Full Repair Guide – Windows 11 Search Bar Not Working

Full Repair Guide – Windows 11 Search Bar Not Working

/ Andrew Holdeman

The Windows Search bar is an essential tool for numerous Windows users. Nonetheless, on a Windows 11 device, this feature might be turned off, which is a prevalent problem for those who intend to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 for free.

There isn’t a singular explanation for why it’s disabled. As a result, our remedies encompass straightforward and fast solutions and more complicated troubleshooting, such as a reset option.

Why Is Windows 11 Search Disabled?

Initially, to use anything on your computer, you must search for it. The Windows Search bar, also known as the Search box, is a convenient feature that allows you to quickly access your File Explorer, applications, registries, and documents with just one click. A common Windows 11 bug is the disabled Search bar, which prevents users from typing anything.

The Windows 11 Start menu, which has its new search box, may also be unresponsive to clicks, and the Shutdown and Restart buttons may be inaccessible. Historically, this issue has primarily impacted users who upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, which is unlikely to affect PCs or laptops with Windows 11 pre-installed.

This is due solely to Microsoft’s bugs, and a few remedial measures are required to restore your computer’s search capabilities. However, with Windows 10, the problem may be related to your device due to numerous accumulated errors over time. If you are experiencing this issue in Windows 10, try one of our solutions tailored specifically to that version.

Enable Search Button on Taskbar

The search feature on Windows 11 devices is integrated with the Taskbar options. To ensure it functions properly, you must verify whether the Search menu has been deactivated.

1. Right-click anywhere on the taskbar to access the Taskbar settings option.

2. Click on the Taskbar settings option.

3. A new window labeled Settings will appear.

windows 11 taskbar settings

4. Navigate to the Taskbar Items section.

5. Ensure that the Search option is enabled, particularly if it was disabled after the Windows 11 update.

enable taskbar in windows 11

6. Once this is done, you may attempt to utilize the search button once again with your Windows 11 device.

Check for Windows Updates

Occasionally, resolving the search bar issue in Windows 11 can be as simple as performing an update and restart.

1. press the Win + I keys to access the Windows Settings.

2. From the menu on the right-hand side, select Windows Update and click Check for Update.

check for updates in windows 11

3. Check if there are any pending updates for your device.

4. If any updates are pending, install them and restart your computer.

5. After restarting, check whether the search bar issue has been resolved.

Use Search and Indexing Troubleshooter in Windows 11

For resolving various glitches in Windows devices, a built-in troubleshooter can address major and minor issues. Most users can use the search and indexing troubleshooter to resolve the search bug issue. Follow the steps below:

1. Go to Settings > System > Troubleshoot.

2. Select Other Troubleshooters.

other troubleshooters windows 11

3. Click Run next to Search and Indexing.

search and indexing windows 11

4. Wait for Search and Indexing to detect the problems.

5. Check all the problems that apply, particularly Can’t start a search or see results.

search problems with indexing

6. The troubleshooter will diagnose that Windows search is not working, and you need to repair the problem as an administrator. Click to proceed.

7. Wait while Search and Indexing restarts the Windows search application to resolve the problem.

8. After the troubleshooter completes its work, you should see green checkmarks next to all kinds of search problems, signifying that Windows search is working on your device.

indexing troubleshooting fixed

The troubleshooter can resolve several common search problems, such as Incorrect permissions on Windows Search directories and Windows Search issues.

Restart Windows Search Services

If you are facing an unresponsive issue with the Windows search feature, simply restarting the service may solve the problem.

To restart the Windows search service, you can follow these steps:

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run menu.

2. Type services.msc into the Run box and press Enter to open the Services window.

run services msc command

3. Scroll down the list of services until you find Windows Search.

4. Right-click on Windows Search Services and select Restart from the context menu.

restart windows search services

Windows will try to stop the Windows search service on your computer. Wait a few seconds to restart Windows Search, then try using the search button again.

Tweak the Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service

Errors in the Touch Keyboard may cause your search results to freeze. Windows devices offer a solution to unfreeze the Touch Keyboard.

1. Open the Services window and locate the Touch keyboard and handwriting panel service.

2. Double-click on it or right-click and select Properties.

touch keyboard service properties

3. Change the General tab’s default startup type from Manual to Automatic.

change touch keyboard to start automatically

4. Switch to the Recovery tab and set Subsequent failures to Restart the service. Also, change the Reset fail count after the variable from 1 to 0.

restart the service in recovery

5. Return to the General tab and click on the Start button.

If the Start button is not greyed out, move on to the next solution, as this solution should fix the search issues promptly.

Enable Search History on Device and Clear Past Search History

Enabling the recent search history menu option is crucial as it lets you view your previous search queries when you hover your mouse cursor inside the search box. Without it, your search results may not be displayed.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Navigate to Privacy & Security > Search permissions.

change search permissions in windows 11

3. Ensure the Search history on the device option is enabled.

4. Click on the Clear device search history option.

5. Restart your Windows 11 PC and check if the search bar error is resolved.

Ensure Your Search Results Aren’t Within Excluded Folders

If stored in the excluded folder, excluding a folder from Windows 11 and 10 search results can prevent you from accessing important files and applications.

1. Go to Settings, select Privacy & Security, and navigate to Searching Windows.

search in windows option in windows 11

2. You will find a comprehensive list of folders excluded from Windows search results, such as C:\Windows.

If you cannot find what you are looking for through the search function, checking if the folder in question is not on this list is essential.

find my files option in windows 11

3. If any program files or applications are in an excluded folder, you can easily remove them from the list by clicking on the three dots next to the folder and selecting Remove.

exclude folder in search in windows 11

4. Additionally, you can create your exclusion folders.


1. Open the Task Manager using the Ctrl + Alt + Del.

2. Navigate to the Details tab.

3. Locate the SearchHost.exe application or SearchIndex.exe process.

searchindex end task

4. Right-click on the processes and select End task to terminate them.

5. Restart the processes.

6. This will restart your search services immediately.

If you cannot see these items in the Task Manager, move on to the next solution.

Restart Cortana and File Explorer

Restarting Cortana and File Explorer can help ensure that the processes running in the background function properly, which may resolve issues with your Windows 11 search bar. If you cannot enter text into the search bar, you can attempt to resolve the issue by restarting these applications.

1. Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

2. Right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.

restart windows

3. Right-click on Cortana and select End task.

4. Press Alt + F4 to restart your PC.

5. After restarting, Cortana will be relaunched automatically.

Run Windows Security Check

Installing apps and media from unverified sources on the web can result in the Windows 11 system being infected with viruses and malicious files. These files can interfere with core Windows 11 functions such as the taskbar, Microsoft Store, and File Explorer.

If your Windows 11 taskbar is not working, it could be due to corrupted files on your PC. To address this, you should scan your PC with anti-virus software.

1. Open the Windows Settings menu by pressing the Windows + I keys.

2. Go to Privacy & Security and open the Windows Security menu.

windows 11 windows security

3. Select Virus & threat protection and run a quick scan on your PC.

defender quick scan

4. Microsoft will remove any malicious files and fix the issue of the Windows 11 taskbar not working.

Repair System Files

In the following steps, we will utilize the Command pLine terminal to address corrupt system files on Windows 11 that may be causing issues with the taskbar.

1. Press the Windows + R keys to the Run dialog box.

2. Type cmd in the Run dialog box to open the Command terminal.

run cmd

3. Enter the following commands one by one and press Enter after each line:

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

4. Next, type the following command to run the System file checker and press Enter.

sfc /scannow

sfc scannow

5. Wait for Windows 11 to execute the commands and repair damaged files on your computer.

6. Close the Command terminal and try reaccessing the taskbar.

Reset Windows 11

If the previous solutions fail, resetting your Windows 11 device is necessary. Although it is an option, we advise you to keep it as a last resort as it is the most time-consuming and drastic measure.

1. Open the Windows 11 Settings menu and navigate to System

2. Click on Recovery and then select Recovery Options.

3. Choose Reset this PC and click Reset PC.

windows 11 reset this pc

4. You must choose between Keep your files or Remove everything. It is essential to remember to create a backup of all your Windows data, even if you select the first option.

reset pc choose options

5. When reinstalling Windows, there are two options: Cloud download and Local reinstall. It is recommended to choose the Cloud download option, as a local reinstall may reproduce the same search issue, especially if you upgraded from Windows 10.

cloud download

6. Follow on-screen instructions to reinstall Windows 11.

1. Click on the Search icon on the Taskbar in Windows 11.

2. Type indexing in the search bar and select Indexing Options from the search results.

indexing options

3. View the number of indexed files in the upper part of the new window.

4. Click the Modify option at the bottom of the window to modify the indexed files.

modify indexing options

5. Browse through the indexed folders and uncheck other users to ensure that the search only looks at the files of the local user.

6. Add or remove folders as needed.

When you add a folder to the indexing list, Windows 11 automatically searches for files in all its subfolders unless you uncheck them.

Why Can’t I Type in the Search Bar on My Computer?

Various factors and processes can cause the inability to type on a computer. Some of these include:

  • Ctfmon.exe not running – This file controls both the Office Language bar and Alternative User Input and is located in the system32 folder of your computer.
  • Corrupted or not started MaCtfMonitor – This monitors the Text Service Framework system service, which handles text input. If you cannot type in the search field, it may be because the MsCtfMonitor scheduled job has not started or has become corrupted.
  • Unresponsive Cortana – Although Cortana is designed to help save time and focus on important tasks, it may cause issues when it stops working, preventing you from typing.
  • Built-in applications – Sometimes, the system’s built-in applications may experience problems or become corrupt. In such cases, uninstalling the application often resolves the issue.

Why Does My Windows Search Bar Fail to Work Even After Troubleshooting?

Even after attempting various solutions, there can be several reasons why the Windows search bar continues to malfunction. If your PC runs an unauthorized Windows ISO, conflicts with your device may cause the search bar to stop functioning.

Similarly, these issues are common if your PC is incompatible with Windows 11. You can follow our guide on the latest Windows 11 installations or reset your PC using the abovementioned methods. It’s always better to go for a fresh installation on your Windows PC to prevent these errors from recurring.

Resolve Your Windows 11 Search Bar Issues With Our Comprehensive Guide

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing issues with the Windows 11 search bar, our comprehensive guide provides effective solutions to get it working again. Follow these steps to troubleshoot and resolve any search-related problems effortlessly.

Andrew Holdeman
Meet the author

Andrew has extensive experience with a wide range of writing platforms and automation systems. He has spent over 6 years creating content and troubleshooting for various companies. He also enjoys spending time with his family and his fiancé, while staying active and healthy.