10 Solutions to Fix Windows 10/11 Search Bar Not Working

The search bar in Windows 10 and 11 allows you to easily find files, apps, settings, and more on your computer.

However, many users encounter a frustrating issue where they are unable to type anything into the search bar.

Here are 10 methods to fix the Windows search bar not letting you type:

1. Restart the Windows Explorer and Cortana Processes

1. Restart the Windows Explorer and Cortana Processes
1. Restart the Windows Explorer and Cortana Processes

The search feature relies on the Windows Explorer and Cortana processes running properly in the background. Try restarting both processes:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager
  2. Right-click on Windows Explorer and select “Restart”
  3. Right-click on Cortana and select “End Task”
  4. Close Task Manager and reopen Cortana

2. Configure the Windows Search Service

An issue with the Windows Search service itself can prevent typing. You can configure the service:

  1. Press Windows key + R, type “services.msc”, press Enter
  2. Locate “Windows Search” service, right-click and select “Restart”
  3. Close the Services window

3. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

Windows includes a built-in troubleshooting utility for search issues. Run it:

  1. Open Settings > Troubleshoot > Other Troubleshooters
  2. Select “Search and Indexing” and click “Run”
  3. Select “Can't start a search” and click “Next”
  4. Follow prompts and restart your PC

4. Rebuild the Search Index

A damaged search index can lead to search problems. Rebuilding the index may help:

  1. Press Windows key + R, type “control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions”, press Enter
  2. Click “Advanced” > Troubleshooting > “Rebuild”
  3. Click OK to confirm and let it rebuild the index

5. Manually Execute CTFMON Process

The CTFMON process handles typing and speech input. If it's not running, manually launch it:

  1. Press Windows key + R, type “ctfmon.exe”, press Enter
  2. This will execute ctfmon invisibly; check if you can type now

6. Run SFC and DISM Scans

System file corruption can prevent typing. Run scans to fix files:

  1. Open Command Prompt as admin
  2. Type “DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth”
  3. Type “sfc /scannow”
  4. Restart your PC after scans complete

7. Re-register All System Apps

A glitch with a system app like Search can cause issues. Re-register all system apps:

  1. Press Windows key + R, type “powershell”, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter
  2. Paste command: “Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Where {$_.InstallLocation -like \”*SystemApps*”} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}”
  3. Press Enter, then close PowerShell

8. Reinstall the Cortana App

8. Reinstall the Cortana App
8. Reinstall the Cortana App

Since Cortana powers Windows Search, reinstalling the app may resolve typing issues:

  1. Open an admin PowerShell prompt
  2. Type: “Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}”
  3. Press Enter, restart your PC

9. Use System Restore

Revert to an earlier restore point when search was working correctly:

  1. Press Windows key + R, type “rstrui”, press Enter
  2. Click “Next”, select restore point, follow prompts
  3. Your PC will restart to complete restoration

10. Install Microsoft PowerToys

If nothing else has worked, install PowerToys for its alternative search bar:

  1. Download and install PowerToys from Microsoft Store
  2. Enable the PowerToys “Search” module
  3. Use the new search bar that it adds to Windows

The PowerToys search bar provides additional capabilities lacking in the default Windows search.

By trying these 10 troubleshooting solutions, you should be able to resolve the issue of not being able to type into the search box on Windows 10 or 11.

The most common fixes involve restarting key processes like Windows Explorer and Cortana, running SFC/DISM scans to repair system file corruption, re-registering system apps that may have become unstable, or reverting to a previous restore point.

If all else fails, installing the Microsoft PowerToys utility will provide an enhanced search bar with expanded capabilities to replace the default search functionality in Windows.

With persistent troubleshooting, you can get the crucial search feature back up and running.