Windows 10/11 Start Menu Search Can’t Find Anything

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Are you having trouble with the Start menu search not responding, crashing, or not working on your Windows 10 or 11 PC? You’re not alone! Many users, including some of our clients, have encountered this issue, making it one of the most common problems in Windows 10 and 11. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why the Start menu search may not be working and provide you with some solutions to help you fix it.

Possible reasons why the Start Menu Search may not be working

Before we delve into the possible solutions, let’s discuss some of the reasons why the Start menu search may not be working:

  • Corrupted system files: Damaged or corrupted system files may cause the Start menu search to stop working.
  • Outdated Windows: If you’re running an older version of Windows, the Start menu search may not be supported or may be incompatible with your system.
  • Interference from third-party software: Some third-party software may interfere with how the Start menu search works, causing conflicts between them.
  • Bugs and glitches: As with any software, bugs and glitches can cause the Start menu search to malfunction.

Run Windows Update

The very first thing to try when the Start menu search is not working correctly is to run Windows Update. Microsoft is continually working to solve conflicts between software and Windows 10/11 and releases hotfixes in Windows Update. If a patch or build resolves the conflicts between the software you use and Windows 10/11, the issue can be permanently fixed.

Restart Cortana in Task Manager

Cortana and the Start menu search are linked. Restarting the Cortana process can solve the problem. Follow these steps:

  1. Right click your taskbar and select Task task manager from taskbar
  2. In Task Manager, go to the Processes Tab.
  3. Look for Cortana from the list.
  4. Click on it and then click End Task.restart cortana start menu search not working

This will terminate the Cortana process. Windows 10 will then automatically restart Cortana. Check if the Start menu search not working problem still persists.

However, this solution is temporary, and the Start menu search issue may happen again in your next PC restart.

Recreate UsrClass.dat to fix start menu search not working error

UsrClass.dat is a file located in your Windows 10/11 appdata folder that holds your profile information. Renaming this file to allow Windows to create a new UsrClass.dat file can fix the Start menu search issue. However, renaming the UsrClass.dat file carries a risk, and users should proceed with caution. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows” in the Open box, and press Enter.usrclass.dat file windows 10
  3. Rename UsrClass.dat to UsrClass.old.dat.
  4. Restart your computer, and Windows will automatically create a new UsrClass.dat file.

If the message “action can’t be completed because the file is open in System” appears, boot your Windows into safe mode to rename it.

Renaming the userclass.dat file to UsrClass.old.dat is a precautionary measure that allows users to revert the change if something goes wrong during the renaming process. The userclass.dat file contains user profile information, and if it’s deleted or modified, it can cause issues with the operating system.

Renaming the file instead of deleting it allows Windows to create a new userclass.dat file while preserving the old file in case it needs to be restored later. It’s always recommended to take a backup or create a restore point before modifying system files to avoid any potential issues that may arise.

Rebuild the Windows Search Index

One potential solution is to rebuild the Windows Search Index. The Search Index is a database of all files and folders on your computer, and it’s used by the Start menu search to quickly find the files you’re looking for. If the Search Index is corrupted or outdated, it can cause problems with the Start menu search.

To rebuild the Search Index, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel and go to Indexing Options.
  2. Click the Advanced button.
  3. In the Advanced Options window, click the Rebuild button.Rebuild Windows Search Index Windows 11

This will delete the current Search Index and rebuild it from scratch. Depending on how many files you have on your computer, this process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Categories: Windows 10

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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