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. Harvey said on October 13, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    Both this article and reader comments have tech mistakes
    The End of DNS-based Site Blocking is near

    ECH and DNS are apples and oranges. This article says ” DNS-over-HTTPS plays an important part, but it still leaked the domain name.” This is not true.

    Encrypted DNS has been around for a while now and it does protect the server name to IP translation. If you use the returned IP address to make a direct connection then no one sniffing traffic would know the server name.

    However, when a computer connects via HTTPS to an IP address, there are often many websites hosted on a single IP address. So, the computer must pass along the name of the specific website it wants to talk to. This, second phase of making a connection is where ECH comes in. It has nothing to do with DNS at all. It is an HTTPS/TLS thing.

    As to an earlier reader comment: “The problem I have with DoH is that it forces dns lookups to happened outside my VPN.” This is not true. When working correctly, a VPN tunnel has everything going thru it.

    Which brings up a glaring omission in this article: if you really want privacy use a VPN. This makes both DoH and ECH irrelevant. Except on iOS where Apple allows VPNs to leak. ECH is much ado about nothing as the solution to use a VPN has been with use for decades.

  2. Anonymous said on October 8, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    comments from august 2012 under article “The End of DNS-based Site Blocking is near”
    from 7.10.2023? pls fix that broken commentsystem (wheres your chatGPT nau?)

  3. Benjamin said on October 8, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    What about packet inspection? Other deep packet inspections?

  4. Anonymous said on October 8, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    I think this article is incorrect.

    the ECH encrypted client hello) actually needs a dns server to support it.

    and where is works it stops deep packet inspection method of blocking (like used in china and iran)

    it first gets a mini tls (hello packet) connection to a CDN that is not blocked (like cloudflare) and then afterwards uses that encrypted channel to create a encrypted channel to the actual destination (a website hosted on that CDN)

    so from firewall level (dns or DPI( deep packet inspection)) they don’t see you connecting to that website. they see you connecting to cloudflare CDN and only see ip after that.

  5. Tachy said on October 7, 2023 at 7:39 pm

    In response to “”…

    I got Edge (Version 117.0.2045.60 (Official build) (64-bit)) to pass the tests for ECH. (

    I have installed the group policies for Edge and used it to block a bunch of bloatware so the “DNS over HTTPS” setting is greyed out and says “This browser is managed”. Apparently using any Edge policy causes this.

    I found this policy “User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge > Control the mode of DNS-over-HTTPS”.

    Enabling it forces DNS over HTTPS on in Edge but I am unable to change the provider. I do have and set in my adapter settings though and a visits to and cloudflare show that I am using cloudflare for dns requests.

    Note: The policy is set to allow insecure fallback, if set to do not allow insecure fallback, some sites will not load so even though everything looks like it is secure, it may not actually be so.

    I also found “User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge > TLS Encrypted ClientHello Enabled” – Enabling this policy DID NOT turn it on in edge.

    I added the command line switch “–enable-features=EncryptedClientHello” to the edge shortcut and it appears to be working.

    I’ve been testing my results using “” and “”. The latter now shows Edge is using cloudflare for DNS and is passing in all 4 areas.

  6. Tachy said on October 7, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    In response to “”…

    The problem I have with DoH is that it forces dns lookups to happened outside my VPN.

  7. Cor Invictus said on October 7, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    None of the browsers pass the test for ECH.

    1. ECJ said on October 7, 2023 at 4:21 pm

      Brave displays as using Secure SNI (ECH) on the Cloudflare test site. You will likely need to set the below flag to Enabled to use ECH.


    2. Herman Cost said on October 7, 2023 at 3:18 pm

      I am using Firefox 118.0.1 and it passed the test.

    3. Jenkins said on October 7, 2023 at 1:30 pm

      My browsers Brave, Chromium and Firefox pass the test on Windows and Linux. Must be a misconfiguraton on your part.

  8. One former user said on October 7, 2023 at 8:13 am

    I have decided to stop writing comments here because I don’t know where they will be placed. It’s impossible to see what happens after posting, because no follow-up line is made, it’s certainly difficult to continue an open discussion on any question here. I’m sorry, but I can’t understand any more of this nonsense.

    1. VioletMoon said on October 7, 2023 at 9:14 pm

      @ One former user–Do you honestly think anyone cares [on the backend]? I’m sure they won’t miss you–may actually be glad you’re gone.Softonic doesn’t have “feeling,” sorry.

  9. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

  10. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. John Wold said on October 7, 2023 at 10:06 pm

      The End of DNS-based Site Blocking is over, from October 7, 2023

    2. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  14. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  15. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  16. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  17. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  18. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  19. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  20. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  21. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

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

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

    1. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

    2. 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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