Question Remove or disable search in File Explorer

Nov 27, 2021
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Hello everyone. Interested in the question, is it possible to somehow delete the search string in File Explorer or leave it, but break the search engine so that there are no results? I have read a bunch of material, tried Classic Shell, but all to no avail.
 

gardenman

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I've figured out how to disable search on my test system, but what is the goal here? This would allow you hide files from a PC amateur, but not a slightly advanced PC user. The Command Prompt DIR command could still be used to search for files, even hidden ones.
 

Math Geek

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yah simply disabling the windows search service will stop it from being done. but that is only one of the ways to do it.

perhaps an external drive or other portable media will keep those eeerrrr "important" files from prying eyes......
 
Nov 27, 2021
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I've figured out how to disable search on my test system, but what is the goal here? This would allow you hide files from a PC amateur, but not a slightly advanced PC user. The Command Prompt DIR command could still be used to search for files, even hidden ones.
can you explain how? I need this for my workers. all the methods that I tried were unsuccessful
 
Nov 27, 2021
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yah simply disabling the windows search service will stop it from being done. but that is only one of the ways to do it.

perhaps an external drive or other portable media will keep those eeerrrr "important" files from prying eyes......
the way with disabling windows search service does not work. how else can you?
 

gardenman

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Moderator
I tried disabling the service also and it didn't work. So I dug deeper by looking through my system for Search executable files. The one that I found that controls it is SearchApp.exe. I kept closing it out but it kept reappearing. So the only way to make it stop is to rename the .EXE file.

Note that this requires tampering with system files. Anytime you do such a thing, you better have a good backup first, and be prepared to re-install Windows if something goes wrong. Ask yourself: Do you have a flash drive with the latest Windows on it ready to be installed if needed?

#1. Look at SearchApp.exe in Details tab of TaskManager. Right click / Properties, look at it's location.
#2. Open that folder, take control of SearchApp.exe by using this page: https://www.ampercent.com/how-to-rename-trustedinstaller-protected-files-and-get-ownership/24790/ Don't use the registry stuff on that page. You ONLY need to take permission of this one file.
#3. Rename SearchApp.exe to SearchApp.bk.

Search should no longer work. I tested it and it and the fix survives a reboot also.

To undo this, run Command Prompt as administrator, type SFC /scannow and press enter.

Note: I believe Windows Updates often run SFC /scannow after installing. So expect it to automatically start working again one day when you least expect it. Search is built into Windows and Microsoft will try to keep it working.
 
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Math Geek

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the way with disabling windows search service does not work. how else can you?
my bad, i forgot to try it out on newer windows versions. i still use win 7 and i guess they changed the service and what it does in win 10/11

i'd have to tinker with win 10 to see if another service does the same thing. are you using pro version of windows? perhaps there is a way to do it with group policy? there is a lot of stuff in there you can configure. just a thought anyway :)
 
Nov 27, 2021
8
0
10
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I tried disabling the service also and it didn't work. So I dug deeper by looking through my system for Search executable files. The one that I found that controls it is SearchApp.exe. I kept closing it out but it kept reappearing. So the only way to make it stop is to rename the .EXE file.

Note that this requires tampering with system files. Anytime you do such a thing, you better have a good backup first, and be prepared to re-install Windows if something goes wrong. Ask yourself: Do you have a flash drive with the latest Windows on it ready to be installed if needed?

#1. Look at SearchApp.exe in Details tab of TaskManager. Right click / Properties, look at it's location.
#2. Open that folder, take control of SearchApp.exe by using this page: https://www.ampercent.com/how-to-rename-trustedinstaller-protected-files-and-get-ownership/24790/ Don't use the registry stuff on that page. You ONLY need to take permission of this one file.
#3. Rename SearchApp.exe to SearchApp.bk.

Search should no longer work. I tested it and it and the fix survives a reboot also.

To undo this, run Command Prompt as administrator, type SFC /scannow and press enter.

Note: I believe Windows Updates often run SFC /scannow after installing. So expect it to automatically start working again one day when you least expect it. Search is built into Windows and Microsoft will try to keep it working.
Unfortunately, I do not have this process.
I do not know what to do
 
Nov 27, 2021
8
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my bad, i forgot to try it out on newer windows versions. i still use win 7 and i guess they changed the service and what it does in win 10/11

i'd have to tinker with win 10 to see if another service does the same thing. are you using pro version of windows? perhaps there is a way to do it with group policy? there is a lot of stuff in there you can configure. just a thought anyway :)
I wonder how to turn off the search, on the 7 it was much easier to do this
 
Nov 27, 2021
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Did you go to the Details tab in Task Manager?
Do you have the latest version of Windows 10 installed?

If so, you should see SearchApp.exe.
I have a trimmed assembly without cortana, I do not have the searchapp.exe process in details, but the search works in Explorer this way. How can I turn it off, I don't know.
 

Math Geek

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once you've started fiddling with windows like that, there is little we can do to help. not knowing what has been done to the install it is unlikely we will be able to guess what is there and what is not that you can turn on or off.

as others have said, perhaps if you explain what it is you want/need to do, we can offer other solutions to help out. but if you have "trimmed" down windows not sure you can do this specific action as you've asked.
 
Reactions: Mandark

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