Top 9 Ways to Fix Can’t Type in Windows 11 Search Bar

The Windows Search Bar is a useful tool that not only lets you access your favorite apps, settings, and files quickly but also allows you to search the web directly from the taskbar. However, if you haven’t been able to reap its benefits due to the inability to type in the Windows 11 search bar, this guide is for you.

Top Ways to Fix Can't Type in Search Bar on Windows 11

Such issues with the Windows search bar should not force you to look for your files manually. In this guide, we’ve listed a few troubleshooting tips that will help fix the Windows 11 search bar in no time. So, let’s take a look.

1. Restart the Windows Explorer Process

Windows Explorer is a system process that handles the graphical user interface (GUI) for several utilities, including the taskbar. If this process encounters any problems, it can affect your ability to use the search bar. You can try restarting the Windows Explorer process to see if that fixes the problem.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager. In the Processes tab, locate Windows Explorer. Right-click on it and select Restart from the context menu.

Restart Windows Explorer

2. Run the CTF Loader

The CTF (Collaborative Translation Framework) loader is a process that allows you to switch between various input languages. Naturally, if the process is not running, you might have trouble typing in the search bar.

To fix this, press the Windows key + R to launch the Run command. Type the following command and press Enter.

Run CTF Loader on Windows

If running the CTF Loader solves your problem, you can configure it to launch automatically at startup. To do so, use these steps:

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type C:\Windows\system32\ in the Open field and press Enter.

Open System32 Folder

Step 2: In the System32 folder that opens, locate the ctfmon.exe file. Right-click on it and select Show more options.

CTF Loader File

Step 3: Select Send to > Desktop (create shortcut).

Create Desktop Shortcut for CTF Loader File

Step 4: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run command again. Type in shell:startup and press Enter.

Open Startup Folder in Windows 11

Step 5: Drag and drop the ctfmon.exe – Shortcut from your desktop to the startup folder.

Add CTF Loader to Startup Folder

3. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

Windows 11 includes a troubleshooter for almost every utility, so if you’re having trouble inputting search queries in the Windows search bar, you can try running the search and indexing troubleshooter.

Step 1: Open the Start menu and click the gear-shaped icon to open the Settings app.

Open Settings App on Windows 11

Step 2: In the System tab, click on Troubleshoot.

Windows Troubleshooter

Step 3: Go to Other troubleshooters.

Other Troubleshooters

Step 4: Scroll down to locate Search and Indexing and click the Run button next to it to begin troubleshooting.

Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

4. Restart Windows Search Service

The Windows Search service is a background program responsible for content indexing, property caching, and delivering search results for files, emails, and more. If the service fails to start correctly, it can cause the Windows search bar to malfunction. You can try restarting the Windows Search service to see if that helps.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to launch the Run command, type in services.msc, and press Enter.

Open Windows Services

Step 2: In the Services window, scroll down to locate Windows Search. Right-click on it and select Restart from the menu.

Restart Windows Search Service

5. Re-Register Microsoft Store Apps

At times, issues with the default apps on Windows can also lead to such abnormalities. You can try re-registering the default apps on your PC to see if that solves your problem.

Step 1: Open the Start menu, type in Windows PowerShell, and click on Run as administrator.

Open Windows PowerShell

Step 2: Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.

Open Windows PowerShell UAC Prompt

Step 3: In the PowerShell window, paste the following command and press Enter.

Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers WindowsStore | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
Re-Register Microsoft Store Windows

Restart your PC after this and check if the issue is still there.

6. Rebuild the Search Index

If the search index library on your PC is corrupt or inaccessible, you might have trouble using the Windows search bar. To fix this, you will need to rebuild the search index on your PC. Note that this process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on your system and the amount of data.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + S to open Windows search, type in indexing options, and press Enter.

Indexing Options on Windows

Step 2: Click the Advanced button.

Advanced Indexing Options

Step 3: Click the Rebuild button under Troubleshooting.

Rebuild Search Index on Windows

Wait until the process is complete, and then check if you can type in the Windows search bar.

7. Run the SFC and DISM Scans

Search issues on Windows can also arise due to corrupt or damaged system files. You can try running the SFC (or System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scans to repair the system files on your PC.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + X and select Windows Terminal (Admin) from the resulting menu.

Open Windows Terminal Admin

Step 2: Paste the command mentioned below and press Enter.

sfc /scannow
SFC Scan on Windows 11

After completing the scan, you’ll see a message appear that will convey whether or not the scan was successful. If the SFC scan fails to find any issues, run the DISM scan.

Launch Terminal with administrative privileges again and run the following commands one by one.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
DISM Scan on Windows 11

The DISM may connect to the Microsoft servers online during the scan to download and replace damaged files if required.

8. Install Windows Updates

The Windows search bar may become unresponsive due to a buggy Windows update. If you suspect that to be the case, check for pending system updates.

Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app and head to the Windows Update tab. Click the Check for updates button and install all the pending updates.

Check for Windows Updates

9. Reset Your PC

If you still can’t type into the Windows search bar at this point, your only option is to reset all the settings on Windows and start over. Don’t worry, it’s possible to reset Windows 11 without losing your data. Here’s how you can go about it.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app. In the System tab, click on Recovery.

Windows Settings App Recovery Section

Step 2: Click the Reset PC button.

Reset Windows 11

Step 3: Select the Keep my files option and then follow the on-screen prompts to finish resetting Windows 11.

Reset Windows 11 PC

After Windows 11 resets everything, you should be able to type into the Windows search bar as before.

FAQs on Can’t Type in Windows Search Bar

1. How do I fix Windows Search slow?

Running the Search and indexing troubleshooter and modifying the indexing options can help you fix slow searches on Windows 11.

2. How do I hide the search bar from the taskbar in Windows 11?

To hide the search bar from the taskbar, right-click on your taskbar and select Taskbar settings. Click the drop-down menu next to Search and select Hide.

Fetching Results

Dealing with search bar issues can be a frustrating experience. Hopefully, one or more of the above solutions have helped fix the search bar issues on Windows 11 and things are back to normal.

Last updated on 13 May, 2023

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