Searching for programs, files, and websites in Windows 10 is quite distracting. Perhaps I’m a bit picky. Glancing at the lower-left corner of the screen always tends to shift my focus. And that’s when I learned about Immersive Search, and how it could help fix this problem.
Immersive Search is a hidden feature that’s been around Windows 10 since the April 2018 Spring Creators Update. And it is easy to miss it like several other hidden features. Let’s take a brief look at what it is, whether it’s worth using, and how you should go about enabling it.
What Is Immersive Search?
Whenever you click the Search box on the taskbar (or when you type into the Start menu), you will see a pop-up window show up to the lower-left corner of the screen. This window provides convenient shortcuts to your most-used apps and offers the ability to easily filter queries by an app, a document, a folder, etc.
But dealing with it shifts your focus, and can be annoying when you are in the middle of work and want to open a file or program quickly.
Immersive Search aims to fix that. Enable the functionality, and the same pop-up window will open to the middle of the screen by default. That helps out massively when it comes to searching for stuff on-the-go.
Instead of clicking on the Search bar or opening the Start menu, you can also use the Windows Key + S shortcut instead to bring Immersive Search up immediately. That makes the functionality even better in actual usage.
Aesthetics-wise, there are minimal differences except for a couple of things. The search bar is now positioned at the top of the window instead of the bottom. And the entire pane features rounded corners, although you can make them render normally if you want to.
So whether you are simply looking to improve your workflow or just like the way how Immersive Search looks, you can find the exact steps required to enable the functionality below.
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Enable Immersive Search
Surprisingly, Windows 10 offers no direct means to enable Immersive Search. That is bewildering considering how long this useful feature has been out there.
But by creating a few registry entries, you can easily enable the feature manually. Don’t worry — as long as you follow the steps below perfectly, there’s no need to be concerned.
Note: The steps below focus toward PCs running Windows 10 version 1903 or higher. Search for ‘winver’ to figure out your Windows 10 version.
Step 1: Press Windows Key+R shortcut to open the Run box. Next, type regedit into the Open field, and then click OK to open the Registry Editor.
Step 2: Create a backup of the system registry. We aren’t doing anything tricky. However, it’s always a good idea to take a backup if you happen to delete an important registry entry accidentally.
To create a backup, click File, and then click Export. All you have to do then is specify a location to save the backup. After that, proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Copy and paste the file path below into the address bar at the top of the Registry Editor window, and then press Enter:
Step 4: Click the folder labeled Search on the left navigation pane. Next, right-click a vacant area to the right side of the Registry Editor window, point to New, and then select DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Step 5: Name the newly created registry entry as ImmersiveSearch.
Step 6: Double-click the ImmersiveSearch registry entry, insert a value of 1 into the Value Data field, and then click OK.
Step 7: Right-click the folder labeled Flighting on the left-side navigation pane. Point to New, and then click Key.
Step 8: Name the newly create folder as Override, and then press Enter.
Step 9: On the right side of the Registry Editor window, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it as ImmersiveSearchFull.
Step 10: Double-click the ImmersiveSearchFull registry value. Insert 1 into the Value Data field, and then click OK.
Step 11: Create another DWORD (32-bit) Value key, and then name it as CenterScreenRoundedCornerRadius.
Afterward, double-click the CenterScreenRoundedCornerRadius registry value. Insert a value of 9 into the Value Data field, and then click OK.
Note: If you want to have square edges in the Immersive Search window, insert a value of 0 into the Value Data field.
Step 12: Open the File menu, and then click Exit to close the Registry Editor.
Click the Search bar (which will now show up as an icon) or use the Windows+S shortcut, and you should see the Immersive Search window show up to the center of the screen from now onward.
Note: To disable Immersive Search, simply head back to the Registry Editor, and then insert a value of 0 into all three registry values that you created in the steps above: ImmersiveSearch, ImmersiveSearchFull, and CenterScreenRoundedCornerRadius.
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Enable Immersive Search Bar
For those of you who find the Immersive Search window a little too large, here’s a cool tip — you can instead have just a floating search bar show up in its place instead.
That will expand into the full-fledged Immersive Search box once you start typing something onto it. But it provides a nice touch nonetheless.
To reduce Immersive Search down to a simple search bar, all you need to do is modify one of the registry values that you created earlier. Start by opening the Registry Editor, copy the path below into the address bar, and then press Enter:
Open the registry key labeled ImmersiveSearchFull, insert a value of 0, and click OK. Afterward, exit the Registry Editor window.
Open Immersive Search, and you will see the change reflected immediately.
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Immersed, Yet Focused
Immersive Search is among one of the most useful additions to Windows 10, and I really hope that it becomes the standard going forward. Not only is it a blast to use, but it’s also terrific to look at.
That’s just me. What do you think about this functionality? Do you intend to keep it enabled? The comments section is right below.
Next up: Getting tired of Windows 10’s Night Light functionality due to its various limitations and issues? Switch to any one of these three awesome alternatives instead.