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Windows Search is down, but don’t panic. Here’s how to fix it

If you’re seeing a blank box when searching for a file or running a web search in Windows 10, don’t panic — you’re not alone. According to multiple reports on Reddit and from across the internet, Windows Search is down for many users around the globe, but you can partially fix it with a technical workaround.

This issue appears to be linked to a problem with the Windows Search integration with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, as noted by Windows Central. Microsoft hasn’t officially acknowledged this yet, but mentioned other latency concerns with Microsoft 365 services and confirmed it is investigating.

Not every Windows 10 user is experiencing the problem, but as a partial fix and workaround, those experiencing troubles can disable the Bing integration in Windows 10 while waiting for an official Microsoft fix. Digital Trends was able to verify this process and use it to restore local non-web searches with the search box in Windows 10.

This process involves tweaking with the registry editor, so backing up the registry and your PC with a system restore point might be a good idea before making any changes. It also will remove the web search integrations from your PC, so be sure to make a backup to have on hand once Microsoft officially resolves the issue.

To get started with the partial fix open the registry editor in Windows 10. You can then navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER on the sidebar. Once there, you can then, double click Software, scroll down and click to Microsoft, Windows, Current Version, and Search. Then click in a blank space in the right pane and choose New followed by D-Word (32-bit) Value.

To end, type BingSearchEnabled and hit enter on your keyboard. Continue by double-clicking CortanaConsent and clicking OK. You can then restart your PC, and resume using Windows Search to find your files, programs, and settings.

This sort of issue is rare in nature, but Microsoft has had its fair share of problems as of late. On Monday, February 3, the company’s Microsoft Teams collaboration service (and a competitor to Slack) was offline for many users for several hours. That problem was due to an expired certificate, and was resolved by Microsoft within two hours of users reporting issues.

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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