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How to reset Windows Search on Windows 10

Windows search is a pretty great tool when it works. It can launch apps, and find your files. Unfortunately, for as great as this tool is, it breaks often and for no apparent reason. Fixing it can be hit or miss; the built-in troubleshooting tool might help, or not. If Windows search isn’t working on your system, it might be a good idea to reset it and see if that helps.

Resetting Windows search isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s one of the things Microsoft recommends you do if you’re having trouble with the feature. Problems with it are so common that Microsoft provides a script for the job. Here’s what you need to do.

Reset Windows search

In order to reset Windows search, we’re going to run a PowerShell script. PowerShell might restrict the script from running so before you proceed, examine the execution policy that is set on your system.

Open PowerShell with admin rights, and run this command to see what the current policy is. You need the command to return ‘Unrestricted ‘. If it doesn’t check out our guide on changing the PowerShell execution policy and change it to ‘Unrestricted’. If you don’t run PowerShell scripts often, it’s a good idea to reset it back to restricted later.

Get-ExecutionPolicy

Download the Windows Search reset script from Microsoft. Right-click it and select ‘Run with PowerShell’. You will be prompted to authenticate with the admin account, and in PowerShell, you will have to once again confirm that you want to run the script.

The options for running the script aren’t the usual ones you see. Choose the option to run it once i.e., tap the R key. Resetting Windows search does not take long. Once it resets, you should restart your PC for good measure. When you boot back to your desktop, consider reverting the PowerShell execution policy back to Restricted as suggested earlier.

This should resolve problems with Windows search not finding items, or not being able to index them properly but as we said before, there is also a good chance it doesn’t do anything. I’ve personally experienced problems with Windows search that couldn’t be fixed with all the troubleshooting tools and tips that Microsoft has and every script and command that you’ll find suggested as a solution to the problem.

If you’re in the same boat you can try a few other things; create a new user account, reset Windows 10 but keep all your apps and settings and files, reset Windows 10 and remove your apps and settings but keep your files, or try a fresh Windows 10 installation. Each ‘fix’ is more drastic than the other but a fresh install is going to do the job.

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