Rejoice! Microsoft brings Search Highlights to Windows 11

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 25, 2022
Windows 11 Help

If you always wanted to know when the next National Prime Rib Day or Earth Day is, then you may be looking forward to the introduction of Search Highlights on Windows 11. Everyone else may be looking for a way to disable Search Highlights instead.

windows search highlights windows 10

Microsoft introduced Search Highlights in Insider Builds of Windows 11 and ported the feature to Stable versions of Windows 10 next. In the coming weeks and months, Search Highlights will roll out to all Windows 11 devices.

Most Windows users come into contact with Search Highlights by accident. They notice a new icon on the taskbar, depicting the special event that Microsoft picked for the day. National Prime Rib Day, one of your favorites, is depicted with meat and knife icons, earth day, with an icon of earth surrounded by pink hearts.

Search Highlights is actually a dual feature. For home systems, it offers "a look at interesting moments in time and a convenient way to discover content". For work devices, it may help users "discover and search for content across Microsoft 365". While the latter may indeed be useful, most Windows users would probably agree that the home variant of Search Highlights is not useful.

Microsoft notes that Search Highlights will roll out over the coming months on Windows 11 devices.

Windows 11 users may turn off the feature, similarly to how Windows 10 users may disable it. Yo may check out our guide on disabling Search Highlights on Windows 10 here.

Turn off Search Highlights on Windows 11

windows 11 disable search highlights

  1. Open the Start Menu and select Settings, or use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security.
  3. Select Search permissions on the page that opens.
  4. Toggle "Show search highlights" on the Search permissions page to turn the feature off.

You may undo the change at any time by changing the state of the preference to On again.

Windows 11 won't change icons on the taskbar of the operating system anymore once you make the change. The search interface does not display information related to Search Highlights anymore when you open it either.

Use the Group Policy Editor to turn off Search Highlights

group policy allow search highlights

Note: the Group Policy Editor is only available in professional versions of Windows 11. In other words: it is not available in Windows 11 Home. Check the Registry option below if you use a device with a Home edition.

  1. Use Windows-R to open the runbox.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and hit the Enter-key to launch the Group Policy Editor.
  3. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
  4. Locate and double-click on "Allow Search Highlights".
  5. Change the state of the policy to "Disabled" and select Apply to save the change.

You may undo the change at any time by switching the state of the policy to "not configured" or "enabled".

Use the Windows Registry to turn off Search Highlights on Windows 11

windows 11 registry turn off search highlights

The Registry edit option is available for all editions of Windows 11.

  1. Use Windows-R to open the runbox.
  2. Type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key to launch the Registry Editor.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt by selecting "Yes".
  4. Use the address bar at the top to load the following Registry path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
    1. Note: if part of the path is not available, right-click on the previous folder and select New > Key. Name the key accordingly to create the full path.
  5. Check if EnableDynamicContentInWSB is available under Windows Search.
    1. If it is, double-click on the preference and set its Value to 0 to turn off Search Highlights.
    2. It it does not exist. right-click on Windows Search and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
      1. Name it EnableDynamicContentInWSB.
      2. It should have a value of 0 by default, but if that is not the case, double-click on it and set its value to 0.
  6. Restart the Pc.

Now You: will you keep Search Highlights turned on, or will you disable it?

Rejoice! Microsoft brings Search Highlights to Windows 11
Article Name
Rejoice! Microsoft brings Search Highlights to Windows 11
Find out how to turn off Search Highlights (those new icons on the taskbar) on Windows 11 devices using several methods.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 2:38 pm

    There is not still W11 23H2 and these instructions are nonsense by now. :[

    1. James said on August 21, 2023 at 8:48 pm

      It worked for me just fine. You’re probably not following the instructions clearly.

      1. Katrina Thompson said on August 30, 2023 at 3:25 am

        Just tried the password option and the OOBE option and didnt work.

    2. Anonymous said on September 7, 2023 at 10:33 am

      Worked perfectly. Thank OP.

    3. Anonymous said on September 15, 2023 at 11:26 am

      Worked perfectly for me just now. Specifically, the regedit option.

  2. 45 RPM said on August 22, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Is this cut and paste from a Microsoft PR paper, because it 1000% BS:

    “By listening to user insights, Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to refining the Windows experience based on real-world needs.”

    Windows 11 is proof they don’t give a s*it.

    1. elong45 said on August 23, 2023 at 12:25 am

      Worked for me just now

    2. Robert N said on August 28, 2023 at 10:55 pm

      I agree! Windows 11 was a downgrade to me and I kept all 8 computers in our family on Windows 10 as a result. They didn’t listen to any customers. The taskbar was THE main reason I stayed away from Windows 11. With 6 monitors, it is impossible to navigate so many browser tabs, without the feature. I will try the new version in the virtual box to see if it is worth it yet.

  3. Anonymous said on August 23, 2023 at 11:33 pm

    Microsoft did a terrible job with this implementation.

    They simply need to employ the creator of StartAllBack to fix Windows. He is smarter and more talented than the entire campus of Microsoft employees.

    1. Anonymous said on September 4, 2023 at 11:36 pm


  4. Joe Mama said on August 24, 2023 at 12:10 am

    Thank you so much! I work in IT and this is extremely useful information!

  5. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks man. The second method worked great!

  6. Anonymous said on August 28, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    I used the second method, and i got exactly what i expected.

  7. adrian said on September 1, 2023 at 12:52 am

    Using the Bypass 2: Use a banned email address email worked fantastically as I had gone to far to use the bypass 1.
    I will be back when I next have a problem.
    Keep you the great work

  8. John G. said on September 4, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    W11 File Explorer is the worst crap ever done. W11 is the biggest shame ever.

  9. MarineRecon said on September 4, 2023 at 9:14 pm

    Just one more reason for me to go to Linux when Windows 10 ages out.

    1. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:46 am

      @ MarineRecon,

      Be careful which Linux distro you choose. Some of them don’t include the Wayland protocol which is a security issue i.e. apps can copy, paste and inject data without user interaction.

      It’s included in Fedora:

  10. Dustyn said on September 4, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    How about a DARK MODE for your website? That would be oh so nice.

    1. Tom Hawack said on September 5, 2023 at 12:55 am

      Something like this : [] maybe?
      Done with ‘Dark Reader Extension for ? Firefox’ []

      This comment was written on [}

    2. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:49 am

      Definitely NOT! Once you get older and your eyesight starts to fail you’ll positively loathe dark mode.

      1. Mycroft1325 said on September 25, 2023 at 11:48 pm

        Not sure what eye problems *you’re* having, but for me the exact opposite is true. Dark Mode is MUCH easier on my Eyes.

        BTW- I’m 52, and have worked in IT all my life. Been staring at monitors for hours each day, most days of the week since the late 1980’s.

  11. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 2:05 am

    Microsoft completely ruined File Explorer by converting to XAML/WinUI/whatever new bloated modern garbage. Its worse than it ever was.

  12. Invoker said on September 5, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    i tested it on win10 current edition. speeds up explorer like a charm

  13. LOEL LARZELERE said on September 13, 2023 at 8:07 am

    SO what is the priority numbers to give preference to ethernet over wireless?

  14. christop_bader said on September 14, 2023 at 1:50 am

    Worked very well happy to have Windows Photo Viewer back in action in Windows-11

  15. Anonymous said on September 16, 2023 at 4:29 am

    Worked for me (registry option) thank god, I can use the search option to find things on my computer again. Thank you so much!

    1. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:54 am

      Install Everything Search and dispense with Microsoft’s crappy search tool.

      Martin wrote an article on it:

  16. said on September 17, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    I presume the text “WindowsCopilot,,” is a typographical error (2023/09/17/how-to-disable-windows-copilot-in-windows/). The broken comment system unfortunately looks like it is populating itself via AI autopilot.

  17. Anonymous said on September 17, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Hopefully, this Windows Copilot nonsense fails even more spectacularly than Cortana. Who requested this? We want all of the UX features removed back in 11, not this copilot nonsense.

  18. Anonymous said on September 17, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    I really don’t mind all of these Windows enhancement but Microsoft get one thing very wrong. ‘Opt in’, is far better than seek information and work to disable.

  19. ilev said on September 18, 2023 at 7:13 am

    Turn off Windows Copilot entirely is not good enough.

    How to uninstall Copilot entirely ?

    1. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:57 am

      @ ilev,

      Use Gpedit or the registry. Explained in this article:

  20. WilliamGatesTheight said on September 21, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    With that snake oil salesman Panos gone, hopefully Windows can return to a normal desktop operating system without all the insanity it has right now in Windows 11.

  21. Tachy said on September 21, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Can we please stop being ‘politically correct’ (lying) and call them ads again instead of ‘suggestions’?

  22. TelV said on September 25, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    @ Martin,

    Does your gpedit hack also turn off all the other “subscribed content” shown in the registry screenshot? Do you happen to know what all those are?

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