Resetting a broken Windows 10 Search by Script – Part 1

[German]If the search on the desktop fails you can reset it. Microsoft has released a script to fix a broken search in 2019. Within this blog post I will show, what Microsoft provides on solutions to fix a broken search.


In early February 2020, the search using the search box in the Start menu of Windows 10 November 2029 Update (version 1909) suddenly failed worldwide and no longer worked. I discussed this incident, including a fix (Bing search) in the blog post Windows 10: Search is broken – how to fix it (Feb. 5, 2020).

After a few hours, Microsoft had its failed Bing search service up and running again, and the search should actually work again. However, I found it odd that the blog post continued to receive comments that the fix would work – long after Microsoft fixed the issues. So there are still people whose searches for this incident do not work at all.

Reset Windows search by script

About this post from Woody Leonhard came across a tweet from Tero Alhonen. A user complained on February 6, 2020 that his search box still showed a

Alhonen referred the user to a PowerShell script (ResetWindowsSearchBox.ps1), which can be used to reset the Windows search. The script was already published on September 13, 2019. Microsoft writes about this:


Resolve Windows Search problems by running the PowerShell script ResetWindowsSearchBox.ps1 . You must have administrator privileges to run this script.

It is sufficient to run the script under an administrator account by right-clicking and using the Powershell context menu command. If there is an error because PS modules are blocked, the web page for the PowerShell script provides hints to set the -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted policy.

On the download page, the PS script is listed for Windows 10 version 1903, but the script also refers to version 1909.

KB article 4520146 to fix the search

Microsoft has published also a support article 4520146 (Fix problems in Windows Search), which Microsoft last updated on 3 January 2020. This article contains various tips for resetting the search, which should apply to the following Windows 10 versions:

  • Windows 10 Version 1909
  • Windows 10 Version 1903
  • Windows 10 Version 1809
  • Windows 10 Version 1803
  • Windows 10 Version 1709
  • Windows 10 Version 1703
  • Windows 10 Version 1607
  • Windows 10 Version 1511
  • Windows 10 (RTM)

The kb article gives recurring instructions for repairing Windows Search as may be found within the following list.

  • Check for updates (in the hope, that Microsoft has patched the search again).
  • Run the troubleshooting for search and indexing.
  • Restart Windows Search (kill SearchUI.exe in Task Manager).
  • Reset the search, using the above script for Windows 10 version 1903 and later. For older versions up to version 1809 Cortana should be reset.

Somehow the search in Windows 10 seems to be a rather shaky affair. In the following article I will discuss an observation of a blog reader from the corporate environment about problems with the search.

Series of articles
Resetting a broken Windows 10 Search by Script – Part 1
Windows 10: Addendum to the broken search and fixes – Part 2

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