Fix Search not working in Windows 10

windows 10 search

I have experienced a strange issue on a system running Windows 10 Pro in the past couple of days. Windows Search would suddenly stop working and return no result at all. As soon as I started typing a search term it would display the “searching” animation but no matter how long I waited, it would not stop and results would not be displayed anymore.

My first thought was that this had something to do with privacy tweaks that I applied but since search was working fine sometimes, it looked to be another issue.

A restart fixed the issue usually but the solution is not really practicable, especially since the search bug could reappear at any time after the reboot of the PC.

It took me a while to figure this out. While I cannot say why search in Windows 10 is not working at times, I have found a fix for the issue that worked 100% on the affected system so far. Interestingly enough, search works just fine on a second PC with Windows 10.

Search is powered by Cortana in Windows 10. Even if you disable Cortana’s functionality, which I have done as I don’t find the feature particularly useful, you will notice that Cortana remains running in the Task Manager.

All you need to do to fix the search in Windows 10 is to kill the Cortana process on the computer. It gets restarted right away when you do and when you run a search afterwards, you will notice that results are displayed again.

Note: This works only if you have not deleted the Cortana application on the system.

Killing Cortana

Do the following to kill the Cortana process in Windows 10:

  • Use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.
  • If you see only a handful programs listed by it click on the “more details” link.
  • Locate “Cortana” under background processes.
  • Right-click on the process and select “end task” from the context menu.
  • The Cortana process is reloaded right away by the operating system.


    search indexing troubleshoot

    If that does not work for you, run the built-in search troubleshooter to find out more about it. To run it, do the following:

  • Tap on the Windows-key, type Control Panel and hit enter.
  • Select large or small icons under “view by”.
  • Click on Indexing options, and when the menu opens on the Advanced button.
  • There you need to click on “troubleshoot search and indexing”, and follow the instructions on screen to resolve the issue.
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