14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Spotlight Search on Mac and the search bar on Windows are both helpful tools for quickly finding files, apps, and folders. However, if the search function in Windows 11 doesn’t produce accurate results, it can be frustrating and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are tricks you can use to fix this issue and ensure that your searches are efficient and effective.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

The search feature in Windows 11 is seamlessly integrated into the start menu. By simply pressing the Windows key and typing, you can easily search for files on your computer. However, if you’re experiencing issues with the search function on Windows 11, continue reading.

1. Add a Search Icon on the Taskbar

If you’re having issues with the start menu search bar, you can access the search through a shortcut on the taskbar. By placing a search shortcut on the taskbar, you can quickly query with a single click.

Please note that Windows 11 includes search integration on the taskbar by default. If you have disabled it to create more space at the bottom, you can still access the search through the shortcut.

Here are the steps to add the search shortcut on the taskbar:

1. Press Windows key + I to open the Windows Settings menu.

2. Go to Personalization and select Taskbar.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Enable the Search toggle.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Click the magnifying glass icon on the Windows taskbar and search for files and apps.

2. Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

Microsoft provides a built-in Windows search troubleshooter tool to find and fix issues. Follow these steps to use it and resolve search bar problems. Launch Windows Settings, navigate to the System menu, and select Troubleshoot.

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14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 2: Open Other troubleshooters from the menu.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Scroll down and select Run beside Search and Indexing.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Windows runs the troubleshooter to fix search issues on your computer.

3. Restart SearchHost Services

When you start your PC, Windows automatically initiates the search services. If this process fails, the search function won’t work. To fix this issue, follow these steps to restart Windows search using Task Manager:

1. Right-click the Windows key on the taskbar and choose Task Manager.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 2: Move to the Details tab.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Scroll to the SearchHost.exe process.

Step 4: Right-click on it and select End task.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Try searching for something on your computer, and Windows will resume the search services.

4. Enhance Search Indexing

Facing issues finding files within folders? Windows may use classic indexing that only searches through Documents, Pictures, and Music. Make a tweak in settings.

Step 1: Launch Windows Settings (Windows + I keys) and select Privacy & Security.

Step 2: Select Searching Windows under Windows permissions.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Select the radio button next to Enhanced and close the menu.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

From now on, Windows will search your entire PC. This may increase CPU consumption and impact battery life.

5. Check Excluded Folders

The data won’t appear in search results if you have asked Windows not to search specific folders. You can check excluded folders and remove them if you want.

Step 1: Launch the Windows Settings menu (Windows + I keys) and select Privacy & Security.

Step 2: Click on Searching Windows.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Exclude folders from search results. Remove a folder by selecting the three-dot menu and choosing remove.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Windows can search the removed folders on the computer.

6. Restart Windows Search

If the search is still not working in Windows 11, restart the Windows Search service. Here’s how. Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Services. Hit the Enter key.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 2: Scroll down to Windows Search.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Right-click and select Restart.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

7. Clear Device Search History

If your computer has corrupt search data, it’s recommended to reset the Windows search history and start fresh. Keep in mind that after clearing the search history, the first few searches may be slower. Here are the steps to reset Windows search history:

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– Open the Privacy & Security menu in Windows Settings.

– Select Search permissions.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Select the ‘Clear device search history’ button.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

8. Check Indexed Locations

When important files are stored in C: drive or D: drive, it is necessary to ensure that Windows search can index it.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Indexing Options.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 2: Click Modify.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Enable the Local Disk drive.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Hit OK at the bottom, and you are good to go.

9. Rebuild Search Index

If none of the tricks work, try rebuilding the search index to fix the problem. It deletes and rebuilds the search index on your PC.

Step 1: Open Privacy & security in Windows Settings.

Step 2: Select Searching Windows.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Click ‘Advanced indexing options’.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 4: Select Advanced.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 5: Click Rebuild and select OK.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

10. Restart Run Menu

Rebooting the Run menu has worked for many to fix search in Windows 11. It’s worth a try. Step 1: Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run menu. Step 2: Close it and hit the Windows key to start searching for files and apps.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

11. Reset Windows

Windows 11 search bar not working? Reset Windows and try again.

Step 1: Press Windows + I keys to open Settings. Select System from the sidebar. Step 2: Click Recovery.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Select Reset PC.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 4: Click ‘Keep my files’.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 5: Windows offers the option to download the OS from the web or reinstall it from your device. Select the relevant option.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

To reset your device, follow the on-screen instructions and then try the search menu again.

12. Make Sure to Type the Correct Query

Windows 11 integrates seamlessly with Microsoft’s OneDrive. You can search for your OneDrive files using the search bar, but the same functionality is not available for Google Drive or iCloud. To search for files in these cloud services, you need to set them up in Windows File Explorer first. Once set up, you can search for files using the search menu. It is important to enter the correct search terms as Windows Search does not automatically correct for typos.

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13. Uninstall Recently Downloaded Apps

A buggy app installed on Windows 11 can disrupt search functions. To fix this issue, uninstall the app through Settings.

Step 1: Open Settings using the Windows + I keys.

Step 2: Go to Installed Apps in the Apps menu.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Step 3: Find your recently downloaded app and click the three-dot menu next to it.

Step 4: Uninstall. Repeat for all irrelevant apps.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

14. Update Windows 11

Your last resort to fixing search not working in Windows 11 is updating the software on your PC. Head to the Windows Update menu in Settings and install the pending update.

14 Ways to Fix Search Not Working in Windows 11

Note: There have been complaints about search not working in File Explorer. If you frequently face the same issue, check our post on how to fix search issues in Windows File Explorer.

FAQ on Search Not Working in Windows

The Windows search option is located in the Start menu. By pressing the Windows key, you can search for apps, files, settings, and documents.

Fly Through Search Queries on Windows

Using Windows search allows you to quickly find and access apps and documents without cluttering your taskbar or memorizing file locations.

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