Similar to Spotlight Search on Mac, Windows offers similar functionality for finding files, apps, and folders. But what if Windows Search doesn’t work or shows irrelevant results? You have no choice but to manually search for the items you are looking for, which is time-consuming and unproductive. Instead, you can use the tricks below and fix search not working in Windows 11.
Windows 11 Search integrates tightly into the Start menu. You can press the Windows key on the keyboard and start typing to find files on your computer. Let’s fix the search issues once and for all on your computer.
1. Add a search icon to the taskbar
If you’re having trouble with Start Menu Search, you also have another option to open Search. You can place a search shortcut on the taskbar and browse queries with a single click.
To note: By default, Windows 11 integrates search into the taskbar. You may have disabled it to free up space at the bottom.
Step 1: Press Windows keys + shortcut I to open the Windows Settings menu.
2nd step: Go to Personalization and select Taskbar.
Step 3: Enable the search toggle.
Click the magnifying glass icon and try searching for files and apps.
2. Run the Search Troubleshooter
Microsoft offers a built-in troubleshooter to find and fix issues with Windows Search. Here is how you can use it and fix search not working in Windows 11.
Step 1: Launch Windows Settings and go to the System menu.
2nd step: Select Troubleshoot and open other troubleshooters from the next menu.
Step 3: Scroll down and select Run next to Search and Indexing.
Windows will run the troubleshooter and help you fix search issues on your computer.
3. Restart SearchHost services
When you turn on your PC, Windows automatically starts the search services in the background. Sometimes, if the operating system fails to do this, the search will not work. Follow the steps below and restart Windows Search Services using Task Manager.
Step 1: Right-click on the Windows key in the taskbar and select Task Manager.
2nd step: Switch to the Details tab.
Step 3: Scroll down to the SearchHost.exe process.
Step 4: Right-click on it and select End Task.
Try searching for something on your computer and Windows will resume search services.
4. Improve Search Indexing
Are you having trouble finding files in folders? Windows may be using classic indexing which only searches Documents, Pictures, and Music folders. You need to make a setting in the settings.
Step 1: Launch the Windows Settings menu and navigate to Privacy & Security.
2nd step: Select Search in Windows from the Windows permissions menu.
Step 3: Select the radio button next to Enhanced and close the menu.
From now on, Windows will search your entire PC. This can cause high CPU consumption and affect battery life.
5. Check Excluded Folders
If you have instructed Windows not to search in specific folders, the data will not appear in search results. You can check the excluded folders and delete them if you want.
Step 1: Go to Privacy & Security in Windows Settings (refer to the steps above).
2nd step: Click Windows Search.
Step 3: Check folders excluded from search results. Select a three-dot menu next to a relevant folder and select delete.
Windows can now search all deleted folders on the computer.
6. Restart Windows Search
If you are still having problems with search on your PC, you can restart the Windows Search service. Here’s how.
Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Services. Press the Enter key.
2nd step: Scroll down to Windows Search.
Step 3: Right-click on it and select Restart.
7. Clear device search history
If your computer is affected by corrupt research data, you might run into some issues. So it’s a good idea to clear the search history and start fresh. However, after clearing the search history, the first few searches will be a bit slow.
Step 1: Open the Privacy & Security menu in Windows Settings (check the steps above).
2nd step: Select Search Permissions.
Step 3: Select the Clear device search history button.
8. Check Indexed Locations
When you have important files stored on the C: or D: drive, you need to make sure that Windows Search can index them.
Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Indexing Options.
2nd step: Click Edit and enable Local Disk Drive.
Click OK, and you’re good to go.
9. Update Windows 11
Your last resort to fix search not working in Windows 11 is to update the software on your PC. Head to the Windows Update menu in Settings and install the pending update.
Hover over search queries in Windows
You don’t have to remember the file location or fill the taskbar with dozens of apps and games. Use Windows Search and get to these apps and documents in no time.