Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working? Here are Some Fixes

Windows10 Start Menu Search Featured

The Windows Start Menu search used to be simple, without any tiles and Cortanas getting in the way of you perusing your PC for the files you want. Things got a bit messy in Windows 10, but recent updates have removed problematic features like Cortana from proceedings, and the May 2019 update revamped the search interface, making your searches feel a bit more detailed and granular.

With Cortana out of the way, the Start menu search is a bit more stable and less bloated. Still, it can sometimes stop working, so we’re here to give some pointers on how to fix it.

1. Enable Background Apps

Ever since the Creator’s Update back in 2017, there’s been a bug affecting some Windows 10 users involving the running of Windows app in the background. Specifically, disabling the option to “Let apps run in the background” in Windows 10 would have the unintended effect of rendering the Start menu search function useless.

Fix Start Menu Search Not Working Background Apps

This bug exists to this day, so you need to make sure that you have the “Let apps run in the background” master switch set to “On”.

To do this, go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Background apps” then make sure the “Let apps run in the background” switch is “On”. From this same screen, you can individually disable any and all Windows apps from running in the background, but it’s crucial to keep that master switch one.

2. Rebuild the Index

There’s a possibility that the search indexing files in your Windows Search have become corrupted, therefore disabling the Search function. Some people have reported this problem since the Windows 10 May Update (v1903), and the following as a possible solution.

Our next tip shows you how to use the Windows Troubleshooter for search and indexing, but first you can try rebuilding the index, which should eliminate any corruptions.

To do this, go to Control Panel, switch on “Large icons” at the top right corner, then click “Indexing Options -> Advanced”.

Fix Windows Search Not Working Rebuild Index

Finally, click Rebuild in the Advanced Options window. Click OK on the pop-up that tells you this may take some time, and wait for the process to complete.

3. Run Windows Troubleshooter

The simplest solution is to use the tools built into Windows to help you out. Granted, this is far from a 100% solution, but it’s a quick one so it’s worth a shot.

1. Navigate to the Control Panel (click Start, then scroll down the the Windows System folder and you’ll find it there).

2. Change the view to “Large icons” or “Small icons” if it’s not that already, then click “Troubleshooting -> System and Security -> Search and Indexing”.


3. Click “Next” in the troubleshooter, then check the box that applies to your issue (most likely “Files don’t appear in search results”, though if your Windows Search is working, albeit slowly, you should tick the third box down).


4. Finally, click Next to run the scan, which will automatically attempt to fix any problems.

4. Use the System File Checker

Given that this is one of the simplest things you can do to try and repair your Start menu search, we recommend trying it first. Open an elevated Command Prompt (right-click Command Prompt then “Run as administrator”), then type the following command:

Window 10 Start Menu Search Not Working Sfc Scannow

This will scan your system files for any errors and corruptions, and automatically attempt to fix them. Give that the Start menu search is a system process, any errors in it should be detected by using the SFC utility.

In addition, one of our readers in the comments suggested that running the SFC utility in Windows 10 Safe Mode solved the problem for them, so that’s worth a shot if doing it in regular Windows 10 fails. Thanks Dave morrison!

5. Disable/Restart Third-Party Antivirus, Enable Windows Firewall

To be clear, we’re not suggesting here that you should disable and completely remove all third-party antivirus software from your device, but based on feedback here and across the Internet, certain programs cause Windows Search to malfunction. Avast is one culprit, so try uninstalling that if you have it, then find an alternative if need be (Windows Defender itself has become a viable, secure option in recent years).

Or (credit to our reader Mayur N.), you could just try disabling your Avast shields temporarily, which should get the Start menu search back. In the case of Avast at least, once you switch the shields back on, the Start menu search may continue working as it should.


On the other hand, enabling Windows Firewall has also helped some users. It seems that Search and indexing is oddly sensitive to your security settings, so tinkering around with them by enabling and disabling things may yield results.

6. Move or Rebuild Swapfile.sys

The Pagefile and Swapfile are two inextricably linked and important functions of Windows 10. The pagefile eases the weight off your PC RAM by allocating a certain amount of hard drive space to functioning as RAM should you run low on memory. The swapfile performs the same function, but specifically for Modern Windows apps, so it’s more targeted in its scope.


Seeing as Cortana is a Modern Windows app, you can try rebuilding the Swapfile to kickstart it – and your Start menu search – back into action. This will also involve rebuilding the Pagefile, as the Swapfile is directly dependent on the Pagefile.

If you want to try this, read our guide on how to move and modify your Pagefile (and therefore Swapfile). While we don’t recommend outright disabling the Pagefile, you can move it to another drive to effectively ‘restart’ it. Or, if you want it on the original drive, you can disable it, reboot your PC, then re-enable it after you’ve rebooted.

If your Start menu search still isn’t working after this, the next tip is a good one to follow up with…

7. Restart Windows Explorer

It goes without saying that the first thing you should try is rebooting your PC, but if that fails, then the slightly more niche solution is to restart the Windows Explorer process. This is responsible for managing files on your PC as well as the smooth functioning of the Start menu.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to jump straight into Task Manager, click “More details” in the bottom-left corner if that hasn’t been selected already, then scroll down to Windows Explorer, right-click it, and hit “Restart.” Have a moment of panic as it looks for a second like your computer might crash, then breathe a sigh of relief as you see that it’s still working, and your Start menu Search button is hopefully fixed!


8. Check Windows Search Service

Another reason why your Start menu search may not be working is because the Windows Search service is not running. Windows Search service is a system service and runs automatically on the system startup.


Check whether the service is running or not by hitting Win + R, typing services.msc, then scrolling down to find it. If it says “Running” in the Status column, it’s running (obviously). If not, you’ll have to start it manually.


Right-click “Windows Search” and then click “Properties.”


In the Properties window click on the “Start” button to start the service. Also, make sure that the Startup type is set to “Automatic” or “Automatic (Delayed Start).” This ensures that the service will automatically start at every system startup. Once you are done with the changes, click ‘OK.’


Once the service has been started, this is what it looks like in your Services window. For me, this method worked perfectly.


9. Repair Windows Installation

Before you start worrying that this will delete all your personal data and files, there’s a way to refresh your Windows installation while keeping your vital data. It’s obviously still a more extreme measure than some others others on this list, so scroll down to other headings if you want to try some other solutions first.

Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working Ready To Install

First, create a bootable Windows 10 installation disk or USB, then launch it. Follow the instructions to upgrade your Windows 10 installation, and make sure that on the “Ready to install” screen you’ve chosen the option to “Keep personal files and apps”. If it’s not selected by default, click “Change what to keep”, then select “Keep personal files and Window settings”. Click Install, and the latest version of Windows 10 will be installed, while holding onto all your data.

This will also reinstall the core files responsible for the Start menu search, and therefore fix it.

10. Or Try “Everything” as a Workaround


If these fixes still haven’t solved your problem, then it may be time for a workaround. Void Tools has released an excellent and very lightweight tool called “Everything” which indexes and searches all the files on your computer instantly.

Having problems with the Photos app in Windows 10? We can fix that too. Or for something a little more cheery check out our list of new and retro Windows 10 screensavers.

This post is updated on May 2020.

Robert Zak Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.


  1. My problem is not with the search feature specifically but with the start button in general. When starting up, the start button doesn’t work at all and computer doesn’t pick up wifi network. This makes using the computer in that state impossible. I have had to do a manual shutdown and restart. Sometimes it works but mostly it doesn’t which makes using Windows 10 very frustrating. Any suggestions?

    1. Here’s a guide that might help you with your Windows 10 start button problem: Hope this helps

  2. My comment is that my problem with Windows 10 is that my login screen is frozen & it does not even respond to the ‘Start” button, Control,Alt,Delete. In fact I am locked out of my own computer. The ‘Help” that I get from Microsoft is ‘We have done our best so now you have to contact the maker of the machine it came in & make them give you a disk so that you can reload the version that came with your machine, which was 8.1
    my personal thought is “You teardown paradise (xp) & you put up a parking lot” If anyone can help I would appreciate it I am standing out here in the cold for almost a week now.
    Thank you

  3. Hi..
    I have upgrated to windows 10 from Auguest 2015 ,It is working perfectly but today unwords i.e.30th november 2015 windows 10 startup and search button is not working ,i want to known where is the problem (due to virous ) or any other fault and how to resolve it please help…………….

    1. Sir, I had the same problem in windows 10. Simple solution is try to install classic shell.u It will replace windows 10 start menu and now it is working. Thanks to classic shell

      1. Oh my god thank you so much for that tip with Classic Shell… I’ve had this problem for several days now and couldn’t find a Solution to it, but this even made it better than before cause it looks like Win7 now. :)

  4. SEARCH not working (nothing appears when i clicked ‘search’ in the rthand menu)
    I checked the local services. My windows search is running and set to “automatic”. So i tried method 2. But all i got was a message which says that “Get-AppXPackage” is not recognized as an internal or external command,operable program or batch file. I tried method 3 but could not find Cortana as one of the processes.

    Could you please help.

  5. This worked for me: et-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”} THANKS SO MUCH!

  6. No, the 4 ways that you suggest to correct the problem – none have worked.
    I converted from Windows7 (Home Edition) to Windows10 following the automatic message proposing free conversion.
    As result the Search function works but only for the folders and files made before conversion (i.e. when being still on Mindows7). Any other file or folder created after this can’t be find.
    Unfortunatelly – to back to Windows7 is too late.
    Only other way would be to buy another Windows7 (130Can$).
    A. Manitius

  7. Many thanks. The search was ‘running’ but on ‘delayed start’. Now with your help I’ve set it to automatic and it’s working again. Thank you!

  8. None of the solutions worked for me. There was a Windows 10 build update though that I did and it resolved the issue.

  9. The easy simple fix is to open task manager find cortona and just end process. That worked for me. But after a few days the problem came back. I just did the PowerShell suggestion and that also worked. Hopefully it will last I will post again if it the problem comes back.

  10. DO NOT use the “get-AppXPackage” method above,. youll break more than you fix.
    some users have reported that removing avast antivirus helps,. but even that wont work for all users.

    mainly microsoft needs to provide a fix.

    1. Ditto. It broke all of my other windows stuff. It fixed my search bar but now anything associated with windows is broken. the store, email, calculator, etc. Is there a way to undo this? I’d rather have a non-working search bar than lose everything else

  11. SearchUI.exe fails to load to it’s 40mb+ full size, and windows search fails for menu items.
    I use a command for powershell i keep on the desktop. Put this in an .cmd file and it will run when you double click it.

    tskill searchUI

    It may need to be ran several time tills SearchUI.exe fully loads.
    Keep an eye in Task Manager > Details to check its size mine is currently 54,664KB and working.
    I have seen it as low as 16,000KB and search wont respond in the start menu .

  12. I am having a little bit of a different issue. When I pull up my start menu and hover or click my mouse on the Power option, there isn’t a menu of option showing “Shut down” “Restart” “Sleep”. How can I fix this? Or has anyone had this issue?


  13. No. 4 started to work then generated loads of error messages with each process getting stuck at about 20 -30%
    Gist of the message – Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073CF6, package could not be registered

    1. i think its because the program is trying to install a clean file, but windows has a newer version now, so it wont allow that.

  14. WOW.
    I had a slightly different problem – trying to search in the start menu didn’t do anything – used to – but stopped and just didn’t show anything.
    Option 4 worked – and I didn’t even have to restart.
    Tremendous – thank you.

  15. BE AWARE FROM number 4!!!

    Killed most of my store applications, include store itself, even calculator is not running.
    They lost the icon and now not functional anymore. I will have to reinstall windows.

  16. I tried everything in the list. I finally found a fix for mine. I turned on the windows firewall services…..

  17. I had a similar issue. My normal user account could get to the start menu, but clicking the cortana menu or trying to search in the start menu wouldn’t do anything.

    I saw a post where a suggestion was to create a new account and copy my files over from the old to the new using an admin account. Tried it. It worked fine BEFORE I copied the files over, but after the copy I had the same result but didn’t have access to the start menu at all.

    So, I started experimenting with the file system. Setting groups of directories to .old and then logging into my normal account and see if it fixed the problem to gradually narrow down the problem. After about 45 minutes, I narrowed it down to a file in C:\Users\Brian\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat.

    I changed this UsrClass.dat to UsrClass.old.dat. When you log in, Windows doesn’t find UsrClass.dat and creates a new one, but now Cortana is working and I can search in the start menu and nothing in the start menu has changed. There must have been some kind of bad data in that file.

    1. Brian your solution works instantaneously and is the by far the easiest and safest. No need to create a new account.

      Quite simply, for anyone trying this fix (and I recommend it), Locate this file below “C:UsersBrianAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsUsrClass.dat”

      Change it to UsrClass.old.dat, then Restart your computer.

      On restart, windows basically creates a new one and everything is back to normal and working.

      Stay away from option 4 unless you are willing to risk it…

    2. Dear Brian,

      I hoped it would solve my problem, but it does not. Upon renaming the file, I get the following error message (translation from french):
      “This action can’t be realized because the file is opened in System”.

      Moreover, for other people who want to use this fix, do not forget to un-hide hidden files, UsrClass.dat is a hidden file, you won’t see it once you reach the mentionned folder. To get there, use Win + R and then run “%USERPROFILE%AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows” which will lead you to the correct place whatever your profile name.

    3. This helped me out. Thanks Brian.

      I had a similar issue. My normal user account could get to the start menu, but clicking the cortana menu or trying to search in the start menu wouldn’t do anything.

      I saw a post where a suggestion was to create a new account and copy my files over from the old to the new using an admin account. Tried it. It worked fine BEFORE I copied the files over, but after the copy I had the same result but didn’t have access to the start menu at all.

      So, I started experimenting with the file system. Setting groups of directories to .old and then logging into my normal account and see if it fixed the problem to gradually narrow down the problem. After about 45 minutes, I narrowed it down to a file in C:UsersBrianAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsUsrClass.dat.

      I changed this UsrClass.dat to UsrClass.old.dat. When you log in, Windows doesn’t find UsrClass.dat and creates a new one, but now Cortana is working and I can search in the start menu and nothing in the start menu has changed. There must have been some kind of bad data in that file.

    4. You are my hero! The non-working Windows 10 search (probably killed by a Microsoft update, but who knows) has pestered me for the whole week and I have tried a lot of tpps, but your .dat file approach finally solved it.
      Thank you for posting this!

  18. I tried to start windows search at search.exe using Admin user and also i tried in safe mode. But in both cases it told
    “Access Denied”. So, My Start Menu and Search Bar in Windows 10 operating system is not working. However, i tried alternate method. I downloaded classic start menu and now windows 10 start menu issue over. However, windows search issue is still NOT resolved due to “Access Denied” message.

  19. After an upgrade I lost search which was annoying I followed this method and so far it works great .Some comments above say it has a negative effect. Will see if it has broken anything later. But it was broken anyhow so lets hope it broken less than before.
    Am surprised Microsoft let this upgrade out.

  20. I have yet another quirk – after upgrading, Windows 10 menu, search and action center stopped working. Also non-windows standard file associatons were gone. And my 5.1 sound driver ran on stereo only. Tried everything, then installed powershell, which made computer operable more of less normally – minus said windows functions. Now the strange thing… after leaving on the computer for about a day or so, the functions start working again! On restart – all gone again, have to wait ten to twenty hours and then it comes back. Could it have to do with mixing x64 apps with 32 bit legacy apps? I’m totally fazed.

  21. I ended up re-installing Google Chrome over itself because it said ” side by side configuration failed . Lost all my bookmarks etc but suddenly windows apps, search , task bar menus etc are all working again. Hope this helps others

  22. My problem is that, in a sudden, I can’t edit the start menu anymore. Drag and drop does no longer work. It has worked until recently. I had some problems with virus, and maybe I’ve deleted something important. Please help me?

  23. I had this issue with a customers computer. Decided to write an article on it to help others get the start menu back. See if these instructions help.

  24. I work with my laptop and using it withouth the start menu search is a big pain,
    This worked for me perfectly!!!
    Thanks a lot you are great
    my life feels relieved hah :D

    (to me the command in the shell is what made it work. )

  25. I did the free windows download and it was wonky so I deleted it and now I cant find any start menu. I have tried so many things. I see Cortana and it comes up but when I look at the line items on the yellow screen it is no there. Also, I notice that only 2 apps are there, Firefox and one other. I think I’m living in a half world between Windows 10 and 7. Nothing has worked so far to get my start menu (windows 10) back or even my list of programs I used to be able to access in order to use on windows 7. Windows 7 came with my computer and I do not have a start up disc or anything to re-establish.

  26. Thanks a lot option 4 solved my problem. I copied that code and ran it in power shell, restarted my computer and all was well.

  27. This was helpful! When I went to check the windows search service (option #2) I noticed that the startup type was “automatic (delayed)” instead of just “automatic”. After changing the setting and restarting everything was back to normal :)
    This problem caused the login procedure on my pc slower, and I also felt some lag when I clicked to open the start menu.

  28. Option 4 fixed my search but then trashed all the other windows programs (email, the store, etc). Is there a way to undo this?

  29. Hi,
    I tried No. 4 several times but didn’t succeed. Please help. I don’t want to format my hard disc and reinstall everything again!
    A part of the failure message is appended below:

    Add-AppxPackage : Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073D06, The package could not be installed because a higher
    version of this package is already installed. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80073D06)
    NOTE: For additional information, look for [ActivityId] 326a8583-bcc6-0003-3c90-6a32c6bcd101 in the Event Log or use
    the command line Get-AppxLog -ActivityID 326a8583-bcc6-0003-3c90-6a32c6bcd101
    At line:1 char:38
    + … | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.I …
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (C:\Program File…ppXManifest.xml:String) [Add-AppxPackage], Exception
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DeploymentError,Microsoft.Windows.Appx.PackageManager.Commands.AddAppxPackageCommand

    Add-AppxPackage : Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073D06, The package could not be installed because a higher
    version of this package is already installed. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80073D06)
    NOTE: For additional information, look for [ActivityId] 326a8583-bcc6-0000-bf92-6a32c6bcd101 in the Event Log or use
    the command line Get-AppxLog -ActivityID 326a8583-bcc6-0000-bf92-6a32c6bcd101
    At line:1 char:38
    + … | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.I …
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (C:\Program File…ppXManifest.xml:String) [Add-AppxPackage], Exception
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DeploymentError,Microsoft.Windows.Appx.PackageManager.Comman

  30. Same old problem on two of my laptops. The left click on the start button will not work and the right click “Search” will not work. They always go together! No way of fixing Microsoft rubbish.

  31. Thanks for this article. The end Cortana task used to work, then that quit being a workaround — I was never enthused about having to consistently do that in the first place. Hopefully, re-registering will be a more long term fix.

    I upgraded from Win7 -> Win10 fall 2015 and have encountered nothing but minor problems and inconsistencies like these. I tried resetting Win10, sacrificing the time I spent setting up the computer and still, no luck.

    One of my biggest issues is every time there’s a Windows Update, the “update couldn’t complete” and computer needs to restart, only to log into windows and it seems like the update did accomplish — what?? Reading countless articles on the internet and even using Microsoft’s utilities, nothing seems to fix the “There was a problem updating.. couldn’t complete”. Anyone else still have this issue?

  32. The solution I am beginning to see is the best one for all computers problems, including the start search issues, is to find out where to dispose of the computer, cancel all my internet services and live my life without.

    1. Haha, sad thing is that is so true! Wish I could.

      Looks like I will revert back to win7 while I can. Both my updated laptops are doing the same thing where as my 3 updated desktops are doing fine.

  33. i have installed a android lollipop theme on win 10 32 bit,64 based processor i want to uninstall it but it is not shown in control panel and settings tell me how to uninstall it

  34. I just want to find my printer so I can scan a photo. So I searched how to find Control Panel, that article said to “Search the Start Menu”. So I searched how to search the start menu, and that led me here. Now I have to Google definitions for things like “task bar” and “Power Shell”. And how am I supposed to do all this while reading this screen? Maybe later today when I have a couple free hours (!) I can start up my husband’s computer and try these steps and hopefully not break anything.

    I just want to find my printer and scan a photo!

  35. Works by restarting the process for me. Any way to make this permanent. I have to redo the procedure after each reboot.

  36. If Windows search is running and you still have the same issue
    Go to
    Windows event log
    Windows event collector
    And right click > proprerties>startup type > automatic > start

  37. Option number 4 worked for me :). It was a little scary, because it makes a lot of updates to many applications. I don’t know if all that was necessary. Some updates failed due to having a more recent version already installed, but oh well, it worked and that is the most important.

  38. Nothing worked for me apart from killing the service many times. This was no solution.
    Unfortunately I got a virus and decided to reinstall fresh rather than restore from a backup. Since then it has been fine.
    Shoddy problem tho, it should have justed worked from the upgrade.

  39. Thank you so much
    My problem was fix by the last solution in this article.
    Now start button was work again,…
    May God Bless You,….

  40. I have tried all the above including the powershell command but the search function still doesn’t work.

    If you have any other suggestions i’d be glad to hear.

    Many thanks

  41. seriously you are the only one that helped! my problem was my anti virus cleaned something that messed up the taskbar, i am at this for 3 days, the stupid thing is i cant right click n run as admistrator for powershell through run and i thought nobody gets it, ur screenshot totally make my go to c drive n find it, unlike many saying to run powershell.. i guessed u help a noob like me! thank you!

  42. guess how i opened powershell…
    by searching it.
    after i completed the whole process and triet to restart my computer, i realized, that i just used the search function LOL ROFL

  43. Hi,
    I use
    ” Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”} ”
    not only didnt fix my search problem but also crash my other Microsoft apps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    its not fair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    All of microsoft apps have get error like this and have been crached:

    Add-AppxPackage : Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073CF6, Package could not be registered.
    Merge Failure : error 0x80070003 : Cannot register the Microsoft.WindowsStore_2015.10.13.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe package
    because there was a merge failure with the following file: C:Program
    NOTE: For additional information, look for [ActivityId] 54fadd24-1cb5-0004-8c20-fb54b51cd201 in the Event Log or use
    the command line Get-AppxLog -ActivityID 54fadd24-1cb5-0004-8c20-fb54b51cd201
    At line:1 char:38
    + … | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.I …
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : WriteError: (C:Program File…ppXManifest.xml:String) [Add-AppxPackage], IOException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : DeploymentError,Microsoft.Windows.Appx.PackageManager.Commands.AddAppxPackageCommand

    what can i do????

  44. Option 4 worked – Thanks!

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}

  45. There is a typo in the powershell command in the last section, it is missing a backslash. See below for the correct powershell command:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}


  46. I intalled win 10 enterprise in my lappy and i also download latest driver from dell ofgicial website but my start menu is not working e.g. my camera,calculator etc not opening as well as when i restart my lappy my all desktop file lost but my drive data is as it is….please suggest me what can i do to fix this problem

  47. People should really refuse to do all kinds of things to make this work again…THAT IS MICROSOFT’s job!!!~

  48. Option 4 by itself didn’t work, but I found this advice elsewhere which worked perfectly:

    Create a new administrator on your Window 10 and sign in as that user

    Delete (or rename) C:UsersAppDataLocalPackagesMicrosoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

    Sign back in as the PROBLEM USER

    Open PowerShell as an admin and type (or paste)

    Add-AppxPackage -Path “C:WindowsSystemAppsMicrosoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewyAppxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register

  49. The command given didn’t work for me and it just started re-registering a lot of things(70+), it actually took me months to remove all the windows 10 crapware, luckily I had a full disk backup from last week. Is there a command that only tries to fix Cortana instead of 70+ windows apps?

  50. lol, so many people just copy and paste code in an admin shell which clearly is not comprehensible by them and hope for the best.
    Question about the solution step 4 (NOT method 4) Is it necessary to register every appx package or will just the cortana be enough?

  51. Option 2, when I clicked start button of the windows search, it said that could not start the Windows Service on local computer; error 2: the system cannot find the file specified. How can I fix it?
    Thank you

    1. Is the Windows search service enabled? If not, follow the second method and enable Windows Search service.

      1. the second method failed. It was said that there was no file C:WINDOWSsystem32SearchIndexer.exe /Embedding

  52. I’ve had win 10 installed from scratch. No Cartana. And no Search working ))
    So among all of the same solutions the one that worked was Enabling Windows Firewall!!
    So thanks to that awesome person who mentioned it !!!!

  53. Sadly, none of that worked for me.

    On the face of it, Windows Start Menu search is operational…it is just that it doesn’t find about half of my apps, even if search on the exact description. So…if I search on Meister or MeisterTask, it find the folder in my downloads directory, but it doesn’t find the app, it doesn’t find the folder in Start MenuPrograms, it doesn’t find the folder in Program Files (x86).

    It is arguably the most useless Search facility on the planet (and it is up against some stiff competition)

  54. PROBLEM: type-to-search doesn’t find items, even though scrolling through the start menu you can find them?

    SOLUTION: Control Panel > Search (hah, this always works) for “Indexing Options” > Advanced > Rebuild

    This will delete & rebuild the indexes the search feature needs. Stoopid thing.

  55. About point 5, you can access Powershell (Admin) much quicker by using : Windows KEY + X and select Windows Powershell (Admin) in the menu.

  56. wow… i didn’t know what the heck was going on.. windows 10 is so buggy… that fix the search issue… thank you

  57. My Solution: I went into Task Manager and found ‘Search’ which had two instances ( I think!) active for some reason, Search(2). I right-clicked and selected End Task which momentarily stopped the Search process in Task Manager and then it reappeared with as Search(3), and now the search function seems to be working again!

  58. Thanks to –> Michael’s post from Nov 12, 2017, I could solve:
    # Create a new (or change to an existing) administrator on your Window 10 and sign in as that user
    # Delete (or rename) C:/Users//AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
    # Sign back in as the PROBLEM USER
    # Open PowerShell as an admin and type (or paste): Add-AppxPackage -Path “C:/Windows/SystemApps/Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewyAppxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register

    When struggling with this search issue, there are lot of tips with re-installing Cortana over Powershell. But the additional idea from above to cleanup the cortana settings first, and doing this over another user account to avoid any locks, is mentioned almost nowhere. This one was the only and very last option, which worked for me finally.

    Great advice! Saved my day.

  59. Avast can indeed interfere with Windows Search but you may not need to uninstall it. In my case, I was seeing absolutely no search results. I tried rebuilding the index database multiple times and even changing its location but nothing changed. When I saw this article indicating that Avast might be contributing (a big thank you to Robert for that BTW), I simply disabled all its shields temporarily (right-click the System Tray icon to get this option) and Search immediately started returning results and it continued to work even after enabling the shields again. Hope that helps others in the same frustrating predicament I was in.

  60. Hi,
    I did also have to delete this:


    And after that running the PowerShell script – that fixed it for me finally!

  61. I struggled with this problem (Menu search stayed blank) for two days. Even the above solution did not work. Finally i decided to erase the swapfile and put it on another disk, let the system handle it: solved at once.

  62. PROBLEM: Windows Server 2016 – SEARCH from START Menu didnt work

    CAUSE: I had copied local Admin’s User Profile – to be the DEFAULT user profile


    a) In File browser, type in: %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\INETCache
    b) For file counters.dat , bring up SECURITY properties, add ALL APP (check names) ; OK ; OK (ensure Locations is set to local Computer) ; the full added name is ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES
    c) SEARCH will work immediately

    (this Solution was provided my Microsoft by a ticket I had opened to them, on 11-07-18)

    They did recommend to not do Fix#3 (re-register Cortana, because if KB patches have been applied, things may get messed up)

    Hope this helps some people.

    Regards, -Nap

  63. My fix was this:

    Left Click Start > Right-Click Cortana in the list > Select More > Select App Settings

    This will open a new window with settings for Cortana.

    Scroll down to where is has the Reset option and click the Reset Button

    This re-installed Cortana on my system which fixed my particular issue with the search bar not working.



    1. It’s just 4 days after you left your reply and I just came to say the exact same thing!

      I tried the Powershell command first and restarted, but it didn’t fix the issue.

      I had tried the Reset button on the App Settings window for Cortana previously and it hadn’t done anything, but as soon as I selected it this time everything went right back to working perfectly.

      In my case I think running the Powershell command first was necessary; do you recall if you happened to try that first? Just thought I’d mention it in case it can help someone else out.

      Cheers and many thanks to the article’s author Robert Zak for the assistance!

  64. Hello,

    thank you so much for he help, Mister Zak!
    Going to the Tasks’ Manager and then restarting Windows Explorer got the Web results showing again.
    i sometimes miss the days of the simplicity of Windows Xp.

    thank you again, Mate!


  65. First one worked for me. I first enabled windows defender, search started working. I then disabled it and it is still working :) Thank you!

  66. Awesome article! Restarting Cortana in Task Manager (sol’n #7) worked for me. Loved that this was a real article not just a sales pitch in disguise.

  67. my start search stopped working after adding a drive dual boot and i let windows 7 run scandisk on boot as it wanted to and must have changed policy’s to my windows 10 drive,
    so none of these methods above worked for me, i fixed it though by booting to safe mode and running sfc /scannow at admin command prompt, said if found corrupt files and fixed them, i rebooted and problem solved, before when i opened startmenu and started typing to search , nothing happened, to recap the problem, now its working, i can search again -_-

  68. For me “3.Re-register Cortana” helped to resolvemy issue. Issue was windows button search not working.

  69. Thanks a lot,
    I ran CCleaner registry clean and then my search opened but when I type something it was not showing the result. I tried a lot but didn’t get a solution. Finally, I came on this solution and tried step number 4 named “Re-register Cortana”
    it worked great for me.

  70. Thank you so much for posting this! After launching powershell.exe and restarting windows explorer my search engine started working again!

  71. 4. Re-register Cortana. That did it for me. I think the latest Windows update messed up Cortana something fierce. But she’s back and better than ever! Thank you. :)

  72. Seems so foolish for Microsoft not to create basic boilerplate to detect these issues. I mean how hard is it to recognize “ZERO results” when searching and if the same results occur three times Windows prompts, “Windows has noticed a problem with Cortana not finding anything. Would you like to run a diagnostic to see if Windows can fix this issue?” Then I click yes and Windows runs the steps you outlined. If that doesn’t work, try something else. *rolls eyes*

  73. This helped. Thanks a lot. This was a such a big issue for me, as I always search to open every App I use.

  74. restarting windows explorer solved it for me and was by far the easiest solution listed. I would recommend trying that first since it is so easy. restarting cortana looks pretty easy too. Also I had to look hard for command prompt to right click as admin because for some reason it is not on my quick start menue. maybe windows has changed and the article is older or something.

  75. #4 did the trick for me.

    Typing program names in START didn’t show anything, and that’s how I usually start programs. I first noticed that “a few days back”. After reading your article, I realised that it was since I had uninstalled Kaspersky. Thanks a lot for that article!

  76. Had an issue where hitting start button and typing would switch to a white search that was just blank. None of the common fixes worked. However, I used ccleaner to clean up my registry and now everything is working well again. Hope it works for someone else.

  77. I had a TOTALLY WEIRD cause! Wrong REGION!!!!
    In my case the Windows 10 Region setting was somehow changed from US to Vietnam !!!! Probably a finger check when adjusting keyboard settings. In any case that completely disabled search from the box. I don’t use Cortana and it was turned off, but somehow the fact that I was by mistake in a region without Cortana support made the whole search box useless. Took me a while to figure this out: I went through all steps here, used System Restore to go back in time, run an offline Antivirus Check using Kaspersky… you name it. The answer came when I couldn’t find Cortana anywhere and then looked the information, found that some regions aren’t supported, checked my region, changed it back to USA… EUREKA!

  78. Hm.. nothing absolutely works for me! The thing is.. I locked my folders including Windows ‘Downloads’ folder using the app ‘Folder Lock’ (and remained in that condition even after shutting down). Now when I search something, I think it cannot search in those folders, even though they’re now unlocked by me. It appears the search is working fine just in those folder I did not lock. Any solution?
    Thanks in advance!

  79. I opted to first start with the simplest repair method (#6 – Restart Windows Explorer) to get my Windows Search function working–after installing Windows 10 (with May 2019 updates). It worked like a charm!

  80. Restarting windows search service fixed my start menu search problem. I ran services.msc then scrolled down to windows search, right-clicked and restarted.

  81. None of those worked for me…and the Cortana app had a constant 20%ish CPU load in taskmanager, even after killing the process.
    What ultimately did the trick was enabling Bing search results through the registry.
    Navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search and set BingSearchEnabled to 1.
    Then reboot your PC.

  82. Solution #3 worked and i got the message: Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.
    For online repairs, details are included in the CBS log file located at windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For offline repairs, details are included in the log file provided by the /OFFLOGFILE flag.

  83. Actually the problem is there is no display. Everything just suddenly blacked out after displaying searching security options.

  84. what worked for me was to restart Windows Explorer.

    I did that after restarting the system. And since it didn’t work, I found this page, suggesting this.

    It makes sense that this was the solution for me because before restarting, my Windows Explorer windows crashed. So I thought the broken start menu search was related to this.

  85. Hello maketecheasier family!

    Ran into this problem yesterday and couldnt wrap my head around it. I tried all of your suggested solutions and none of them worked. Then I found this guy on youtube called Britec09 who suggested the following-

    Open cmd as admin and copy paste the following code:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

    Worked for me, it was driving me nuts!
    Update this fix! :)

  86. Reinstall Cortana Search App from Powershell worked for me :

    Get-AppxPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register “$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode}

  87. I tried steps 1 through 7, but they didn’t help. Then I remembered a special option to Windows’ “shutdwon” command line program that helped me a number of times in the past whenever Windows starts to behave strange.
    So I opened a “Command Prompt” with Administrator permissions and typed “shutdown -g”.
    After the reboot the Start Menu Search was/is working as expected.

  88. the version 2004 replace the package Microsoft.Windows.Cortana with Microsoft.Windows.Search, and now the search application is SearchApp.exe instead of SearchUI.exe which you can find one of them in your task manager.
    if, for some reason, your PC failed to replace the old package with the new one, your search will stop working. to understand the issue open powershell as administrator and run: Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.Windows.Cortana
    on successfully updated pc, this wont return anything, as Microsoft.Windows.Cortana was replaced already. but if it returns some details, it will tell you which user is locking the removal. in my case, I’m logged in using domain user, and the details show that removal is pending with local user. I simply logged once with that local user, and everything went perfectly. now, whatever user is logged in, the above command return nothing, and instead if run the new command Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers Microsoft.Windows.Search it will return the required details.

  89. I was trying Method 1 above, and found that the “Let apps run in the background” switch is already “ON”. I tried to disable Cortana to run in background, and the moment I did that, the search bar’s windows pop out on it own. I tried on the search bar and it was functioning well. I then set Cortana to run in background again and the search bar still working!

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