How to enable the search widget in Windows 11 Insider Preview Builds for testing

May 20, 2022
Updated • May 23, 2022
Windows 11 Help

Microsoft introduced a search bar on the desktop in Build 25120 that was released yesterday to the Dev Channel in the Insider Preview Program. The feature is being tested on a limited basis, so not everyone has access to it. But, if you can't want to try it, we show you how to enable the search widget in Windows 11 right now.

search widget in Windows 11 build 25120

How to enable the search widget in Windows 11

1. Download the ViveTool application from its GitHub page.

2. Extract the ZIP file's contents to any folder.

3. Open a Terminal window as an administrator.

4. Copy and paste the following code in the window.

.\vivetool addconfig 37969115 2

The command window should display a message that says "Successfully set feature configuration".

How to enable the search widget in Windows 11 25120

Credit: WithinRafael

Accessing the search bar

Close the command window, and go to your desktop screen. The search bar won't be visible on it, even though you just enabled it. You can access it without rebooting the computer.

1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop, and select Show More Options.

enabling the search bar in windows 11

2. This menu has a "Show Search" option, it will have a checkmark next to it.

enable search widget in windows 11

3. Toggle the option to disable it.

Repeat the above steps, and you should see the search widget on the desktop. Give it a try.

Don't like it? Use the following command to remove the search bar.

.\vivetool delconfig 37969115 2

You will need to restart Explorer.exe from the Task Manager, or restart the computer to apply the changes.

A few observations about the search widget in Windows 11

When you type your query in it, the search bar will display some results in a pane, aka search suggestions. Click on it, or hit the Enter key and Windows 11 will open the results via Bing, in Microsoft Edge. Entering a URL such as will directly open the website in Edge.

windows 11 search widget results

There are no options to configure the widget's behavior. The biggest issue here is that all results from the widget are opened in Microsoft Edge, even if you have set a different program as your default web browser. There aren't any keyboard shortcuts to access the tool. The search widget's right-click menu has some basic options to edit the text.

windows 11 search bar on desktop

Having tried it out, I think the widget is sort of pointless, as you can do the same things (paste a URL, or perform web searches) directly from the Start Menu. The new search widget in Windows 11 is quite obtrusive, since it is not opaque it hides part of the wallpaper. It stays on the desktop permanently with no option to hide it, and you cannot move the widget or resize it either. The widget is still in an early phase, so hopefully we can expect some improvements to it in the future.

microsoft powertoys power run

If you really need a similar search tool/launcher app, try Microsoft PowerToys. It has a utility called PowerToys Run, which has more options than the new widget, as it can be used to search files on your computer, open applications, etc. The app is similar to the Spotlight tool in macOS. PowerToys Run tool hides automatically when not in use, and you can trigger it using Alt + Space. It also respects your default browser setting to handle web searches.

The Everything desktop search engine is an excellent alternative as well, and you can use the Everything Toolbar to access it quickly from the Taskbar.

Have you tried the new search widget in Windows 11?

How to enable the search widget in Windows 11 Insider Preview Builds for testing
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How to enable the search widget in Windows 11 Insider Preview Builds for testing
Eager to try the new search widget in Windows 11? We show you how to do that.
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  1. GDI said on May 22, 2022 at 11:29 am

    ?an you please provide vivetool download link? I cannot find one that I can download.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 23, 2022 at 6:32 am

      We have added the link. Here it is:

  2. Paul(us) said on May 20, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    Absolutely useless when there are no diffraction possibilities for opening any inquiry.

    And also illegal according to the European Union law.
    There has to be according to European law not only a possibility to change the browser of choice but also the search engine.

    Maybe the European Union has to start with even larger fines for IT multinationals (and smaller IT companies.)
    Not 100 million and more anymore but 100 billion and more. This is because there have been lots of fines every year with 100 of million and more, but the IT multinationals are laughing about such fines when it’s compared to their reveunues.

    1. Anonymous said on May 20, 2022 at 5:14 pm

      Welcome to Windows Bing 11. I’m hoping Microsoft is slapped with a huge antitrust fine for this. It doesn’t respect your default browser and it forces you to use Bing. They got this kind of trickery all over the operating system. Its time something was done about it. Worst of all, it wasn’t a feature anyone asked for. How do they keep coming up with these dumb features?

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