Bring back Windows 8 Search in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 16, 2016

If you want to search on a device running Windows 10 you tap on the Windows-key to bring up the start menu to start typing the search term.

You may use the search shortcut Windows-Q instead directly to open a search form powered by Cortana to find items you are interested in on the system.

If you have switched to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1, you may remember that the search panel opened as a sidebar item when you invoked it with Windows-Q.

If you like that interface better, then you may find it interesting that there is a way to get it back on Windows 10 devices as it is still available (at least for now).

Windows 8 Search on Windows 10

It is rather easy to get the sidebar search back. Here is what you need to do:

  • Right-click on the desktop or another location in File Explorer, and select New > Shortcut.
  • When asked to enter the path, type (or copy/paste) %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe -sta {C90FB8CA-3295-4462-A721-2935E83694BA}
  • Add a descriptive name for the new shortcut and hit the finish button afterwards to create it.

The sidebar search opens when you double-click on the shortcut. You can then enter search terms and select items using the keyboard, mouse or touch.

While that alone may be useful, you may want to add a hotkey to the new search shortcut to improve the process further.

All you would have to do then would be to use the hotkey to display the search sidebar which may be more comfortable than double-clicking on the shortcut itself.

To do that, right-click on the shortcut that you have created and select properties from the context menu.

Locate the "shortcut key" field when the window opens, click inside of it, and tap on the keys that you want to use as the hotkey for the search.

search hotkey

Once done hit ok and you are all set. You can use the selected hotkey from that moment on to display the search sidebar and start searching right away without using the mouse. Search results include files, apps, programs, settings and even web links. Search results appear to be different though.

You may add a new icon while the properties dialog is open as well, or pin the shortcut to the taskbar of the operating system to open it quickly using the mouse.

It is likely that Microsoft will remove the option from Windows 10 at a point in the future as it has done so with other Windows 8.x related features already. (via Deskmodder)

Bring back Windows 8 Search in Windows 10
Article Name
Bring back Windows 8 Search in Windows 10
Find out how to bring back the search sidebar of Windows 8.1 on devices running Microsoft's new operating system Windows 10.
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  1. Karol said on April 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Win+S on Win10 search everywhere on Windows 10 and finds each document whereas the ‘trick’ isn’t finding half of the documents I tested it unless specified with at least 5 letters to find the exact match…

    I find anything just with 2 letters using Win+S so not sure they use same indexing engine and seems the trick here is a deprecated option…

  2. Anonymous said on April 16, 2016 at 6:17 am

    If that strings really open the search pane in the “everywhere” mode, the original shortcut key for it was WIN + S, not Q, which search only for programs.

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