What happens if I turn off Windows Search?

Some programs and features that are included with Windows 7 are turned on by default, including Windows Search. You can turn off Windows Search if you don’t use it.

Turning off Windows Search removes it from Windows, but doesn't reduce the amount of hard disk space used by Windows. Windows Search will remain stored on your hard disk, so you can turn it back on if you want to.

If you turn off Windows Search:

  • All the search boxes in Windows will disappear, including the search boxes in Windows Explorer, the Start menu, Control Panel, the Documents library, and other libraries.

  • Programs that rely on Windows Search might not function properly.

  • Internet Explorer won't have enhanced search capabilities.

  • Tablet PC handwriting recognition won't work.

  • Windows Media Center won't have enhanced search capability.

  • You'll no longer be able to arrange your library views by metadata, and your column headers will only sort items, not stack or group them.

  • Options that affect Windows Search functionality will be removed, including indexing in Control Panel and the Search tab in Folder Options.

  • Windows will no longer recognize these search-based file types: search-ms, searchconnector-ms, and osdx.


  • It can be difficult to tell which programs rely on Windows Search. Those most likely to be affected by turning off Windows Search are programs with features used for searching files. Such features might not work properly if Windows Search is turned off.