Searching through the Windows 7 taskbar was really fast and efficient. The Windows 10 version seems more problematic than the old one: sometimes it doesn’t find what we need, and sometimes the search bar seems to be simply stuck and unresponsive. The root cause of Windows 10 search not working can due to many different reasons. This may due to some service on the operating system, or because of a search index that needs to be reorganized. We will go through the fixing process step by step. Follow the steps and try your search bar after each step until it works.

Quick Jump

First of all, restart your computer and try again

Restarting your computer is the best first step you can make. Many issues can be temporary and a simple restart can put things back together correctly. To do so:

  • Open your start menu using the Windows icon or key.
  • Click on the power icon.
  • Click restart.restart-pc-try-again-01

If the problem still persists, keep following the next steps.

Now, try to repair your Windows System Files

In case there is a problem with some system files, this step will fix all system errors (it will take some time):

  • Press your Windows logo key + and select Command Prompt (Admin).restart-pc-try-again-02
  • Click Yes to give it permission.restart-pc-try-again-03
  • Type the following command then press enter:

sfc /scannow

(make sure you put a space between “sfc” and “/scannow”)

  • After it finishes, restart your computer and try your search again.

Now, time to restart Cortana

If your Windows 10 search bar is not working still, or not finding what you’re looking for, restarting Cortana can sometimes help. Follow these steps:

  • Right-click on any empty area in your taskbar and choose Task Manager.restart-cortana-01
  • If you see the small panel, click More details to switch to the big panel.restart-cortana-02
  • In the Processes tab, scroll until you see Cortana, right-click on it and choose End task.restart-cortana-03
  • The Cortana process restarts automatically after it’s been shut by the user so no worries.
  • Now try to use the taskbar search again and see if it works.
  • If the problem persists, try to completely disable Cortana (the guide will open in a new tab).

Let’s check Windows search service

Windows search is a service running in the background. By default, it’s set to start automatically when Windows starts up. What are we going to do is restart the service itself and recheck its startup mode:

  • Type “run” in your start menu and choose Run or press Windows key + R to launch it.
  • Type services.msc and then click OK.check-windows-search-service-01
  • Scroll down to Windows search. Right-click on it and choose restart.check-windows-search-service-02
  • Now, right-click on it again and choose Properties.check-windows-search-service-03
  • In the General tab, make sure the startup type to Automatic or Automatic (Delayed Start) but I would prefer the first choice.check-windows-search-service-04
  • In the Recovery tab, make sure the after failure actions are set to Restart the Service and then click Ok.check-windows-search-service-05

Next up are more solutions for people who can type into their search bar, but are not getting the results they want (or not getting any results at all).

Rebuild your search index

“Search Index” is a list of places where Windows 10 looks for the files or programs you’re looking for. If you can type the search words into the search bar but not getting results, it may be that the search index defaults are excluding some places to search in. Follow these steps to rebuild the search index so that it will include everything:

  • Press your Windows logo Key to launch your Run app and then type control panel then press Enter or click Ok.rebuild-search-index-01
  • Type “indexing options” in the search area and choose Indexing options.rebuild-search-index-02
  • A window will show up, click Advanced.rebuild-search-index-03
  • Click Rebuild. This will delete and rebuild your index.rebuild-search-index-04
  • Click OK.rebuild-search-index-05
  • Now let’s add some missing directories and remove those you don’t need. To do so click Modify.rebuild-search-index-06
  • Click Show all locations.rebuild-search-index-07
  • Check the locations you want to add and uncheck those you want to remove. Be careful, the larger your search index the slower your search will be, so try not to add useless directories. After finishing editing your list click OK.rebuild-search-index-08
  • Click Close.rebuild-search-index-09
  • Restart your computer and retry searching again.

If it’s not working yet, let’s give the troubleshooter a chance

  • Search for “troubleshooting” in control panel and then choose Troubleshooting.give-troubleshooter-a-chance-01
  • Click System and Security.give-troubleshooter-a-chance-02
  • Right-click on Search and Indexing and choose Run as administrator.give-troubleshooter-a-chance-03
  • Click Next.give-troubleshooter-a-chance-04
  • Check the box which says Files don’t appear in search results. Then click Next.give-troubleshooter-a-chance-05
  • Click Close the troubleshooter after it ends scanning and fixing your problem.give-troubleshooter-a-chance-06

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I re-enable Windows Search If I have accidentally turned it off?

For Windows 10:

  • Right click on the empty area in the taskbar.
  • Click Cortana > Show search box. Make sure Show search box is checked.
  • Then see if the search bar shows up in the taskbar.

For Windows 11:

To hide your search box, press and hold (or right-click) the taskbar and go to Taskbar settings. Under Taskbar items, toggle the switch to Off next to Search.

If your search bar is hidden and you want it to show on the taskbar, press and hold (or right-click) the taskbar and go to Taskbar settings. Under Taskbar items, toggle the switch to On next to Search.

Why is my folder search not working?

If the search function inside File Explorer doesn’t work, then you could try an easy fix, namely restarting the application. To restart File Explorer, select the Task Manager by right-clicking on the task bar in Windows 10 or the Start Button in Windows 11 and selecting Task Manager. Alternatively, you can also select Task Manager by Pressing the Windows key + X.

After entering the Task Manager, look for the File Explorer task, right-click on it, and select “End Task.” After that, you’ll want to run the “Run” command by pressing the Windows Key + R. Type “file explorer” and hit enter. Ta-Da! Your File Explorer and its related search function should now work again as intended.

Why does it say that no items match your search?

This happend either because there truly are no items that match your search, the search function doesn’t work correctly, or the index database could be corrupted, thus resulting in this kind of error. To fix this issue, try one of the fixes mentioned in this article and hope for the best. If that still doesn’t work, feel free to contact us or any other specialist in this type of problem.

Final cautions

If you use any Keyloggers or Anti-keyloggers, sometimes they encrypt your keyboard key strokes. That’s why the search service can’t recognize your typed words. So it’s better to shut them down while searching or uninstall them if you can.