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 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:

Search Box is missing

In Windows Explorer :

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

disable Windows Search

Check ‘Windows Search’ to get it back.

To disable Windows Search, uncheck the option. Click OK and for Windows to configure the settings.

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:


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 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; i.e., 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.
Download this VPN to secure all your Windows devices and browse anonymously
Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Just get the VistaStartMenu

    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.

  2. pcnw

    I was searching for hours…nice! thank you

  3. 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?

  4. Anonymous

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

  5. This was easiest for a simple problem. Thank you

  6. Navchichkhede

    Thank you It Works……… 4 me

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Gideon Thompson

    do you still have problems?

  11. Gideon Thompson

    do you still have problem?

  12. 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.

  13. Mike Starr

    There is no Programs and Features options in Windows 7 Home Premium.

  14. Yes, I have the same issue. Any help will be highly appreciated! 🙂

  15. Hrishie

    I had disabled search in Win7. And after updating to Win10 the option to enabe it back is missing :(. Now there is no way I can use the search option beside START. Can anyone please help ?

  16. xCellarxDoorx

    Thanks for the Help! 🙂

  17. Prem Kashyap

    There is better alternative available at 25dollarsupport.Cheap and best.

  18. rijnie van wijk


  19. cyandi

    hello, please help, my windows features box doesn’t have windows search in it. it’s just windows process activation service and then windows TIFF Ifilter… i don’t know what else to do and this is driving me crazy, please reply soon

  20. mikael

    thanks my search bar now working

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