Those of you who have installed Windows 10 or those of have at least seen the pictures of Windows 10 will have noticed the new search box on the taskbar. The taskbar search box is also home to Cortana, the personal digital assistant.
The search box can be used to search your computer for installed programs as well as saved files. In addition to that, you can get results from the web as well.
Now if you’re running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 and love the idea of having a search box on the taskbar, you’ll be glad to know that it’s pretty much possible to add Windows 10 like taskbar search box to Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 as well. The good thing is that you can make it happen without installing any third-party software.
Obviously, it’s impossible to get all the features of Windows 10’s taskbar search box in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 but once search box is added you can search the web using Bing or Google, launch your favorite applications, and access various system tools right from the search box.
The only limitation is that you can’t perform single word search from this search box. For instance, you can search the web by typing Windows 10 but you don’t get results when you type only Windows (single word).
Also the web results will be shown in Internet Explorer browser and the search will be performed using the default search engine of Internet Explorer. That is, for instance, if Google is the default search engine in Internet Explorer, the search box uses Google to search the web.
In order to launch your favorite programs, you need to type the executable name of the program that you want to run from the search box. For instance, you need to type Firefox.exe and then press enter key to open Firefox browser. Likewise, you need to type Notepad.exe to launch it.
In addition to that you can quickly navigate to different parts of Windows and launch all admin tools by using Run command shortcuts. For instance, use Msconfig to open System Configuration utility, use Control.exe to open Control Panel, and Appwiz.cpl to open Programs and Features.
Adding search box to taskbar
So here is how to add Windows 10 like search box to the taskbar in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7:
Step 1: First, right-click on the taskbar, click Toolbars, and then click Address to add the search box (address bar).
Step 2: The search box appears right next to the Start button in Windows 10. But when you add the search box in Windows 7/8.1, it appears next to the system tray of the taskbar (on the right-side). So in order to move the search box to the left of the taskbar (next to the Start button) you need to follow the given below steps.
Step 3: Right-click on the empty space of the taskbar, click Lock the taskbar option to unlock the taskbar. Note that if the taskbar is already unlocked, you don’t need to do unlock it.
Step 4: Next, increase the height of the taskbar by moving the mouse cursor to top edge of the taskbar (see picture) and then dragging it upwards.
Step 5: Now move the search box on the taskbar to the bottom by clicking on the search and dragging the same, and then drag it to the extreme left to place it next to the Start. Once done, restore the default height of the taskbar before locking the taskbar again.
As you can see, the Address text appears next to the search box. If you want to remove the Address text, simply unlock the taskbar again, right-click on the search box and then deselect Show title option. That’s it!
An option to assign a hotkey to quickly access the search box would have been awesome but there is no way to access the search box with keyboard shortcut.