Windows 11: how to enable instant search results in File Explorer

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 27, 2022
Updated • Oct 27, 2022
Windows 11 Help

File Explorer's search functionality has not changed all that much in the past decade. Users type a search term in the interface and wait then until results are populated.

vivetool instant search explorer windows 11

Microsoft has been testing an instant search results feature in File Explorer for some time. Instead of waiting for the user input to end, File Explorer is returning results as the user types.

The update KB5018496, which Microsoft released in October 2022, introduced the functionality. Microsoft likes slow rollouts of new features, and most users won't have the functionality enabled on their Windows 11 devices by now.

There is a way to unlock the instant search feature of File Explorer right away though. If you are interested in getting it right now, you may do the following to unlock it on your devices.

Note that Windows 11 version 22H2 with the October 2022 cumulative update is required. The build number needs to be 22621.754 or higher. You may check the build number by opening start, typing winver and loading the result.

Enable instant search results in File Explorer

  1. Download the latest versino of ViVeTool from the GitHub repository. It is an open source tool that enables you to unlock features in Windows 11 that Microsoft rolls out over time.
  2. Extract the ViVeTool archive on the device.
  3. Open Start, type CMD, and select Run as Administrator to launch an elevated command prompt window. You may also use PowerShell for that if you prefer it, or load Windows Terminal with elevated privileges from the Windows-X menu.
  4. Change the directory to the ViVeTool directory, e.g., type cd C:\Users\Martin\Downloads\ViVeTool-v0.3.2. Replace the username Martin with your username.
  5. Run the following two commands:
    1. vivetool /enable /id:39281392
    2. vivetool /enable /id:38665217
  6. Restart the Windows 11 PC.

File Explorer returns search results as you type after the restart. Just start to type, and you will notice that the results are returned while you type. Note that there is no option currently to disable the functionality in the Settings.

You may use ViVeTool to disable the functionality again. Just use the /disable parameter when you run the commands. The first command would look like this in that case: vivetool /disable/id:39281392

Closing Words

Instant search may speed up some searches in File Explorer, but it may also cause more load on the system temporarily. Some users may find it confusing, also, as unrelated results may be displayed at times.

Now You: which do you prefer? Instant search results or classic search results?  (via Deskmodder)

How to enable File Explorer instant search results in Windows 11
Article Name
How to enable File Explorer instant search results in Windows 11
Find out how to enable instant File Explorer search results on Windows 11 version 22H2 devices for faster searches.
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  1. robert said on November 3, 2022 at 8:57 am

    sorry but this thing not working! after this command: vivetool /enable /id:39281392 i have this error message: vivetool : The term ‘vivetool’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program.
    Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
    At line:1 char:1
    + vivetool /enable /id:39281392
    + ~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (vivetool:String) [], CommandNotFoundException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : CommandNotFoundException

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 3, 2022 at 10:35 am

      Did you change the directory to the ViVeTool folder?

  2. Anonymous said on October 27, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    Everything FTW!

  3. Croatoan said on October 27, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    I use program Everything. Fast and easy to use.

  4. Bindler Chang said on October 27, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Everything, by voidtools, cater to all my searching needs. In windows I always turn off indexing and deactivate the windows search service. Always. Because windows search is complete garbage, even in 2022.

    1. ECJ said on October 27, 2022 at 6:27 pm

      Sure if you’re just searching for filenames.

      However, that’s no good for those of us who do more advanced searches. I use Windows File Explorer search all the time to find specific files and have never experienced any issues with it, or the indexing. It’s pretty great for finding specific types of files with certain properties. For example:

      kind:NOT(=folders) ext:(=.tif OR =.tiff) datetaken:(>2006-06-22) bitdepth:(=24 OR =32) compression:NOT(=lzw)

      kind:NOT(=folders) ext:(=.tif OR =.tiff OR =.jpg) datetaken:(>2006-06-22) horizontalresolution:NOT(=240 OR =300)

      1. Anonymous said on October 28, 2022 at 5:53 pm

        Use whatever suits you best of course, but just FYI, Everything can do all of this and much more:

        It’s a very robust files and folders search tool.

  5. John G. said on October 27, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    The new tabbed explorer of W11 is really awful, nothing works. There are duplicated pinned folders, the control panel icon closes the explorer if clicked and if there is any pinned folder at fast access, explorer freezes and then hangs itself if a smartphone is plugged with USB. My mother is confused about these useless changes. Thanks for the article.

  6. Win7MasterRace said on October 27, 2022 at 10:18 am

    Windows 7 did it, right?

    1. Microsofted said on October 27, 2022 at 7:48 pm

      Microsoft is once more catching up to the features of Windows 7. When “online content suggestions” were added to file explore back in 2019, a group of moronic members of the Windows team removed instant search from Windows 10.

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