How to disable web search in Windows 10's start menu

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 23, 2015
Updated • May 13, 2020
Windows, Windows 10

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 While some results may be useful at times, others appear outdated, e.g. gpedit.msc vista, and of little use because of that.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

windows 10 web search

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

disable web search

  1. 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.
  2. Browse to the following path using the left sidebar: Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
  3. Locate "Do not allow web search" and double-click it. Switch the preference to enabled.
  4. Locate "Don't search the web or display web results in Search and double-click it. Switch the preference to enabled.
  5. 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.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit enter.
  2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
  3. If the key does not exist, right-click on Windows and select New > Key, and name it Windows Search.
  4. If the preference ConnectedSearchUseWeb exists, double-click on it and set it to 0 to turn web search in Windows 10 off.
  5. 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.

Search preferences

disable online search

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.

  1. Run a search by tapping on the Windows-key and starting to type. Don't hit enter though.
  2. Locate the settings icon on the left of the search interface and click on it.
  3. Scroll down until you find "Search online and include web results" listed there as an option.
  4. Flip the switch from on to off.
  5. Some users have stated that this option becomes only available if Cortana is set to off.

Disable Web Search using the Firewall

windows 10 search 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Select "Outbound Rules" on the left.
  3. Click on the "name header" of the outbound rules listing to sort the listing alphabetically.
  4. Scroll down until you find "search" listed there and double-click on the entry.
  5. 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.

How to disable web search in Windows 10's start menu
Article Name
How to disable web search in Windows 10's start menu
Find out how to disable web search in the Windows 10 operating system completely using four distinct methods.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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