How To Fix Windows 7 Search Problems

Even though Start menu search feature was introduced with Windows Vista, Microsoft has enhanced the feature in Windows 7 and is more powerful and accurate in the newest version of Windows.

As you all know, the search box present in Windows 7 Start menu is very useful to find a file or program quickly without having to navigate through the Start screen.  Just entering a few letters will display a list of matching files, programs, documents, pictures, music and other files. The Start menu search is probably one of the best features present in recent versions of Windows.

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There are quite a few users who’re experiencing Start menu search issues in Windows 7. If the Start menu search is not displaying the results correctly for some reason, you can to fix the problem by installing the hotfix available for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

According to Microsoft support, sometimes the Start menu search displays only the category headings of the categorized search results are displayed, such as Programs, Control Panel, and Documents. To fix the problem, you can either opt for manual or automatic fix method.

How to fix it manually:

Step 1: Type regedit in Start menu search box and hit enter to launch Windows Registry Editor. Or, type regedit in Run dialog box (use Windows + R to launch Run) and hit enter to open the same.

 

Step 2: Navigate to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes\{ef87b4cb-f2ce-4785-8658-4ca6c63e38c6}

 

Step 3: Right-click on this sub key, and then select Delete.

 

Step 4: Reboot your machine to fix the problem.

 

Step 5: Done!

 

How to fix it automatically:

Step 1: Download the hotfix from Microsoft.

 

Step 2: Install the hotfix and then reboot your machine.

Following guides might also interest you:

How to search the web from Start menu search box

Add new locations to Start menu search index in Windows 7

Search in Windows 8′s Start screen

Search Windows 8 app store

 

Comments

  1. Satish says

    It worked for me. This issue was irritating me for many days. Finally got fixed with the main post.
    Thanks :D

  2. ra says

    This is the most ridiculous problem. How can Microsoft make it so hard to just do a simple search? We have to change registries? Maybe 1% of their users know how to do this. What about everyone else, we just can’t search? How idiotic. I hope Apple takes over the whole market. Microsoft is such an inconsiderate company.

  3. SuperJ says

    I’ve given up on index searching … it is just not reliable enough. I’m using FileSearchEX now and like it. Typically I’m looking inside of very important files and can’t afford missing a file.

  4. Cipher says

    I applied the hotfix and vwalah. Its fixed. Took weeks to find this post!!! but thanks alot guys!!

  5. Martin says

    THIS GUIDE IS VERY WRONG!
    WHERE IS THIS F***** KEY, I CAN’T FIND THIS X64 HOME PREMIUM!

    ANY WORKING IDEA, HOW FIX THIS FUCKING SEACH ERRORS! :@

  6. Akira says

    I can’t find FolderTypes in that directory at all. I’m running a newly installed Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

    The Microsoft Hotfix and System Restore didn’t work either. The indexing took such a long time, that I gave up on that too. I dare not restore the windows further, because I had to install bit by bit the 88+ windows update I had before to prevent them from crashing my OS.

    Please can someone help?

  7. Oscar says

    I don´t have that key in my reg
    the hotfix says that it can’t be installed on my computer, although it is the right version to my win7 64x

  8. Jon says

    I don’t think this fix works on x32 versions.
    I don’t have “{ef87b4cb-f2ce-4785-8658-4ca6c63e38c6}” in my folder types.
    Its there under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE but not HKEY_CURRENT_USERS and deleting it in local machine does nothing after reboot. Anyone else got this or is my system just a freak?

  9. DougF says

    This page comes up with sidebar and advertisements which cover up crucial text. Couldn’t find a way to uncover which made it impossible to see the key discription for search fix using regedit.

  10. Manually says

    If you are doing it manually and can’t figure out the easiest way to load Regedit without going into the command prompt the press Winkey+R and type Regedit :D

  11. Gibson Carter says

    Spent many hours trying to get Search Index to work. Tried the registry fixes, running trouble shooter, creating new user, re-indexing, etc.. None of those fixes worked. Un-installed Mcafee security center, installed Microsoft Security Essentials, started re-index, indexed files have increased from 1,400 to 30,000 and the indexer is still running.

  12. Nick Evans says

    Erm, I can’t seem to use this fix, though I’d love to, as I do not have a folder called ‘FolderTypes’ in the Explorer registry. Any ideas?

  13. Ian says

    This regedit fix worked for me – thanks! Tried to reload the index before and after waiting hours, I still couldn’t use the search.

    James – if you typed ‘regedit’ into the broken search field and then clicked ‘See more results’ it would bring up a separate search screen with mulitple listings, as if you were in My Computer. Then just click on the regedit icon and you are there.

  14. James Murphy says

    Worked for me – wonderful.

    One minor point regarding the manual fix:

    “Type regedit in Start menu search box” – won’t work because the start menu search is broken…

    However typing c:\windows\regedit.exe (assuming c:\windows is your root windows directory) should.

  15. ilham ali says

    I have been searching for last 2 hours for a solution for search problem, thanks for your solution.

  16. Ziga says

    For me, the only solution to the search problem (not displaying files in start) was to change

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

    Start_SearchFiles value from 0 to 1.

  17. Mike says

    I would disagree with your lead-in comment about Windows 7 search being so fast and great… it sucks! Displays too much crap, starts churning data before I’ve finished typing, the multiple lines of text for each item cover up what I’m looking for and stretches it out to too many pages, and it finds things that aren’t even remotely like what I’m searching for. And who says I want to execute everything that I search for? If I think I have virus.exe somewhere on my computer, the last thing I want to do is execute it… I just want to find it. Or if I’m looking for a file during a program installation, I don’t want to run it and screw up the installation. Lord knows, it’s hard enough to get stuff to install correctly on Win7…

    Microsoft seems to want to make things “easier” by hiding file locations and extensions, and making things “automatic”… fine, until something doesn’t work, or you want to back up your data and can’t find it… then you have no idea where things are and they don’t make it easy to find documentation. And it’s even worse since they started doing the registry, where everything is magic… and you can’t install a new OS over the old one without losing all your programs… It’s fine for Microsoft, who wants to sell you a new version of Word every two years, but what about my schematic entry program, or utilities that I buy, or other third party programs? They seem to forget that people work with computers, not just store pictures and music and get on facebook…

    Bring back the old style search engine, where I can limit the locations and put in a partial file name or text in the file. Give me the ability to limit the searches and DO NOT take action on the files, just find them! Separate RUN and SEARCH boxes…

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