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What is going on with Windows 10 Search?

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting Help' started by Elmf, May 5, 2022.

  1. Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    Hey all,
    So I use the search function on my PC alot. I open most of my Apps using it, i'm not a person with a bunch of icons on desktop, i'd rather click Windows button and just find it that way.

    Unfortunately, out of nowhere, my Windows search doesn't work!

    I click it, it brings up a grey box with loading circles on top for 2seconds or so, then it closes.
    It doesn't let me type anything in, but if I keep persisting it occasionally let's me type a few letters in which still yields no results anyway.

    I've tried every option that comes up on a quick Google.

    -Restarting Windows search in services.msc
    -Restarting the Search services tree/task in Task Manager
    -Using the CTFMON trick
    -Turning Windows Search off and on via Powershell
    -Probably heaps of other shit.

    Any ideas? I'm on the latest Windows 10 build.
     
  2. rg144

    rg144 Member

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    Cant comment on Win10 as have moved to Win11 (no issues with Search there if at all relevant);
    but as a side note- I've always used PowerToys Run; basically a copy of OS X Spotlight search but works great, nice & fast too; highly recommended.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    Thanks mate, i'd prefer to use the native one which I also thinks works fantastically, but worst case if I can't get it working i'll check that out! Cheers.

    Edit: Actually i'm installing it anyway as an interim cos having no search function is shitting me that much
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2022
  4. rg144

    rg144 Member

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    Its really awesome man, I loath using utilities that run in the background in general; but for day to day PowerToys and in particular this Run works well for me. Takes some memory work for commands (limiting search to files only, win settings etc) but once thats down pat you're golden. Official Microsoft dev tool so no nasty 3rd party bizzo.

    Silly question- on that Win10 search issue, you tried:
    1. Running Index Troubleshooter --> "Cant start a search or see results" and
    2. Reinstalling Cortana via Windows Powershell using Get-AppXPackage & deleting search folder in registry (in case its corrupt)?
     
  5. macktheknife

    macktheknife Member

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  6. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    I'm not in Windows 11, is this a problem in Windows 10?

    I'd be fine if it web searches, i've been fine with it for ages...It won't search anything at all though!!!

    The thing you linked is good, but it doesn't find everything. For example in Windows search bar I can type in "add remove" and it comes up with the packaged app to uninstall programs. Doesn't work here, have to go to settings then go from there.

    Edit: Off to bed with me - hopefully you guys have some more ideas for me tomorrow cos i'm at end of my wits. Maybe time to buy a Gen-4 NVME SSD as an upgrade and re-install Windows onto it...Running a boring Gen-3 one atm.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2022
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  7. macktheknife

    macktheknife Member

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    151528 likes this.
  8. rg144

    rg144 Member

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    For windows settings you have to use the '$' prefix pre text:

    [​IMG]

    Only 5 or so I use regularly below, all sensical/easy to become 2nd nature, as per the Power Toys page:

    [​IMG]

    This is what I was referring to re 'memory work' for commands, hope you haven't uninstalled already ;) has some customisation & of course indexing options too.

    One nifty feature I like are the buttons on the far right of searches for things like:
    - copy path, copy command shortcut
    - run as administrator etc

    [​IMG]

    Sadly, it doesn't do currency conversions but this will work (with or without ??) ;)
    Code:
    ?? 500aud to usd
    EDIT:
    To make life simpler, really the only 2 commands worth remembering are:
    ? - file search
    $ - windows settings

    Other commands are not critical i.e
    & - timezone conversion and %% - metric conversions

    They and everything else (i.e web) can be performed by just typing text to launch a browser-->google search/convert etc, same goes for URL's.

    Anyways smells of a corrupt Win Search/Cortana issue. Did re-installing cortana/running search troubleshooter resolve? If only we'd stop fixing and just format c: /q .. ;)

    P.S sorry for hijacking thread, no intentions too!
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2022
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  9. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    Thanks rg144 that's super helpful as it's now my only search tool until this issue is resolved. I'll continue using :) very good to know about the $
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    Any other suggestions?
     
  11. de_overfiend

    de_overfiend Member

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    tried instaling the latest windows updates?
    tried rebuilding the search index in settings?
     
  12. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I've had this issue before, and fixed it by downloading the latest ISO (either from the Microsoft official tool that builds the latest major release, or uupdump.net to get the very latest patch sets included), then double-clicking it to mount as a virtual drive, and running setup.exe like an upgrade.

    It'll reinstall/update all the core components, and keep all settings and personal files in tact. 80% of the time it fixes random broken Windows nonsense.
     
  13. CAPT-Irrelevant

    CAPT-Irrelevant Member

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    Do you have KB4512941 installed? Historically this update (which I understand should have since been superceded by a more stable version) for me has fucked up the search bar.
     
  14. rg144

    rg144 Member

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    Never liked these type of 'upgraded' reinstalls with win OS's. Yes upgrades have gotten better over the years, as has the post cleanup process; but you're still better off formatting as mentioned earlier.

    If on the other hand recently formatted / this is new clean build, well then I completely understand; but since OP hasn't stated I'm assuming that's not the case.

    Understand formatting is not the solution, but will more than likely be resolution 99% of the time.

    One last shitty suggestion given that I'm sure you've tried googling to death- you tried rolling back to a previous Win10 sys restore point (if you have these enabled)?
     
  15. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I genuinely don't think it's a problem any more with Windows 10. This process is nothing like it was with earlier versions of Windows.

    It's literally just a case of Windows clobbering binaries and registry keys with good ones, and all the user-config and settings are left alone.

    I'll be frank - Windows 10 (and 11) are feeling more and more like Linux to me. Back to "just files on disk" sensible design, and none of this dark magic nonsense of an era gone by where it was all hand waving and mysticism and if you sneezed at an inopportune time you needed to blow your Windows install away and start again.

    Likewise Windows is finally embracing a more "rolling distro" concept, gradually updating things as time goes on. No more of this ridiculous "lift and shift" concept that causes people to freak out and hold on to ye olde releases.

    I've seen Win 7 -> Win 10 -> Win 11 upgrades with no clean formats in the middle perform just fine, no clean install needed. I think a lot of the want for clean installs any more really is falling into old wives' tale territory.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2022
  16. rg144

    rg144 Member

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    Agree that for 90% of users its not, the win10 upgrade and large updates deployments have gotten much better.

    For me its just a simple matter of time vs effort vs outcome.

    If all potentials solutions to resolve have been exhausted and OP is now faced with the decision of upgrading vs formatting, I'd go formatting 100% of the time end of. The two and only exceptions here are:
    1. Need to upgrade for existing licensing
    2. Inability to lose files/apps/settings (for which is an entirely different matter of redundancy/backup).

    I've had countless instances of Win 10 re-installs (over the top) ruining simple things from file associations, to changing startup processes/services, hardware drivers. Yes the files on disk concept is highly needed, and yes as mentioned it has gotten better over recent years.

    Again for basic builds an upgrade could be a quick fix.
    When dealing with work environments, heavy PC usage, gaming or anything that requires (or a user simply wants the best performance out of their existing config), I don't bother upgrading.

    So considering the enthusiast demographic here, why bother upgrading/reinstalling over the top when you can format/clean install for optimal OS longevity/stability & performance?

    I agree there is a bit of that was years ago with respect to upgrading software in general. But imho- and without getting into a Windows v Linux discussion/way off OP's topic:

    Win10 registry still leaves a lot to be desired with respect to old/existing and new config registry keys that remain in a hierarchal db when upgrading, vs Linux's (predominant) sys config files in /etc or /usr/local/etc.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2022
  17. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    Yes tried both. Thanks for suggestions
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    I can try this.. Thanks!
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Elmf

    Elmf Member

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    I haven't actually tried a roll back. Because I feel like that's a bullshit thing I shouldn't have to resort to because all I've done is install a few legit programs and windows updates
     
  20. rg144

    rg144 Member

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    Half of the time it is indeed a bullshit/bandaid approach, not as clean as a truer enterprise style image/backup restore point. Was more of a last ditch suggestion to see if you can isolate whether its an update issue (assuming you've removed previous update already).

    For me restore points are another windows try to avoid. Works ok sometimes, horrible other times. But because this is such a peculiar/pain in the arse problem you're having, rolling back could fix, but could also break some little utility/recently installed app/introduce some other stupid little windows side effects.

    if you're still going at this into next week and so desperately need that win10 search (understandable), save yourself the headache & format/maybe consider move to Win11..? :p
     
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