Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

The search menu in Windows 10 is used much more than it was in the previous version of Windows. You can use it to navigate to any file, application, folder, setting, etc. But, sometimes, you may not be able to search anything or you may get an empty search result. There were a few issues with the Cortana search, which were fixed by the latest updates. But many users still face issues like Windows 10 Start menu or Cortana search bar not working. Today, we will fix the same. So, let us begin!

Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

How to Fix Windows 10 Start Menu or Cortana Search Not Working

Many users have reported that they faced this issue after October 2020 update. No results are shown when you type something in the search bar. Hence, Microsoft too published a troubleshooting guide to Fix problems in Windows search. There can be several reasons causing this problem, such as:

  • Corrupt or mismatched files
  • Too many apps running in the background
  • Presence of Virus or Malware
  • Outdated system drivers

Method 1: Restart PC

Before trying the rest of the methods, you are advised to reboot your system as it often solves minor glitches in the operating system applications.

1. Navigate to the Windows Power User Menu by pressing Win + X keys simultaneously.

2. Select the Shut down or sign out > Restart, as shown.

Select Shut down or sign out. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

Method 2: Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

The in-built Windows troubleshooting tool can also help you in resolving the issue, as explained below:

1. Press Windows + I keys together to open Settings.

2. Click on Update & Security.

Update and Security

3. Click on Troubleshoot in the left pane.

select troubleshoot

4. Next, select Additional Troubleshooters.

select Additional Troubleshooters

5. Scroll down and click on Search and Indexing.

click on Search and Indexing. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

6. Now, click on Run the troubleshooter button.

Run the troubleshooter

7. Wait for the process to be completed and then restart the PC.

Wait for the process to complete. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

Also Read: How to Change Startup Programs in Windows 10

Method 3: Restart File Explorer & Cortana

To manage Windows file systems, a file manager application, known as File Explorer or Windows Explorer comes in-built. This smoothens the graphical user interface and ensures the proper functioning of the Start menu search. So, try restarting the File Explorer and Cortana as follows:

1. Launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together.

2. In the Processes tab, search and right-click on Windows Explorer.

3. Now, select Restart as depicted below.

In the Task Manager window, click on the Processes tab.

4. Next, click on the entry for Cortana. Then, click on End task shown highlighted.

Now, select the End Task option. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

5. Now, press the Windows key to open the Start menu and search for the desired file/folder/app.

Also Read: Fix 100% Disk Usage In Task Manager In Windows 10

Method 4: Uninstall Windows Updates

As mentioned earlier, this issue started popping up after Oct 2020 update. Many users complained of this problem after the recent Windows 10 update. Hence, uninstall the Windows update to fix the issue, as explained below:

1. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security as shown in Method 2.

2. Click on View update history as shown below.

View update history

3. Click on Uninstall updates on the next screen.

Here, click on Uninstall updates in the next window. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

4. Here, click on the Update after which you faced the issue, and click Uninstall option shown highlighted.

Now, in the Installed Updates window, click on the most recent update and select the Uninstall option.

5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the uninstallation.

Method 5: Force Cortana to Rebuild Itself

If the above methods do not work, you can force Cortana to rebuilt itself to fix start menu search not working in Windows 10.

1. Press Windows + R keys together to open Run dialog box.

2. Type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys to launch Administrator: Command Prompt.

typing cmd in the Run command box (Windows key + R) and hitting the enter key

3. Type the following commands one by one and hit Enter after each command:

CD /d "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy"
Taskkill /F /IM SearchUI.exe
RD /S /Q Settings

Force Cortana to Rebuild Settings

Moreover, follow this guide to fix any issues related to Cortana search feature in Windows 10 PC.

Method 6: Run SFC & DISM Scans

Windows 10 users can automatically scan and repair their system files by running SFC and DISM scans to fix Windows 10 Start menu search not working issue.

1. Launch Command Prompt with administrative privileges as instructed in the previous method.

2. Type sfc /scannow and press the Enter key.

In the command prompt sfc/scannow and hit enter.

3. System File Checker will begin its process. Wait for the Verification 100 % completed statement then, restart your PC.

Check whether Windows 10 Start menu or Cortana works properly. If not, follow the given steps:

4. Launch Command Prompt as earlier and execute the following commands in the given order:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /ScanHealth
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

execute command for dism scan health

5. Finally, wait for the process to run successfully and close the window. Restart your PC.

Also Read: Fix DISM Error 87 in Windows 10

Method 7: Enable Windows Search Service

When the Windows Search Services is disabled or not functioning properly, Windows 10 Start menu search not working error occurs in your system. This can be fixed when you enable the service, as follows:

1. Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R keys simultaneously.

2. Type services.msc and click OK.

Type services.msc as follows and click OK.

3. In the Services window, right-click on Windows Search and select Properties as depicted below.

Now, click on Properties. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

4. Now, set the Startup type to Automatic or Automatic (Delayed Start) from the drop-down menu.

Now, set the Startup type to Automatic, as shown below. If the Service status is not Running, then click on the Start button.

5A. If the Service status states Stopped, then click on the Start button.

5B. If the Service status is Running, click on Stop and click on the Start button after some time.

windows search services properties

6. Finally, click on Apply > OK to save the changes.

Method 8: Run Antivirus Scan

Sometimes due to viruses or malware, Windows 10 Start menu search not working issue may arise in your system. You can remove those viruses or malware by running an antivirus scan in your system.

1. Go to Settings > Update & Security, as shown.

Update and Security

2. Now, click on Windows Security in the left pane.

click on Windows Security. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

3. Next, click on Virus & threat protection option under Protection areas.

click on Virus & threat protection option under Protection areas.

4. Click on Scan Options, as shown.

click on Scan options. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

5. Choose a scan option (e.g. Quick scan) as per your preference and click on Scan Now.

Choose a scan option as per your preference and click on Scan Now

6A. Click on Start actions to fix threats, if found.

6B. You will receive a message of No actions needed if there are no threats found during the scan.

If you do not have any threats in your system, the system will show the No actions needed alert as highlighted. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

Also Read: Fix Unable to Activate Windows Defender Firewall

Method 9: Move or Rebuild Swapfile.sys

Often, excessive RAM usage is compensated by a certain amount of hard drive space known as Pagefile. The Swapfile does the same, but it is concentrated more on modern Windows applications. Moving or restarting Pagefile will rebuild the Swapfile since they are co-dependent on each other. We do not suggest disabling the Pagefile. You can move it from one drive to another by following the given instructions:

1. Press Windows + X keys together and select the System option as shown.

Press Windows + X keys together and select the System option. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

2. Click on About in the left pane. Then, click on System info in the right pane.

click on System info in About section

3. Click on Advanced system settings in the next window.

In the following window, click on Advanced System Settings. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

4. Go to the Advanced tab and click on the Settings button under Performance section.

Go to the Advanced tab and click on the Settings button under the Performance section

5. Next, switch to the Advanced tab and click on Change… as highlighted below.

In the pop up window, switch to the Advanced tab and click on Change… Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

6. The Virtual Memory window will pop up. Here, uncheck the box titled Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.

7. Then, select the drive where you want to move the file.

Uncheck the box Automatically manage paging file size for all drivers.Select the drive where you want to move the file.

8. Click on the Custom size and type the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB).

Click on the Custom size radio button and type the Initial size MB and Maximum size MB. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

9. Finally, click on OK to save the changes and restart your Windows 10 PC.

Also Read: Fix Start Menu Not Working in Windows 10

Method 10: Reset Start Menu Search Bar

If none of the methods have helped you, then you may need to reset the Start Menu.

Note: This will remove all the applications other than in-built ones.

1. Press Windows + X keys together and click on Windows PowerShell (Admin).

Press Windows and X keys together and click on Windows PowerShell, Admin.

2. Now, type the following command and hit Enter:

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

Now, type the following command. Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

3. This will install original Windows 10 apps including the Start menu search. Restart your system to implement these changes.

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We hope this guide was useful and you learned to fix Windows 10 Start menu or Cortana search bar not working issue. Let us know how this article helped you. Also, if you have any queries/suggestions, please drop them in the comments section.

Posted by
Elon Decker

Elon is a tech writer at TechCult. He's been writing how-to guides for about 6 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to cover topics related to Windows, Android, and the latest tricks and tips.

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