Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working? Here’s the Fix

What happened to the days when the Windows Start menu was just there? It was simple, it was sweet, and it wasn’t made up of a billion tiny processes and tiles that probably contribute to it not working. The Start menu has made a welcome comeback in Windows 10, but it’s still prone to imploding every now and then, particularly the Search button which brings all kinds of Cortana-related issues.

So if your Cortana’s a goner and your Search button has lurched to a halt, check out these fixes below.

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!


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” 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.


Sometimes Cortana is also responsible for misbehaviour of the start menu search. If that is the case, restarting the Cortana process will solve the problem.

To do that, right-click the taskbar, then click “Task Manager.”


Once the task manager has been opened, find the Cortana process under the Processes tab, and click on the “End task” button.


The above action will restart the Cortana process, and you might as well solve the start menu search problem.

So we’ve established that Cortana is a likely culprit for the Start menu search not working. If restarting the process fails, then you can try re-registering the Cortana app.

To start, open the Windows File Explorer and navigate to the following location: “C:WindowsSystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0.”

Right-click “powershell.exe,” then click “Run as administrator.”


After opening the PowerShell, copy the below code snippet and execute it.

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


Once you are done executing the command, close the PowerShell, restart your system, and you should have the Start Menu Search back on top form!


This article was first published in Oct 2015 and was updated in Sept 2017.

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