessfully to 0
- Starts the Windows Search Service
Go here to download the Fix it MSI package.