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Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10

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Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10: If you have recently searched for some particular files or folders in the File Explorer search and the search results don’t bring up anything then it can be a problem related to File Explorer Search Not Working and in order to make sure this is the issue we are dealing here you need to search for some files or folders which you know exist on your PC but the search is not able to find. In short Search feature of File Explorer is not working and no items will match your search.

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Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10

You can’t even search for most basic apps in File Explorer search, for example, calculator or Microsoft Word, etc. And it’s very frustrating for users to manually locate all the files & folders while the search function is not working. The main issue could be Indexing issues or the index database might be corrupted or simply the search service is not running. In any case, the user is at loss here, so without wasting any time let’s see how to actually Fix File Explorer Search Not Working issue with the below-listed troubleshooting guide.

Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10

Make sure to create a restore point just in case something goes wrong.

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Method 1: End Cortana’s process

1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc together to open Task Manager.

2. Find Cortana in the list then right-click on it and select End Task.

right click on Cortana and select End task

3. This would restart Cortana which should be able to fix File Explorer Search Not Working issue in Windows 10 but if you’re still stuck then continue with the next method.

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Method 2: Restart Windows Search service

1. Press Windows Key + R then type services.msc and hit Enter.

services windows

2. Find Windows Search service then right-click on it and select Properties.

Right-click on Windows Search service then select Properties

3. Make sure to set the Startup type to Automatic and click Run if the service is not running.

4. Click Apply followed by OK.

5. Reboot your PC to save changes.

Method 3: Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

1. Press Windows key + I to open Settings then click on Update & Security.

Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on Update & security icon

2. From the left-hand side menu, select Troubleshoot.

3. Now under “Find and fix other problems” click on Search and Indexing.

Now under Find and fix other problems click on Search and Indexing

4. Next, click on Run the troubleshooter button under Search and Indexing.

Next, click on Run the troubleshooter button under Search and Indexing

5. Checkmark “File don’t appear in search results” and click Next. 

Select Files don't appear in search results and then click Next | Fix Taskbar Search Not Working

6. If any issues are found, the troubleshooter will fix them automatically.

Alternatively, you can also run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter from Control Panel:

1. Press Windows Key + R then type control panel and hit Enter to open Control Panel.

Open Control Panel

2. Search Troubleshoot and click on Troubleshooting.

troubleshooting hardware and sound device

3. Next, click on View all in the left window pane.

From the left-hand window pane of Control Panel click on View All

4. Click and run the Troubleshooter for Search and Indexing.

Select Search and Indexing option from Troubleshooting options

5. Follow on-screen instructions to run the Troubleshooter.

Choose run as administrator

6. If any issues are found, click on the checkbox available next to any problems you are experiencing.

Select Files don't appear in search results and then click Next | Fix Taskbar Search Not Working

7. The Troubleshooter may be able to fix File Explorer Search Not Working issue.

Method 4: Search the Contents of Your Files

1. Press Windows Key + E to open File Explorer then click View and select Options.

Open Folder Options in File Explorer Ribbon

2. Switch to the Search tab and checkmark “Always Search File Names and Contents” under When searching non-indexed locations.

Check mark Always Search File Names and Contents in Search tab under Folder Options

3. Click Apply followed by OK.

4. Reboot your PC to save changes.

See if you are able to fix File Explorer search not working in Windows 10 issue or not, as this seems to work for most of the users, if not then continue to the next method.

Method 5: Rebuild Windows Search Index

1. Type indexing options in Windows Search then click on the top result to open Indexing Options.

Click on ‘Indexing Options’.

2. Click the Advanced button in the bottom in the Indexing Options window.

Click Advanced button in the bottom of Indexing Options window

3. Switch to File Types tab and checkmark “Index Properties and File Contents” under How should this file be indexed.

Check mark option Index Properties and File Contents under How should this file be indexed

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4. Then click OK and again open the Advanced Options window.

5. Then in the Index Settings tab and click Rebuild under Troubleshooting.

Click Rebuild under Troubleshooting in order delete and rebuild the index database

6. Indexing will take some time, but once it’s complete you shouldn’t have any further problems with Search results in Windows File Explorer.

Method 6: Add System Permission to A File/Folder

1. Right-click on the file or folder for which you want to change permission for and choose Properties.

Right-click that particular folder and choose Properties

2. In the file or folder properties window, switch to the Security tab.

3. SYSTEM should be present under Group or user names with full control under Permissions. If not then click on the Advanced button.

Now go to “Security” tab then Advanced button

4. Now click on the Add button and then click on Select a principal.

Press the “Change Permission” button & then click the “Add” button

5. This will open Select User or Group window, click on Advanced button at the bottom.

From the Select User or Group window click on the Advanced button

6. In the new window that opens, click on the Find Now button.

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7. Next, select SYSTEM from the search results and click OK.

Click on Find Now then select SYSTEM and click OK

8. Verify SYSTEM is added and click OK.

Once SYSTEM is added click OK

9. Checkmark “Full Control” and “Only apply these permissions to objects and/or containers within this container” and click OK.

Again click OK and checkmark Full Control

10. Finally, click Apply followed by OK.

Method 7: Re-register Cortana

1. Search Powershell and then right-click on it and select Run as Administrator.

powershell right click run as administrator

2. If the search is not working then press Windows Key + R then type the following and hit Enter:

C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0

3. Right-click on powershell.exe and select Run as Administrator.

right click on powershell.exe and select Run as administrator

4. Type the following command in powershell and hit Enter:

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

Re-register Cortana in Windows 10 using PowerShell

5. Wait for the above command to finish and reboot your PC to save changes.

6. See if re-registering Cortana will fix File Explorer search not working in Windows 10 issue.

Method 8: Change Default Apps by protocol

1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on Apps.

Open Windows Settings then click on Apps

2. From the left-hand menu, click on Default apps. From the right window, click on “Choose default apps by protocol” at the bottom.

Click on Choose default apps by protocol at the bottom

3. In the Choose default apps by protocol list find “SEARCH“. And make sure Windows Explorer is selected next to the SEARCH.

Make sure Windows Explorer is selected next to the SEARCH

4. If not then click on the program that is currently set to Default next to SEARCH and select Windows Explorer.

Select Windows Explorer under Choose an app

Method 9: Create a New Administrator User Account

1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings and then click Accounts.

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Press Windows Key + I to open Settings then click on Accounts

2. Click on Family & other people tab in the left-hand menu and click Add someone else to this PC under Other people.

Family & other people then click Add someone else to this PC

3. Click I don’t have this person’s sign-in information at the bottom.

Click I don’t have this person’s sign-in information

4. Select Add a user without a Microsoft account at the bottom.

Select Add a user without a Microsoft account

5. Now type the username and password for the new account and click Next.

Now type the username and password for the new account and click Next

6. Once the account is created you will be taken back to Accounts screen, from there click on Change account type.

Under Other People click on your account for which you want to change the account type

Under Other people choose the account you just created and then select Change account type

7. When the pop-up window appears, change the Account type to Administrator and click OK.

change the Account type to Administrator and click OK.

8. Now sign in to the above-created administrator account and navigate to the following path:

C:\Users\Your_Old_User_Account\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

Note: Make sure to show hidden files and folders is enabled before you can navigate to the above folder.

9. Delete or rename the folder Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy.

Delete or rename the folder Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

10. Reboot your PC and sign-in to the old user account which was facing the problem.

11. Open PowerShell and type the following command and hit Enter:

Add-AppxPackage -Path “C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\Appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register

re register cortana

12. Now restart your PC and this will definitely fix the search results issue, once and for all.

Method 10: Allow the Disk to be Indexed

1. Right-click on the drive which is not being able to produce search results.

2. Now checkmark “Allow indexing service to index this disk for fast file searching.

Check mark Allow indexing service to index this disk for fast file searching

3. Click Apply followed by OK.

4. Reboot your PC to save changes.

This should resolve File Explorer search not working issue but if not then continue to the next method.

Method 11: Run DISM to fix corrupt Windows files

1. Open Command Prompt with administrative privileges.

2. Enter the following command in cmd and hit enter:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

cmd restore health system

2. Press enter to run the above command and wait for the process to complete, usually, it takes 15-20 minutes.

Dism /Image:C:\offline /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:c:\test\mount\windows
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:c:\test\mount\windows /LimitAccess

Note: Replace the C:\RepairSource\Windows with the location of your repair source (Windows Installation or Recovery Disc).

3. After the DISM process if complete, type the following in the cmd and hit Enter: sfc /scannow

4. Let System File Checker run and once it’s complete, restart your PC.

Method 12: Repair Install Windows 10

This method is the last resort because if nothing works out then this method will surely repair all problems with your PC and will Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10 issue. Repair Install just uses an in-place upgrade to repair issues with the system without deleting user data present on the system. So follow this article to see How to Repair Install Windows 10 Easily.

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That’s it you have successfully Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10 but if you still have any questions regarding this guide then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

9 thoughts on “Fix File Explorer Search Not Working in Windows 10”

  1. This is typical for Windows “support” websites or forums. You have to be a certified Windows technician to understand it, and the solutions proposed are so arcane as to be useless. How about writing an operating system that works the way it’s supposed to, and is user-friendly? Would that be too much to ask? Ever since the adoption of that abortion “the registry,” trying to configure computer systems has been a descent into the 9th level of Hell.

  2. I’ve tried several videos on youtube and a few websites, but your option #8 is what fixed it for me. I knew there was a folder that was either corrupted or didn’t update properly, but I couldn’t figure out which one.

  3. On method #3, step 2. I’m supposed to search “troubleshooter,” except I can’t type anything!!! That’s the point. No file explorer window even allows me to type a single letter in any search bar. WHYYY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?

  4. Avatar
    Vetrivelan Pitchiah

    Hi Author,

    Really appreciate your different methods in solving a single issue.
    Thanks for your dedication and this helped most of the users a lot whomever visits this page.
    To give you the update, Method 1 worked for me and hats off to your Technical Competency Skills.
    GOD Bless you

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