The Windows 10 search bar is broken, because of course it is

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Is your Windows 10 search bar completely busted? You're not alone. Tons of users across Reddit, Twitter and Downdetector are reporting major problems with Windows 10 search, claiming that they're getting a completely blank box every time they try to search for an application or folder. 

As many Windows 10 users have shared across the web, this bug is preventing any search results to pop up when you type anything in your Windows search bar. Several people in the Tom's Guide office also reported having a blank search bar as of Wednesday afternoon.

Microsoft's support account tweeted that it's working to "resolve this issue as soon as possible," though it didn't provide a timetable. Fortunately, a savvy Reddit user has discovered a temporary fix.

How to fix the Windows 10 search bar

As Reddit user Froggypwns discovered, the search issue is likely tied to Microsoft's servers, as Windows 10 mixes local searches and online Bing searches by default. If you want your search bar working right now, you can disable online search using the steps below:

  • Run Regedit.exe
  • Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search
  • Look for "BingSearchEnabled", if you don't see it you will need to create it, just right click in a blank area and pick New DWORD 32 bit. Type in BingSearchEnabled
  • Double click on BingSearchEnabled and set it to 0 and press OK.
  • Do the same steps for CortanaConsent, if you don't see it, create a DWORD 32 bit, again set it to 0.
  • Reboot.

This search bar issue is the latest in what feels like an endless string of Windows 10 fails. Just earlier this week, several users reported slow Wi-Fi speeds and audio issues after downloading the latest Windows 10 update. Most of these issues have relatively easy workarounds, but the frequency of borked Windows 10 updates is certainly concerning.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.