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8 Ways to Fix the Windows 10 Start Menu Search When It Stops Working

So, you wanted to do a quick search on your PC and went to use the Windows 10 Start menu. With the hope of getting things done quickly, you clicked on the search bar, only to find that it was not working.

Make no mistake, while Windows 10 is a phenomenal operating system and a much-desired improvement over its predecessors, it’s still prone to a slew of errors, like the Start menu search not working issue.

In what follows, you’ll learn how to fix your Windows 10 Start menu search without any hassles.

While there’s still no consensus on what causes the Windows 10 Start menu search to stop, we’ve gathered some of the best methods to get rid of it, starting with removing the latest Windows Update.

1. Uninstall Windows 10 Updates

Updates play a critical role in the Windows 10 environment. Regular updates are necessary to fix all kinds of bugs that arise in any software, and more importantly, to fix the security loopholes that make a program the target of malicious hackers; Windows 10 is no exception.

However, as necessary as these updates are, they are also infamous for causing unusual problems in your system.

Don’t take our word for it. Take the update KB5001330, for instance, which was meant to get rid of many issues in the Windows 10 system. But as per user comments from the official Windows 10 Subreddit, it has itself become a source of pain for Windows 10 users.

So, if your Windows 10 Start menu search is not functioning right after an update, you need to uninstall the update.

windows updates settings menu

To get started with rolling back the update, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Windows Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
  2. Once there, click on View update history > Uninstall updates.
  3. From the update list, right-click on the most recent update and click on uninstall to get rid of the update.
Uninstall Windows 10 updates


If the Start menu search starts working after uninstalling the update, rejoice.

But wait, does this mean that you can’t update Windows 10 again? Not exactly. Microsoft is infamous for releasing buggy updates. Whenever a new update comes, it usually brings many issues with it.

But since updates are important for security, you also can’t avoid installing them. In such a situation, you can use a free Windows search tool.  As soon as Microsoft fixes the bug, you can begin using the Windows search bar again.

2. Run an SFC System Scan

All systems are susceptible to accidental data loss, which will result in the corruption of important functions. You can use the SFC (System File Checker) scan to repair your computer in such situations. It’s a free tool from Microsoft designed to look for and repair any corrupt Windows 10 files.

  1. Open the command prompt as an administrator, type the sfc /scannow command, and hit Enter.
execution of the sfc command

The SFC will check your entire computer for corrupt files and other issues.

If it finds anything, it will attempt to fix the damaged file. Give a few minutes for the scan and repair to get completed, and if the Windows 10 Start menu search was not working due to the system files corruption, the issues will be resolved for good. If not, don’t worry, and jump to the next method.

Related: What Is the Difference Between CHKDSK, SFC, and DISM in Windows 10?

3. Reset File Explorer

File Explorer, previously known as Windows Explorer, is a file manager application that provides a graphical user interface for managing Windows file systems.

To ensure that File Explorer is not affecting the smooth working of Start menu search, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reboot it. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to open the Task Manager. Next, click on the Task Manager option.
  2. Click on More details to see all the programs and background processes running in the background.
  3. Right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.
task manager menu

The File Explorer—along with the Start menu search box—will reboot quickly. But if your Windows Start menu search still does not work, don’t give up yet. Try one of the other fixes below.

Related: How to Fix the File Explorer in Windows 10

4. Restart Cortana

Due to unknown issues, Windows programs are susceptible to crashing. If you are using Cortana for your search, it might be possible that your Start menu search is not working due to some issues with Cortana. To make sure that that’s not the case, a quick restart will do the trick.

To do that, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Task Manager. Right-click the Cortana process and select Restart. This will close the Cortana app, and it will automatically restart. If Cortana was the real culprit, then you’ll not face trouble with the Start menu search after this.

This guide contains many resets. That’s because resets work. If your Start menu search is still not working, then you can try to reset it. Note that you’ll have to reset all the apps—preinstalled and those installed later on—along with the Start menu. You can’t have one without the other.

You’ll have to use Windows PowerShell (with administrative privileges) for this one.

  1. Press the Windows key + R shortcut to open Run. There, type powershell and hit Enter.
  2. In the PowerShell terminal, type the following command:
Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml"}

This command will install the original Windows apps, including the Start menu search.

windows powershell

Wait for the command to execute completely, and once it’s done, restart your computer for changes to take effect. The Windows 10 Start menu search should be working now.

6. Go Over the Windows Search Service

Another possible reason your Start menu search may not be opening, as per our research, is that the Windows Search service—the Windows platform that indexes content on your Windows computer—has stopped working.

To make sure that’s not the case, open the service.msc windows. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Press the Windows Key + R shortcut to open Run, type service.msc and hit Enter.
  2. Find the Windows Search program in the list and check its status; it should be set to running. You’ll have to start it again if it’s not.
  3. Right-click on Windows search and select Properties. From there, click on Start to start the service. Also, set the Startup type to Automatic.
  4. Finally, click on OK to set to finalize the changes.
windows search service

7. Run the Windows Troubleshooter

Windows troubleshooter is another free utility by Microsoft. It can come in handy to deal with small bugs on your Windows device, such as update problems, app crashes, and much more. Running the Troubleshooter will help you fix the Start menu search not opening problem. Follow the steps to get started:

  1. Press Windows Keys + R to open the Run windows.
  2. Type control and hit Enter to open the Control Panel.
  3. Click on Troubleshooting > System and Security > Search and Indexing.
  4. Now, click Next and check the Files don’t appear in search result option.
  5. Click on Next to go ahead with the scan.
control panel menu

The tool will automatically scan and fix all the issues it finds, fixing the Start menu not working bug.

8. Perform a Factory Reset

Alright, so this is the last method. And with good reason, too. Remember, only go ahead with this solution after you’ve tried your hand at all the methods from above. Why? Because Factory Reset does exactly what it says on the tin: it will delete your Windows operating system and then install it again. This will make your Windows as good as new.

You can implement Factory Reset in two ways. First, you can do a complete reset and delete both your operating system and all the files from your system. In the second method, you get to keep your files; only the operating system will be deleted.

  1. To get started, get to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. Under the Reset this PC heading, click on Get started.
  2. Choose a Reset setting and follow the simple steps to finalize the Factory Reset.

A Factory Reset will format your entire PC to make it almost brand new, without any extra files and apps to bog down its performance. For a detailed step-by-step guide, have a look at our article below.

Related: Easy Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer

Hopefully, this short guide helped you fix the Start menu search not opening issue in your Windows 10.

While the cause of the error is not known with any certainty, we do know how to get rid of it. As handy as the Windows operating system is, it’s brimming with a ton of issues. Master all the Windows 10 tips and tricks you’ll need to stay on top of your game.


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