How to disable web search in Windows 10's start menu
The search in Windows 10 returns local files, programs and settings but also web results by default. While that may be useful to some users of the operating system, it is irritating or useless for others.
Since most web results are generic search suggestions, it is just a faster way of running searches instead of getting results directly displayed in the interface.
If you search for gpedit.msc for instance using the search in Windows 10, you will notice that the right result is displayed at the top.
Below that are web results however which make up the bulk of the results listing. While some results may be useful at times, others appear outdated, e.g. gpedit.msc vista, and of little use because of that.
Update: Check out Microsoft broke "disable web search" in Windows 10 version 1803
Disable Web Search in Windows 10
I will never use the search for a couple of reasons. First, I don't need it there as I want local files and settings to be returned exclusively when I run a search on Windows 10.
Second, the suggestions are too generic most of the time and third, since a browser is open all the time on my system, I can run a search using it as well without having to add another step to the process.
Thankfully, Microsoft has added options to disable web search in Windows 10 so that only local results are returned.
The problem with this right now is however that it won't work for everybody. While Microsoft has added policies to block web searches in Windows 10, they don't seem to work in recent builds, at least not for everybody.
However, it is more than likely that this will get sorted out before release.
Disable Web Search using Group Policy
- To open the Group Policy Editor, tap on the Windows-key, type gpedit.msc and hit enter. Note that the editor is (likely) only included in Pro and Enterprise versions and not in Windows 10 Home. If you run home, check out the other methods listed below instead.
- Browse to the following path using the left sidebar: Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
- Locate "Do not allow web search" and double-click it. Switch the preference to enabled.
- Locate "Don't search the web or display web results in Search and double-click it. Switch the preference to enabled.
- Locate "Don't search the web or display web results in Search over metered connections" and double-click it. Switch the preference to enabled.
This method worked in earlier builds of Windows 10 and it is very likely that it will work in newer builds as well.
Disable online search in the Registry
The following method is useful to Windows 10 Home users who don't have access to the Group Policy Editor.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit enter.
- Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
- If the key does not exist, right-click on Windows and select New > Key, and name it Windows Search.
- If the preference ConnectedSearchUseWeb exists, double-click on it and set it to 0 to turn web search in Windows 10 off.
- If it does not exist, right-click on Windows Search and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value, name it ConnectedSearchUseWeb, and set its value to 0.
Update: Microsoft removed the option to disable web searches in the Settings UI. The following method does not work anymore.
Probably the easiest option of the four methods to disable web search in Windows 10.
- Run a search by tapping on the Windows-key and starting to type. Don't hit enter though.
- Locate the settings icon on the left of the search interface and click on it.
- Scroll down until you find "Search online and include web results" listed there as an option.
- Flip the switch from on to off.
- Some users have stated that this option becomes only available if Cortana is set to off.
Disable Web Search using the Firewall
What you may do instead for now is block access to Search using the Windows Firewall. If you open the firewall configuration, you will notice that a Search rule is set there already which you just need to disable.
Note: Search is listed as an option in stable builds, but most recent Insider Builds don't seem to have that entry anymore. You may need to block "cortana" instead, but that may affect the functionality of the digital assistant as well.
- Tap on the Windows-key, type Windows Firewall select the "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security" (in newer versions of Windows 10 "Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security") result, and hit enter.
- Select "Outbound Rules" on the left.
- Click on the "name header" of the outbound rules listing to sort the listing alphabetically.
- Scroll down until you find "search" listed there and double-click on the entry.
- Switch the action from "allow the connection" to "block the connection".
When you run searches now, web results are not displayed anymore in the search results. Please note that a "can't connect to Search, make sure you've got Internet" is displayed in the start menu if you block Search from making outbound connections.Advertisement