Reports are coming in that search is not working properly on many Windows 10 devices; the issue is different from the recent File Explorer search issue that users experienced and are still experiencing to a degree.
Update: Microsoft marked the issue as resolved “for most users” on the release information page on the company’s Docs website.
We are aware of a temporary server-side issue causing Windows search to show a blank box. This issue has been resolved for most users and in some cases, you might need to restart your device. We are working diligently to fully resolve the issue and will provide an update once resolved.
This issue was resolved at 12:00 PM PST. If you are still experiencing issues, please restart your device. In rare cases, you may need to manually end the SearchUI.exe or SearchApp.exe process via Task Manager. (To locate these processes, select CTRL + Shift + Esc then select the Details tab.)
Basically, what is happening currently is that the search interface is entirely black and that searches don’t work at all on affected systems. The problem, it appears, is not caused by users or administrators, but by Microsoft.
Microsoft made the decision to interweave Cortana, the digital assistant, and search when it released the operating system. While Cortana and Search have been untangled, Microsoft decided to integrate and improve web search functionality in recent versions.
Search in Windows 10 returns offline and online content by default. Local search works pretty much like it did back in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, online search displays suggestions for the most part.
Microsoft may change search functionality remotely on Windows 10 machines, e.g. to adjust settings or other parameters without having to release a Windows update that does that. That’s useful in theory, but not so much if remote issues cause search to stop working at all.
One would think that local search would continue to work if Windows 10 could not connect to remote servers or if some other form of remote connection does not work as expected; this is apparently not the case.
Affected users may want to use third-party search applications such as Everything or one of these desktop search programs to restore search functionality.
Windows Latest suggests that disabling Web Search on affected Windows 10 systems and rebooting the system restores search functionality as well on affected devices.
Here is how you do that:
- Use Windows-R to display the run box.
- Type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key to start the Registry Editor.
- Confirm the UAC prompt.
- Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSearch
- Locate BingSearchEnabled.
- If the value does not exist, right-click on Search in the tree hierarchy of the left sidebar and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Name it BingSearchEnabled.
- Change the data value of BingSearchEnabled to 0.
- Locate CortanaConsent.
- Double-click on the value and set it to 0.
- Restart the PC.
The change worked on one test PC that was affected by the issue.
The issue is not the first search issue of Windows 10. Microsoft broke search in 2017 in the operating system and Windows 10 version 1903 had several search bugs as well.
Check out our guide on making Windows 10 search faster and more useful.