How to Disable Windows Search When Searching Windows Explorer

You’ve installed the fancy new Windows Desktop Search. You can find things fast and easy on your computer. You’ve got that nice little “Search Desktop” thingie next to your system tray. All is well. But there are some things Desktop Search doesn’t index. There are some things you don’t want Desktop Search to index.

The trouble is, every time you open Windows Explorer and type “ctrl-f”, Windows Search begs to search for you. Every time you have to scroll down to where it says “This folder is not indexed. To search this directory please use Search Companion or add this directory to your index via Options.” You click on “Search Companion” and all is well again.

Here is how to disable Windows Search. I found this from from John’s Adventures.

Open RegEdit (hit Start > Run then type ‘regedit’). Go to the following node:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Desktop Search\DS

Then double-click on ‘ShowStartSearchBand’ and set the value to ‘0’. Close that and you’re done, the next time you click ‘Search’ in explorer, the old, reliable search companion will appear. This applies to operating systems before Windows Vista

If you are a masochist, you can re-enable it by changing ‘ShowStartSearchBand’ back to ‘1’.


  1. wloescher says:

    Worked like a charm…thanks for the tip!

  2. Rami H says:

    It is perfect. thanks alot

  3. DAS Mustafah says:

    Excellent, thanks!

  4. Mickael says:

    Thanks to you, this painful process is over now.

  5. Robin says:

    You are a sanity-saver, thank you!

  6. Nason says:

    Works immediately, like a champ! No reboot needed. Good job!

  7. mackenzie says:

    holy cow! magnificent! many thanks.

  8. Kihwan says:

    Thank you very much!
    It works immediately.

  9. Maya says:

    It’s not under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Desktop Search\DS

    You’ll find the key ShowStartSearchBand under this registry location:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows Desktop Search\DS

  10. crazy_driver_78 says:

    Finally, simple searching again. Thank you! Why did Micro$haft screw it up?

  11. Paw says:

    Wohoo! It worked!

  12. LOVE_MOSS_NOT says:


    Thank you.. that POS search was useless

  13. Ja says:

    Perfect, worked

  14. sandz says:


  15. Darcy says:

    Solution Rocks…..Welcome back Simple Windows Desktop Search
    Thanks for bring back my Cntrl+F and little dog home to my PC

  16. Bev Williams says:

    Wonderful!! Thank you for the fix!

  17. mingo says:

    Thanks Works perfect!

  18. David F Mayer says:

    Question: Why in the world did Microsoft put such a lousy feature into Windows in the first place.

    Same question applies to “indexing for Fast searching”

    Didn’t anybody actually TRY it on a real computer with hundreds of thousands of files and a heavy load?

  19. Jocuri says:

    The solution is good. I also disabled the windows search service SearchIndexer.exe.

  20. Alan8 says:

    Thanks, it worked! Another uncalled for pain in the ass from Microsoft!

  21. Johnny says:

    Brilliant stuff – had been searching for this for a while now.

    Thank you very much!

  22. Les says:

    Thank you!

    I actually had this unwanted technology forced on me in order to use Outlook 2007’s search function. Now I have the best of both worlds :)

  23. Mark says:

    This has been one of things that bugs me but falls into the category of “I’ll get to that later”…
    Thanks for the quick and easy soltuion!

  24. Gaffer says:


  25. CHM says:

    Thanks SOOOO much :)

  26. Phil says:

    Thanks. Why would someone build a search function that does not search? It’s like the other setting to “search into” that you have to fix, because it won’t look into files you want it to look into. (binary dll ok, human readable .cs file nope)

  27. Nishanth says:

    Thanks a tonne :)

  28. Bernardo says:

    Gracias, funciona perfectamente!!
    (Thanks, it works perfectly!!)

  29. Eric says:

    Thanks for the info. I did it through Add/Remove programs, which also worked fine, but requires a restart.

  30. Diane Anthe says:

    Yes Maya, I also had to find it here….HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows Desktop Search\DS
    My problem..It still does not work on my computer. I set the value to 0 in ‘ShowStartSearchBand’… turned off my computer to see if that would help, and it still has the windows search instead of the “Search Companion”

  31. danny says:

    great, works like a charm. on win xp sp3

  32. Joe Bob says:

    You are my hero

  33. Apurva Varma says:

    thou art great… whata royal pain in the @$$ that search band was. i wanna send you a bouquet and chocolates….!! ;)

  34. Peter says:

    Oh, thank you! That search box was like a sliver of popcorn hull stuck in my gum! Feels so good to get rid of it.

  35. paul says:

    Thank you so much! was driving me crazy.

  36. Eric says:

    My hero ! Microsoft take note! I’m not going back until you improve the design so it at least knows what folder it’s indexed so the right utility can open.

  37. akm says:

    Unchecked ‘Allow Indexing Service…’, Disabled ‘Indexing Service’, changed related Registry settings to ‘0’, but when place cursor over task bar ‘magnifying glass’ still shows “Waiting to receive indexing status…”.
    How, if possible, to completely disable ‘indexing service’, but still be able to Search ‘For Files or Folders’ the old way ?
    Thanks much.

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