How to Fix Windows 10 Search If it Stops Working

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Introduction

Are you having troubles with Windows 10 search? Apparently, it is a fairly common problem with a number of Windows 10 users.

If your Windows 10 search is broken, do not panic! This guide offers 6 methods that have proven to restore Windows 10 search.

I have ordered the methods from the simplest to the most complex. I recommend you apply the methods in order. However, if you feel a method is not applicable to your situation you can jump to the next method.
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Steps to Fix Windows 10 Search Not Working Issue

Here are the 6 steps that are proven to fix broken Windows 10 Search:

I performed the demos in this guide on a Windows 10 computer with update 1903. If you have not updated, most of the screenshots may look different from what you have.

1
Check that Windows Search Service is Started

The first logical step to resolve Search problem in Windows 10 is to check that Windows Search service is started and set to Automatic start.

Some users have reported fixing Windows 10 search problem with this simple method.

Here are the steps:

  • Press Windows + R (Windows logo on your keyboard pressed simultaneously with the R key). Opens the Run command.
  • At the Run command, type services.msc and click OK.
  • When Services opens, locate Windows Search Service and double-click it.
  • On the Properties of WSearch, confirm that Startup Type is set to Automatic and that its Service status is Running.

Now try searching for something and see whether it works. If it doesn’t work, proceed to the next method.

2
Create a new Administrator account

If you recently reset your Windows 10 with “keep my files” option, then creating a new local administrator account may fix your Windows 10 Search Not Working issue.

Here are the steps:

  • Search Command Prompt. Then right-click it and click Run as administrator.
  • At the command prompt, enter the command below. Then press enter.
control userpasswords2 

The User Accounts tool will open.

windows 10 search
  • On the User Accounts tool, click Advanced tab.
  • Then, at the Advanced user management section, click Advanced.
  • Right-click Users, then select New User…Enter the user details and click Create.
  • Finally, assign this new user to the Administrators group. Logon to your computer with the new admin account.

Now try searching for something. If Windows 10 search is still broken, try my next suggested fix.

3
Use Windows 10 Search and Indexing Troubleshooting Tool

You could use the Search troubleshooting tool to fix this problem as well.

Here are the steps:

  • Open Run command type Control Panel. Then click OK.
windows 10 search -
  • When Control Panel opens, type Index at the search box (top right)
windows 10 search
  • Then click Find and fix problems with Windows Search. The Search and Indexing tool will open.
windows 10 search
  • Click Advanced. Ensure that Apply repairs automatically check box is ticked.
  • Then click Run as administrator. To proceed, click Next.
  • At the next screen tick all the boxes that apply to your situation.
  • Then click Next. The troubleshooter will run and return results.

Run a search to see if the problem is resolved. If not fixed, try the next fix below.

4
Copy Contents of the Old Start Menu to Your New Profile

Before you proceed, enable show hidden items – open file Explorer and click View.

This method is applicable in upgrade or re-installation situations.

Here are the steps:

  • Right-click Windows 10 start menu.
  • Then select File Explorer. When it opens, navigate to C:\Windows.old\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu. Then copy Programs folder.
  • Now open Run command (Press Windows logo + R on your keyboard), enter %userProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and click OK
  • Replace Programs folder in the new Start Menu with the Programs folder from the previous one.
  • Then log off, log back in and try searching again.

If Windows 10 search is still not fixed, try the next fix.

5
Delete Cortana Data from AppData\Pacages Folder

Here are the steps:

  • Enable show hidden items (open file Explorer and click View).
  • Create a new Administrator account or use an existing one. Then log out of your current account with Search problems.
  • Log back to the computer with the new administrator account.
  • Then navigate to C:\Users[user-account-with-search-problem]\AppData\Local\Packages. And rename Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy folder.
windows 10 search - Delete Cortana Data from AppData
windows 10 search - Delete Cortana Data from AppData
  • Log off from the new account. Then log back with your normal account.
When you complete this task Cortana may not work immediately. It will take sometime to recreate the folder you just deleted. See the image below.

Try Windows 10 search to see whether it now works. If Windows 10 search is still not working, try the next fix.

6
If Everything Else Fails…Reinstall Cortana with PowerShell

My final recommended fix is to reinstall Cortana. Here are the steps:

  • Search PowerShell. Right-click it and select Run as administrator. Oh! your Windows 10 search is broken! Try this one: Open Run command. Then copy and paste the path below into Run and click OK.
%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Windows PowerShell
  • When the path opens, right-click Windows PowerShell shortcut and select Run as administrator.
  • Then type the command below into the PowerShell prompt and click enter.
Run the command in one line otherwise it will fail.
Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
Windows 10 search not working problem - reinstall Cortana with Powershell
The re-installation is usually very quick. But you may need to wait for about 30 minutes for your Windows 10 search to start working again.

Conclusion

There you have them – 6 proven steps that should fix Windows 10 search not working problem.

If you were able to resolve your Windows 10 search problems with this guide, kindly share the method that worked for you. Use the “Leave a Reply” form found at the end of this page.

Want more Windows 10 guides? Visit our Windows 10 Support page. Alternatively, you may want to read more about Cortana known issues.

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