Windows 10 search broken by a Windows update? How to fix it

A Microsoft Windows 10 update has broken search for a lot of computers. Windows search is now blank for any and all results when you try to do a search within Windows.

Fortunately Bleeping Computer has details on what happened and how to fix it.

“A bug in the Windows 10 Search is causing blank results to be shown in both the Start Menu and in File Explorer. This is making it impossible to search for and launch an application from the Start Menu.”

I pin the programs I use to the taskbar so I don’t have to search for them. I have to use small icons to fit more in.

Slightly off topic, I don’t use Windows search for file contents because 99% of the time I don’t need it with well structured storage:

  • Folder and filenames are meaningful including date and version details where useful.

    The main meaning is to fix a file date in the filename. I prefix filenames, particularly photo files, with the relevant date YYYYMMDD. This saves me a lot of work when the OS or an application updates file dates when it should not. Just this week I had to view 12 year old Microsoft Office files that were saved in compatibility mode. The latest versions of Microsoft Office will automatically convert those files which then changes the file date to today. I can still sort these files by date because the date is the start of the filename.

    I also store relevant keywords in the filename so I can search the filenames without having to index all the file content.

  • Folder structure contributes to minimize the scope of any search

    An example is having individual folders for storing files related to individual entities rather than dropping all the files into one bucket. It takes more work at file creation but generally saves time when I need to find/copy/delete/move files at some later date.

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Does windows updates actually fix anything or do they just break things.

3 (.14! lol) cheers for YYYYMMDD date structures in files and folders!

And, as far as I’ve noticed, Windows Search has been broken for maaaaany moons. These days I rely on the awesome and free tool “Search Everything” from voidtools.com.

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FYI, my Windows Search would still not work even after the latest update today.

I then found if I went to the Windows Task Manager and found “Cortana” then force quit it (right click), it restarted and then my search now works normally! Just letting everyone know who still has this issue.

It seems the Windows Update after the one that broke this didn’t fix it! Weird but true.

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Forbes has an interesting updated article about this issue. It says:

" In an open letter to new Windows head Panos Panay, Susan ‘Patch Lady’ Bradley was similarly sceptical, noting that today “we all found out that our local search boxes are somehow dependent on some service working at Microsoft.” She attacked the company for a lack of transparency and gave it a maximum ‘Pinocchio score’ for a lack of trust."

I think it is interesting and a bit scary if it’s true that Microsoft depends on some remote cloud service to power the Windows Search bar. Does it mean Windows search collects data on every single search you make on your own PC? I hope not! :nauseated_face:

Hopefully I’m just misunderstanding this…

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@Ultrasnoop you sure you’re not talking about Mark Shuttleworth? :slight_smile:

@Ken I’ve used a registry hack for years to disable Cortana, and so I rarely use Windows Search. Unfortunately, I’m less-than-surprised, especially considering Windows telemetry data that has been proven to phone home.

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How to fix search using Troubleshooter
If you’re having problems searching on Windows 10 and restarting your device doesn’t resolve the problem, then you can use the Troubleshooter settings to diagnose and fix the most common issues. And you can perform this task from the Settings app or Command Prompt.

Repairing search with Settings
To fix the search functionality with the Settings app, use these steps:

Open Settings.
Click on Update & Security.
Click on Troubleshoot.
Under the “Find and fix other problems” section, select the search and Indexing option.
Click the Run the troubleshooter button.
Check the problems that best describe your situation — for example, Files don’t appear in the search results option.
Click the Next button.
Continue with the on-screen directions.

Once you complete the steps, the search feature should start working again on your computer.

Hope this information was helpful.

Another great tool for locking down windows 10 is this