[German]I'm posting this topic in a revised edition as a precaution, since it might affect more people soon. Users of Windows 10 version 21H2 complain about problems with Explorer and Taskbar (freezes, crashes) that occur on HP systems. I had already pinpointed a driver update "HP Development Company, L.P. – Extension" as the culprit. Now it looks like this "nice" HP extension collides with the even nicer Microsoft "Search Highlights". Since Microsoft is rolling this feature out to domains starting next week imho, it might pop more often.
I 'm noticing that my two IT blogs (German, English) sometimes works very well as honeypots, which map emerging issues very well via swarm intelligence and retrieval numbers of individual posts.
Windows 10 21H2: Explorer and Taskbar issues
First there was just a mail from blog reader Friedrich S., who contacted me and described a strange error pattern. Here is his text.
At a customer with several HP Deskpro PCs with Windows 10 21H2 (64 Bit) these PCs freeze. Errors in Explorer occur (since Friday 27.05.2022).
These PCs are not in the domain at the customer. The PCs are only used for RDP sessions. The problem also occurs when no RDP session is started.
The problem could also be isolated, since Friedrich S. immediately provided me with a corresponding link to a forum article.
HP Development Company, L.P. – Extension – 184.108.40.206686
There is an HP forum post Taskbar freezes/unresponsive, explorer crashes and restarts – recent HP drivers might be the fault from May 30, 2022, which Friedrich S. had thankfully pointed out to me. There another user also describes the error: On the HP desktops of the G4 and G5 models there are explorer crashes and the taskbar also freezes. Running programs continue to run in the background.
The affected person writes in the HP forum that he has probably narrowed down the problem on all HP desktop systems. On all computers, the following drivers had been installed via Windows Update shortly before the problems appeared:
- HP Development Company, L.P. – SoftwareComponent – 220.127.116.11156
- HP Development Company, L.P. – Extension – 18.104.22.168686
The person concerned cannot uninstall these drivers and asks what purpose they serve. I had picked this up in the blog post Windows 10 21H2: Explorer and taskbar issues due to "HP Development Company, L.P. – Extension – 22.214.171.124686" (and also within my German blog). A couple of users confirmed this observation.
And the root cause is: Search Highlights
Because my "honeypots" sometimes work well, I have a great readership on the blogs that provide feedback, and swarm intelligence helps, I can now tie up two loose ends and present a solution. In my blog post Windows 10 21H2: Explorer and taskbar issues due to "HP Development Company, L.P. – Extension – 126.96.36.199686" blog reader Yusuke just got back to me with the following comment (thanks for that).
My company PC has same truble.
I call to HP Support.
HP supports tell me to avoid way.
Disable show search highlight
right click taskbar > search > show search highlight
HP knows this truble.
But,They don't know fundamental solution.
The HP driver simply collides with Microsoft's shell function Search Highlights. Those who got this feature will be happy with the icons shown in the following screenshot.
I first reported about this nonsense of the Microsoft developers in my German blog post Windows 10: Neue Symbole (Search Highlights) im Suchbereich, wer hat das noch? (26. April 2022) – and later within my English blog post Windows 10: New icons for Search Highlights in the search area, who else has this? (April 26, 2022). You can switch off search highlights by: Right click to the search area of your taskbar, then use the context menu commands Search – Search highlights and untick the latter command (see the screenshot from the following tweet from Yusuke Arakawa).
This should probably help to get rid of the icons from the search bar and also avoid the collision with the HP drivers (at least I hope – those affected can give feedback).
This will hit probably more HP machine owners soon, as Microsoft has been rolling out these search highlights to the user base in stages since April 2022 (with insiders first). Especially administrators in corporate environments should pay attention, because in the blog post Windows 10 21H1 – 21H2/Server 20H2: Preview Update KB5014023 (June 2, 2022) with bug fixes I had explicitly mentioned that Microsoft is rolling out this search highlighting to machines in domains as well. This will be widely distributed with the June 14, 2022 security updates at the latest.
Microsoft already described how to manage search highlights via group policy in the March 2022 Techcommunity post Group configuration: search highlights in Windows. You need the latest admx-files for your Windows version to use the group policies. So now would be a good time to address this issue before there are any potential problems in companies next Wednesday, after the June 2022 patchday.
Windows 10: New icons for Search Highlights in the search area, who else has this? (April 26, 2022)
Windows 10: Microsoft expands "search highlights" in search area (May 19, 2022)
Windows 10 21H1 – 21H2/Server 20H2: Preview Update KB5014023 (June 2, 2022) with bug fixes
Windows 10 21H2: Explorer and taskbar issues due to "HP Development Company, L.P. – Extension – 188.8.131.52686"
Cookies helps to fund this blog: Cookie settings