Add Search the Internet to the Windows Start Menu

Melanie Gross
Aug 4, 2012
Updated • Aug 4, 2012
Search, Tutorials, Windows, Windows tips

One of the things that I like about the search in Windows 8 is the option to load websites automatically from the interface. Just search for a site url, do not forget www. or http:// in front, and tap on enter afterwards to open the website in the default system browser. You can't do the same when you are running a previous version of Windows. Even Windows 7 does not offer you the option to load websites or search on the Internet for a search term that you enter into the search form.

The experts among you may already know that there is an option to add Internet search options to the start menu of previous versions of Windows. You can activate the feature in the Windows Registry, and the following guide explains how you can do that.

search the internet

Use Windows-r to open the run box on the screen. Type regedit into the form and hit the enter key afterwards to load the Windows Registry editor. You may see an UAC prompt when you do that, and it is necessary to accept it to continue. Navigate to the following key in the Registry:


The Explorer key may not be present on your system. If that is the case, right-click the Windows key and select New > Key from the context menu. Name it Explorer and save it. Right-click on Explorer afterwards and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value from the context menu. Name the Dword AddSearchInternetLinkInStartMenu. Double-click the new entry and change its value to 1.

You need to restart the system, log off and on again, or kill the explorer.exe process in the Task Manager or another process manager before the new feature becomes available. When you know enter a search term in the start menu you will see the search the Internet option right above it on the screen. When you select it, the search results listing will be opened in the default browser.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

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