Microsoft's Windows 10 Search lock already bypassed

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 30, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Search, Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft announced on April 28, 2016 that it implemented a change on Windows 10 that prevents third-party programs from hijacking the operating system's web search functionality.

It took one day to create a solution to revert the change so that web searches on Windows 10 once again open in the default system browser regardless of whether that is Microsoft Edge or another web browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera.

Caveat: The method described below works only for the active session and web results are opened in Microsoft Bing currently egardless of whether it is the default search engine or not.

Note: it is highly recommended to create a system backup before you proceed to make sure you can restore the original functionality should the need arise. I use the free Veeam Endpoint Backup for that but there are plenty of other backup programs out there that you can use as well.


First thing you may want to do is download the Cortana Search Override archive from the Winaero website. It is based on code created by Valentin Gabriel Radu which the author uploaded to Gitlab.

Download the 27 Megabyte archive and extract its contents to a local directory afterwards.

Before you continue, make sure that the browser you want used for web searches is the default system browser.

  1. Tap in Windows-I to open the Windows Settings application.
  2. Switch to System > Default apps, and check the "web browser" listing on the page that opens.
  3. If your browser is listed already close the window again, if not, click on the name of the browser displayed on the page and use the selection menu that is displayed afterwards to pick the browser you want to use.

Open the folder you extracted the files of the archive to after you are done with the preparations.

windows 10 search bypass

  1. Open the x86 or x64 folder based on whether a 32-bit or 64-bit copy of Windows 10 is installed on the device.
  2. Run SearchUIMonitor.exe inside the selected folder. A SmartScreen filter warning may be displayed. Click on "more info" and then on "Run anyway" to run the application.
  3. A window appears for a split-second and is closed automatically afterwards.
  4. If you get an error message stating that a dll is missing, open the vcredist folder and run the 32-bit or 64-bit executable file in there to add the missing dll to your system. If that is the case, go to step 2 and repeat it.
  5. Run EdgeAutomation.exe afterwards. You may get another SmartScreen filter prompt. Click on "more info" and "run anway" to execute the program.
  6. A new window should flash for a second before it is closed automatically as well.

Now it is time to test the implementation. Tap on the Windows-key, type a search term (e.g. test), and select the web search result.

windows 10 web search

What you will notice is that Edge opens shortly but is closed again. The result is then opened in the default system browser using Bing.

Closing Words

The hack needs work before it becomes really useful. While most users may not mind that Microsoft Edge opens for a moment before results are loaded in the default web browser, the fact that Bing is used to display the results will likely make it a deal breaker for users. (via Deskmodder)

Microsoft's Windows 10 Search lock already bypassed
Article Name
Microsoft's Windows 10 Search lock already bypassed
Microsoft's browser and search lock for web searches on the company's Windows 10 operating system has been bypassed a day after the announcement.
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  1. buder said on May 10, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    There are many interesting people here. Thanks for all your input.

    So, just to be sure – this workaround makes it so that the results open up IN YOUR CHOSEN BROWSER, but USING BING, right?

    Like other ppl have said, Bing sucks and the whole point is to have the search done on Google right? I don’t care if the results open up in Edge but as long as it’s Google, I am happy. This workaround DOES NOT do this right?

  2. Techne said on March 7, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    There are two chrome extensions that I know of, Chrometana and Bing2Google, that redirect Bing to Google. This should help with the search engine half of the issue. I hope this fix works, because the biggest annoyance for me is not being able to utilize a neat tool like Cortana in any useful way. My Android phone, my Google Chrome preferences, and my professional/social life are so well tied together, I’d love to throw my PC in that mix. I really don’t see why Microsoft has to be a dick about this.

  3. Matt said on July 20, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Does this work with Chrometana to redirect searches to Google?

  4. David Larsen said on May 5, 2016 at 12:13 am

    As I read it, search results are being conducted in Bing still – so who the f… cares about this work-around?
    Who uses bing anyway? EVERYTIME I tested bing out it never could find what I wanted. I heard they have to pay money to people for using their shitty search engine.

  5. Sergey Tkachenko said on May 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    The application is not based based on “source code available” bla bla.
    The application is compiled by the author, who decided to release his app via my web site.
    I am sure you saw this in my blog, however, I see credits to deskmodders instead, with some wrong info in the article.
    Also, GitLab!=Githab.
    Poor job, Martin.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Actually, I did not read this in your blog but on Deskmodder’s site, hence the source attribution. Typo corrected, thanks.

  6. Anonymous said on May 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Why bother, no really.

    1. David said on May 2, 2016 at 2:15 am

      Why not? No really. Do you just give up and go along with everything you don’t like?

  7. F-male said on April 30, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    And what makes you think that MS (I’m 100% sure they working on it) wont patch this “bypass” in one of the next updates? right!

    It’s pretty much a futile battle when your OS is a proprietary and basically “controlled” by someone else.

    1. T J said on April 30, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      You have all read/heard the story of David and Goliath. That wasn’t a futile battle for David. He won!
      Well, MS is Goliath and there are lots of Davids out there who can write bypass software or discover a work around faster than MS can find a fix.
      The best thing is that these Davids LOVE the challenge of outwitting Goliath especially when the OS is supposed to be “proprietary”, albeit badly written. That’s why we have Patch Tuesdays to fix MS coding cock ups :D

      1. Pants said on May 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

        Bruce Schneier’s last book was called “Data and Goliath” … which kinds sums this up, Windows10/MS is Golaith and you are the Data.

  8. Rick said on April 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Even though the winaero page says 9.0MB, the file you download is 26.6MB… nothing exciting but for accuracy sake.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 30, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks and corrected.

  9. Dresandreal Sprinklehorn said on April 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I just told someone yesterday to be patient that someone would find a way around that. I had no idea it would be this quick though. :)

  10. zeus said on April 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I know “irregardless” sounds like it’s more emphatic but there’s no such word. It’s “regardless” not “irregardless”

    1. The Reader Formerly Known as Zeus said on May 1, 2016 at 4:21 am

      I just want to say, I’ve been posting here for years here as “Zeus,” and felt the need to point out that I’m not *this* zeus. *This* zeus seems more interested in nitpicking than actually contributing to the discussion. I suppose there will be some confusion, but I will continue to post as Zeus, irregardless.

    2. Gary D said on April 30, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      @ zeus

      Pedantry strikes again! Please stay on topic! Your comment is irrelevant!

    3. wombobombo said on April 30, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      It’s a portmanteau of “irrespective” and “regardless.” Don’t be a Nazi.

    4. George P. Burdell said on April 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      The word “irregardless” has been in spoken and written use for over a century. It’s a bit harsh to say there’s no such word, although it is not universally admired.

      English is a very flexible language, full of neologisms. Some, like “podcast”, quickly make it to a respected dictionary. Some words fade away then reappear centuries later. The Oxford English Dictionary records the temporary 600 year disappearance of “balsam”. “Carven” went out of use for 300 years before reappearing.

      Zeus, what do you think of flammable versus inflammable? And is there some connection between Zeus and Suez?

      1. Tom Hawack said on May 1, 2016 at 9:15 am

        I have no idea what French are supposed to be, but we all know what clichés entitle each and everyone of us to be! It’s such an effort that one could wonder if the effort has grounds to develop, to try to define what is specific to a society, to a culture, to a country. I love the English word “melting pot” but in the facts it makes it tough to initiate definitions. Descartes, Voltaire are French and reasonable: in fact French culture is IMO attached to a quest of rationalism which sometimes limits its ability to strive for utopia whereas American culture whatever pragmatic seems to be often more inclined to absurdity in the means when the aim is approved as a dream… Listen, we often say here in France that the Anglo-Saxons are fundamentally liberals eternally searching for money, that money breaks creativity, and meanwhile musical imagination but not only is far more developed in UK than in France. You see why I fear definitions and stereo-types!

        So you’ve butchered, if not The Labors of Hercules at least its translation? A rather Latin attitude, that to butcher Old Greek! I wouldn’t, considering the lack of Latin and Greek studies is a big regret here, together with music. Perhaps one considers his handicaps as related to his history more and more as years pass by? Anyway, what you’ve studied, even if it entered by one ear to exit soon after by the other, always leaves a print in that in-between called brains! So, you’ve been fortunate!

        I think it’s time for me to pause my digression. The beat goes on. Read you later, Valrobex (who thought “alligator”?!)

      2. Valrobex said on April 30, 2016 at 10:57 pm

        @ Tom Hawack

        There’s something wrong with you! Aren’t Frenchmen supposed to be “crazy?” And here you go being rational and articulate. Very confusing to say the least. :>)

        I simply don’t know how to take your comments. They’re so…they’re so… damned Reasonable.

        Wait a minute, I got it figured out! I got a D minus in 7th grade French class (and believe me when I say that grade was a gift.) And since French is your native language it explains why I get so confused.

        (And furthermore, since I needed 4 years of a language, I enrolled in Latin class in 9th grade and picked up the moniker of “Herc,” short for Hercules, ‘cause I was the only one who could butcher the translation of the Labors of Hercules…)

        All kidding aside, it’s enjoyable to read your comments. They’re many times informative, sometimes thought provoking and always pleasant. I look forward to them.

      3. Tom Hawack said on April 30, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        This is the second comment of yours I read (first was html within e-mails) and it is again most interesting because you develop an argument. English is not my mother-tongue and I’d appreciate to read French users defending and the language and their ideas as you do in English. I always believed that life is an everlasting trans-disciplinary continuum and therefor extensions of thoughts should be welcomed or at least tolerated on all blogs and forums (they are here on GHacks when I often “digress” and receive no slap in return! ) as I often notice purist attitudes who always remind an “extra-thought” to return to the topic, the topic again and again when there are no more valuable places for ideas than those allowing them to elaborate, even on other grounds. This said, your comment is not at all off-topic but so interesting that starting an exchange could lead to many many more universes…

        Have a nice week-end, George.

        Looks like I’ve been off-topic : sorry Martin, and a pleasant Saturday Night, fever or placid, to you as well, an outrageous brunch tomorrow morning (Labor Day!) and many more of your most valuable and pertinent articles : yes!

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