How to Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10 / 11

Is Search box of File Explorer not working on your computer? If you are facing this issue at your end, you are not alone. Some Windows 10 users are also complaining about similar kind of issue at their end. Follow the fixes of this article and the problem will be solved quickly. But before going ahead for the main solutions, check out these simpler workarounds and check if they works out for you or not.


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Workarounds

1. Press “Esc” key when the Search box is not responding on your computer. It will offer some temporarily fix for the problem.

2. Reboot your computer and check if it helps or not.

3. Check if any Windows Update is pending or not. If any of the updates are pending on your computer, update your system, check if it is working  or not.

If any of these workarounds didn’t work out for you, go for these solutions-

Fix 1 – Restart Windows Search Service

1. Press Windows key + R together to Open RUN.

2. Now, Write services.msc in it and Press OK.

 

Services.msc 1

 

3. Locate Windows Search Service, right click on it and Click on Properties.

 

Windows Search Properties Min

 

4.  Make sure the Startup Type is Automatic. If it is not Change it to Automatic.

 

Start Up Type Automatic Windows Search Min

5.  Also, Start the the service by clicking on start if it is not running.

If it is already running , then click on Stop and then click on start again to restart the service.

Windows Search Restart 1 Min

Fix 2 – Restart file explorer

1. Press CTRL + SHIFT + Esc keys together to open Task manager.

2. Now, locate windows explorer.

3. Right click and choose restart.

 

Restart Windows Explorer Min

 

You can also create a batch file to do it instantly, when the problem reappears.

1. Open notepad.


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2. Copy and paste the code given below

taskkill /im explorer.exe /f
start explorer.exe
exit

3. Save the file as restartexplorer.bat on desktop or anywhere.

 

Restart Explorer Bat Min

 

4. Now, just click it to run it whenever this happens.

Fix-3 Modify File Explorer options-

Modifying File Explorer Options on your computer may solve this issue.

1. Press Windows key+R to launch Run window on your computer. Now, type or copy-paste “control.exe folders” in Run window and then hit Enter. File Explorer Options window will be opened.

 

Folder Options Run

 

2. In File Explorer Options window, go to “View” tab and then toggle the option “Launch folder windows in a separate process“. (You can check/ uncheck the option.)

3. Click on “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes.

 

Change Folder Options

 

Relaunch File Explorer on your computer. After opening File Explorer window, type to search something in File Explorer and check if the error is still there or not. Your problem should be solved.

Fix 4 – via Powershell

1. Press Windows key + R key together to open RUN.

2. Write powershell in it .

3. Press CTRL + Shift + Esc keys together from your keyboard to open elevated powershell window.

4. Write the following command given below and hit enter key.

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

Wait for some time to get it executed fully.

Fix 3 – Rebuild Search Index

1. Search indexing options in Windows 10 search box

2. Click on indexing options from the search result.

Indexing Options Min

2. Click on Advanced.

 

Indexing Options Advanced Min

 

3. Choose Tab File Types

 

File Type Index Properties Min

 

4. Select Index Properties and File Contents

5. Click OK.

6. Choose OK when the Confirmation prompt pops up.

 

Rebuild Search Index Prompt Min

 

 

 

Fix 5- Change the index location once

1. Search indexing options in Windows 10 search box

2. Click on indexing options from the search result.

Indexing Options Min

2. Click on Advanced.

 

Indexing Options Advanced Min

 

3. Now, click on select new.

 

New Location Search Min

4. Choose a new location on your PC (for example : C:\Temp )

5. Click on Apply and OK and close the window.

Restart PC.

6. Make sure Show hidden files option is enabled. For this just search file explorer options in windows 10 search box and click on file explorer options.

7. Now, click on view tab. Choose show hidden files option.

Show Hiddenfiles Min

 

6. Now, open it again and change it back to C:\programdata\microsoft

Restart PC again.

Fix 6 – End Cortana Process

1. Press  Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together to Open Task manager.

2. Now, Locate Cortana and do a Right Click on it and Choose End task.

 

End Task Cortana Min

 

Doing this will restart the Cortana process and will Fix the issue.

Fix 7 – Install KB4532695 update to fix this

Microsoft have released KB4532695 update which seems to fix this issue for the PC affected by this bug. Just download ans install KB4532695 from this official Microsoft website.

Fix 8- Add System permission to a folder

If this problem persists with a particular folder then , system permission may be missing from the folder. To set this do this:

1. Do a Right click on the folder

2. Click on Properties

3. Click on Security Tab.

4. If you do not see System in the List of Group or User Name, Click on Edit.

 

Edit Security System

 

5. Click on Add.

6. Write system in the text box and Click on Check names.

 

Check Names

 

7. Keep Clicking on OK and Close every Open box so far.

Fix 9 – Troubleshoot Search and Indexing

1. Press Windows key + R together and write Control Panel in RUN command Box and Click OK to Open Control Panel.

 

Type Control Panel

 


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2. Select Large icons in View by .

3. Click on Troubleshooting

Troubleshotting Options Control Panel

4. Click on View all from the Right Menu.

 

View All Troubleshooting Min

 

5. Locate Search and Indexing and Click on it.

 

Search And Indexing Min

 

6. Choose Files Don’t appear in Search Results

 

Files Do Not Appear In Search Results Min

7. Proceed with On Screen instructions.

Fix 10 – Default Apps by protocol

1. Press Windows key + I to open settings

2. Click on Apps.

Apps Settings

 

3. Click on Default Apps from the left menu. Now, scroll in the right side and click on Choose default apps by protocol.

 

Default Apps By Protocol

 

 

4. Now, scroll and and in the left side look for windows search protocol. After locating it just select windows explorer from the right, if it is not selected.

 

Windows Search Protocol

 

 

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40 thoughts on “How to Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10 / 11”

  1. This really helped to get windows explorer searching again. Thank you.
    For me it was the Security Permissions and clicking Restart of FE using Task Manager

  2. fix 2 thank you i messed it up a long time ago it was my fault couldnt fix it for the life of me im very thankful

  3. Does some one know or how i can make it stop refreshing or restarting the search everytime it looses focus. So for example i have 2 windows, ill do a search in on window and let it run and get results, that all works fine. Now ill focus on that second window browser through some folders and return to that other window. Why does it restart the search and clears all the results? THis is really counter intuitive, its making me go nuts

  4. Fix #2 actually worked for me!! I work a lot with a huge album of product photos so not being able to search was getting to be a real time suck. Thanks!

  5. Jan, some people cure diseases, some people save people from burning building, you have saved my keyboard from being smashed to bits and my poor cat for being pushed off my desk when she’s looking for strokes – which I believe is on par with the others.
    Thanks for that, nothing worked for me until I ran that command and I’ve been trying for 3-4 hours today and 3-4 hours for the best part of another day a month ago (that time Indexing worked).
    All the best 🙂

  6. @Jan
    You are a hero to me. I looked for days to find a solution. Nothing, realy nothing worked for me. As everything failed, why not try your solution.

    What should I say; the only working solution.

    Thanks so much for this powershell script.

  7. Wow, had to get all the way down to Fix 8, but that fixed it! This File Explorer Search issue just happened with the last Windows update. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

  8. Thanks a bunch Jan, ran the powershell script you left and worked. Did absolutely everything else everyone else suggested and no luck.

  9. For me it was the SearchApp.exe process that kept crashing. That process was previously called SearchUI.exe, I think, and was a part of Cortana. Microsoft.Windows.Cortana has now changed name to Microsoft.Windows.Search, located in C:\Windows\SystemApps\.

    To fix this issue for my user in Windows 10 2004 I ran the following command in PowerShell:
    Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Search | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

  10. I had also problem with explorer’s search. I solved it this way:
    Open the Registry Editor. Find the key
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
    1) Go to “ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin” value , double click on it and set the data to 0 (zero).
    2) Go to “EnableLUA” value double click on it and set the data to 0 (zero). If the value “EnableLUA” does not exist you must create it with right click as DWORD (32-bit).
    Reboot your system to activate the changes.

  11. I have tried out all the possibilities => without success

    Why Microsoft? Windows 7 never had this issue

  12. None of the steps above worked, though I did have an interesting time. Along with some other users, I tried to restart File Explorer from the Task Manager without many expectations. But, surprise surprise, it worked 🙂

  13. Tried looking at default apps by protocol. Doing so immediately overrode all my custom defaults; hence I now have to contend with that, as well as the original fault ~ which remains unfixed. I suspect a buggy program… Sigh…

  14. Finally the search is working. My problem was a little different in that I added a couple of file extensions (file types) but Windows Explorer wasn’t finding files in known searches. Specifically the new file types were .php files. Known searches would find strings in .css and .html files but not .php files. It was as if Windows Explorer was still blind to .php files. I tried everything, including running the PowerShell fix-it script, but none of it worked.

    What seemed to make a difference was to go into Indexing Options, under “Index these Locations” I removed an entry for something that was no longer on my computer. When re-ran the index, the count of the number of items indexed increased dramatically. Now File Explorer searches were getting hits in the newly added (.php) file types.

    I’ve been at this so long, now I can’t remember the problem for which I needed this capability. Ugh.

  15. I have manage to fix this issue in my windows10 (amd64)

    1º step – Restore indexing services
    2º step – make a shortcut of %windir%\System32\ctfmom.exe and place it on startup folder ..

    ( now everytime my pc startup it will auto run the ctfmom.exe allowing me to use the search functions )

  16. Tried all steps but Cortana as I do not want it running on my computer. Restarted Windows Explorer too and nothing has helped! Submitted issue (along with 100s of others) on Microsoft support page. Still waiting for fix!

  17. Follow all steps in thegeekpage.com above, once done, you now have experience on skills. Click file explorer and try to click in search box. Still you can’t type in example *.jpg ? Or *.exe ? Do what post from Julia said. Opentask manager and find task Windows Explorer. Right click for menu popup. Click restart. Go to destop, click icon file explorer, click your path, say C: drive, then search box type in *.exe or *.jpg
    Wow it freakin works now bill gates.

  18. I have the same problem. It is especially after an attempt to search my whole C Partition, that the the Search function stops to work. To work around this problem of not being able to search the whole C partition, I reboot the PC.

    This happens much too often

    I too, i am currently extremely disatisified with Windows 10 and I regrtet very much my very stable Windows / (that I gave up. because the end od its support period by Microsoft).
    .
    By the way: I resent very much that various excellent well functioning piece of Hardware are not supported under Windows 10: my excellent compact Bluetooth (=Bluetooth V3) K810 Keyboard, my excellent compact flatbed Canon Lide 200 Scanner, my excellent 10 year old PC….As if a Hardware Manufacturing Mafia took advantage of the end of windows 7 supporft to enrich itself by focring us or pushing us to buy new Hardware: new bluetooth keyboards, new Flatbed scanner, new PCs,.. is that ecological?

  19. I have the same problem. When I turn on my computer, search box in file explorer stops working after a while. I think it began after the last update of my WIN 10.
    Could not find a proper solution for this till now.

  20. Having same problem on my home desktop Windows 10. (I don’t know how you find the 1903 version people keep referring to.) Very interesting, though, that I’ve never had one search issue on my work laptop Windows 10. Are we using some different, business version of Windows 10 that was properly tested, unlike the home version?

  21. I went into the task manager and right clicked on Windows explorer and clicked on restart. This worked.
    We shouldn’t have to do this and it only started going wrong after the last windows update.

  22. When I type in FE to name or rename a file, it’s nonsense. I can hit the same key over and over and different characters/numbers will type each time. What the heck?

  23. Julia’s fix worked for me:
    I went into the task manager and right clicked on file explorer and clicked on restart. This worked for me after none of these did.

  24. Like many others this didn’t work for me.

    The amount of bugs in windows 10 is staggering.
    I currently work as a contractor at Microsoft and even though I reported this issue months ago (which they came back with won’t fix) it won’t be fixed anytime soon. They (MS higher ups) needs to get their act together and fix their core systems. I’ve had calculator stop working, windows randomly not opening as expected, this search issue, clicks not working, just type from start menu not doing anything.
    Staggering amount of bugs..
    This is due to internal shifts removing more and more testers. Their hope was the devs would do the testing as well.. but most devs make crappy testers.

    Answer is easy. Shift focus back into the OS. Make the OS super stable/solid and then go from there. Lots and lots of cool features.. but half working or not working at all just frustrates us to no end. 10 years here.. and the bubble is slowly collapsing. I just hope they reach their goal before it does.

  25. I went into the task manager and right clicked on file explorer and clicked on restart. This worked for me after none of these did.

  26. Having same problem with File Explorer…nothing happens when I click search box or try to type something into search box. Very frustrating especially when I need to search a folder with many, many, many files!!!
    I started experiencing problem towards end of November.

  27. None of this worked, Win 10 64 bit, latest updates. Can’t type in Explorer search window, this also goes for the search window in the Control Panel. I have no idea what the Ms people have done, but Win 10 has become a piece of crap, and years of Explorer working without issue, its now very buggy, and crashes a lot. Bill, please fire, and hire someone that can do a proper job!

  28. Unfortunately none of these helped – when I click on the search box in Explorer nothing happens, I cannot type anything into the box. Also the Start Menu/Taskbar search appears to be affected; sometimes it closes as soon as I type a letter, other times it works.

    I have gone to great (and varied) lengths to disable Cortana and it appears that one of the changed settings/hacks I did has disabled search in the most recent Windows update. I’m going to try re-enabling Cortana as much as possible to see if that helps.

    The problem started roughly the last week of November 2019, so probably something in the Version 1903 update.

    Hoping someone can find a solution, as I’m sure this has impacted a bunch of people.

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