Windows 10: Addendum to the broken search and fixes – Part 2

[German]In Windows 10, the search in the Start menu repeatedly fails (as on February 5, 2020). This seems to be a recurring problem for which a blog reader sent me another observation and a solution that he uses in his corporate environment.


In Resetting a broken Windows 10 Search by Script – Part 1 I had mentioned Microsoft's solutions for fixing a broken search. But German blog reader Thomas M. contacted me after I've published the article Windows 10: Search is broken – how to fix it (Feb. 5, 2020)and reported his experiences and observations. I will post the information here in the blog, maybe it will help someone.

Windows 10: Search broken – a cause and solution

German blog reader Thomas M. wrote within an email, that ee had already been affected by this problem on Windows 10 systems in an enterprise environment.

As it seems, this is a recurring theme. I seem to have found a very simple solution to the problem some time ago, which I haven't read about anywhere yet.

However, so far I have only been able to successfully apply this to a few devices in the company, but these are only 2 different types of devices, which are all installed identically (more or less).

From this point of view I don't know if this would be applicable to other devices and Windows versions. But since I had the problem with a user this week again and the solution helped immediately…

He wrote, because my German blog post Windows 10 V1909: Startmenü-Suche ausgefallen (5.2.2020) was flooded with comments, it would be a pity if this solution were to be overlooked. So he sent me a description of his observation. Here is a brief description of his situation:

Our company has started relatively late to switch to Windows 10 – my task :), among others – in early December last year. We use Windows 10 Pro Workstation x64 1903.

Therefore all devices are as good as new installed. Directly after installation I had the problem with the start menu and search for some users.

An external company pointed this possible problem out to me before the installation and recommended to uninstall various updates in case of such a problem. Understandably, this solution did not really suit me.

Thomas then points out a rights problem, which he found out in a domain environment.

I quickly noticed that the problem occurred with users with limited rights (completely newly created profiles in the company domain), but not with the administrator.

From this I concluded that the problem probably had to do with lack of rights, and in my case, because a completely new user profile, the start menu plus search cannot be created at all.

At this point Thomas tried a radical approach to solving the problem, which he describes as follows:


So I simply moved the affected user into the domain administrators group and logged on again with this user.

  • Immediately after the login, the start menu was available for this user.
  • For another user it took a while until the search was available.

The user in question in this week – about a month in use – did not want the search even after 5 minutes. Here, logging out and logging in again with admin rights brought the search back to life.

Then log out again, take the user out of the domain admin group and log in again. So far the start menu and the search works again for all affected users.

On one client, another user had an even more exotic problem with the start menu. Thomas wrote:

On one device, I even noticed that another user on the same device, who also had the problem, only by logging on the other user with admin rights, had no problems either. However, I did not pursue this further. So I can't say if this was just an isolated case.

Thomas also wrote that he finds it strange that only a few devices / users were affected, although all user profiles and devices were created and installed completely new and are almost identical. At the same time he asks if someone else can confirm this solution (or observation). On the Windows 10 PC at home, Thomas states that he has no problems with the Start menu and search (although, thanks to the default Windows 10 defaults, he works as an administrator there during setup anyway – writing that he knows you shouldn't).

The only thing I can think of is that I received fragments of information via Facebook that there are always problems with profiles on servers, which is why they don't do that anymore (but it was reminiscent of Outlook, I forgot the details). Maybe one of you still has some hints.

Warning: Also his step to move the affected user into the domain administrators group isn't a good idea, as this German comment indicates. It would be better to move the affected user for tests into the local administrator group and check, if the issue is fixed.

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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