I have experienced a strange issue on a system running Windows 10 Pro in the past couple of days. Windows Search would suddenly stop working and return no result at all. As soon as I started typing a search term it would display the "searching" animation but no matter how long I waited, it would not stop and results would not be displayed anymore.
My first thought was that this had something to do with privacy tweaks that I applied but since search was working fine sometimes, it looked to be another issue.
A restart fixed the issue usually but the solution is not really practicable, especially since the search bug could reappear at any time after the reboot of the PC.
It took me a while to figure this out. While I cannot say why search in Windows 10 is not working at times, I have found a fix for the issue that worked 100% on the affected system so far. Interestingly enough, search works just fine on a second PC with Windows 10.
Search is powered by Cortana in Windows 10. Even if you disable Cortana's functionality, which I have done as I don't find the feature particularly useful, you will notice that Cortana remains running in the Task Manager.
All you need to do to fix the search in Windows 10 is to kill the Cortana process on the computer. It gets restarted right away when you do and when you run a search afterwards, you will notice that results are displayed again.
Note: This works only if you have not deleted the Cortana application on the system.
Do the following to kill the Cortana process in Windows 10:
The Cortana process is reloaded right away by the operating system.
If that does not work for you, run the built-in search troubleshooter to find out more about it. To run it, do the following:
If the search troubleshooter does not work either, you may want to consider the following methods that may fix search for you after all:
While Search is intermingled with Cortana on Windows 10, it is powered by a service called Windows Search.
So, one thing you may want to check is whether the service is up and running. And, you may as well disable and enable it again just to make sure that this works fine and does not throw any errors.
If Cortana is the culprit, and terminating Cortana does not help, then you may need to register Cortana again. This can be the case if corruption occurred for instance.
Note: This registers all default Windows Apps again, not only Cortana. I suggest you create a backup of the system partition before you run the command.
Here is what you need to do to register Cortana again:
If search is not working correctly no matter what you do, you can switch to a third-party search program instead to run all your searches.
One option is provided by Classic Shell for instance. The program may replace the Windows 10 Start Menu with a classic copy that resembles the Windows 7 start menu, and provides you with a search alternative as well.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.