6 Ways to Fix the Can't Type in Windows Search Bar Issue - Make Tech Easier

[maketecheasier.com] 2 months ago

A lot of users depend on the Windows Search Bar to quickly access apps or features on their computers. But what happens if you suddenly can't type into the Windows Search bar? This list of fixes should help resolve the issue and restore the Search bar's functionality.

Good to know: is Windows Search Indexer causing high CPU usage on your PC? Learn how to fix the problem.


Basic Troubleshooting

Before diving into the specifics of the issue, try the following tips to see if they resolve your issue quickly.

  • Restart your computer – when a computer runs for an extended period of time, background processes and applications can accumulate, leading to potential conflicts or resource shortages. Restarting your PC helps resolve many of these common glitches and issues.
  • Update the latest software – make sure that you've installed the latest Windows updates on your PC. They could contain bug fixes that could eliminate the Search bar problem.
  • Run an SFC scan – SFC (System File Checker) is a built-in Windows tool that scans and repairs corrupted system files. If the Search bar malfunction is due to a corrupted file on your system, running an SFC scan can help fix it.

1. Restart File Explorer

If you can't type in your Search bar, first try restarting the File Explorer process.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, and select "Task Manager" from the menu, then type "explorer" in the search bar in the upper-right corner.

Right-click Windows Explorer, and select "Restart" from the context menu to restart the process.

Restarting the Windows Explorer from Task Manager.

Tip: check out our guide to learn how to view hidden files and folders in Windows.

2. Restart Windows Search Service

If the error persists, you may want to restart the Windows Search Service, which the Search bar relies on to operate properly. Doing so will clear temporary glitches, reinitialize the service, and potentially solve the Search bar issue.

Press Win + R to open the Run dialog. Type services.msc in the box, and click "OK" to launch the Windows Services Manager.

Typing "services.msc" in Run window.

In the Services window, scroll down and right-click Windows Search. Click "Restart" to reinitialize the service.

Restarting Windows Search service from Services app.

FYI: are you unable to see the Windows Search bar? Try these fixes.

3. Run Ctfmon.exe

Ctfmon.exe is a system file that regulates language options and alternative input devices. By default, the file should launch at startup. If it doesn't, it may prevent you from typing into the Windows Search bar. Manually starting the file will help to resolve the issue.

Open a Run window, type C:\Windows\System32\ctfmon.exeinto the box, and click "OK."

Typing command in Run window.

You can also try resetting the Windows Search bar using the Registry Editor to see whether you are able to resolve the issue this way. We recommend creating a registry backup before proceeding, just to be on the safe side of things.

Launch a Run dialog, and type regedit into the box to open the Registry Editor. If prompted, click "Yes" in the User Account Control dialog to allow access.

Type "regedit" in Run dialog to launch Registry Editor.

Navigate to the following address in the Registry Editor, and press Enter: "Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search."

Navigating to location in Registry Editor.

Double-click the "SetupCompletedSuccessfully" key in the right pane.

Type "0" in the "Value data" field, and press "OK."

Changing "Value data" for key in Registry Editor.

Finally, restart your computer to apply the changes, and check whether the typing issue in the Windows Search bar persists.

FYI: learn how to increase network speed using the Registry Editor.

If the above methods did not work, reinstall the Windows Start menu using PowerShell, then check whether it helped.

Press Win + X, and select "Terminal(Admin)" to launch PowerShell.

Clicking on "Terminal (Admin)" option from WinX menu.

Type the below command, and hit the Enter key.

Get-appxpackage -all *shellexperience* -packagetype bundle |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “appxmetadataappxbundlemanifest.xml”)}
Typing command in PowerShell.

After executing the command, exit the PowerShell, and reboot your Windows PC to check whether you are able to type into the Windows Search bar.

Tip: get up to speed with these essential PowerShell commands.

6. Reset Your Computer

If none of the above methods have worked and, you are anxious to resolve the issue, the final solution is to restore the settings on your PC to the factory defaults. Do remember that the process could take a few hours, and you need to back up your data before resetting your PC. If you have never done this, read on to learn how to factory reset the Windows computer.

Apart from typing into the Search bar, there are other available options that allow you to quickly access apps and features on your PC. Try some of the best alternatives to the Windows Search bar. Additionally, if you want to remove the Bing chat button from the Search bar, follow the steps outlined in our guide.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Meenatchi Nagasubramanian

Meenatchi Nagasubramanian

Meenatchi is always passionate about learning new technological advancements and would love to try out new gadgets, software, and apps. After quitting her career as an Embedded Software Developer in 2009, she took up a career in content writing.

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