Start > Search not working properly

Wolf037 used Ask the Experts™
The problem is that when i click on the start menu > search for any file, the minute I click on the menu "look in" to select the location, the whole "search results" window closes as if I pressed the X-button. Spyware and virus scans came up clean and Í got an 80gb disc in this computer, which runs the rest of windows perfectly so reinstalling is not an option. I´d appreciate any hints.
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Update: Not only the "Search Result" window closes, but also any Internet Explorer/Windows Explorer window that happens to be open along with it, so it´s more of an explorer crash of some kind. Any info on this will be appreciated.

Recently installed programs: Office XP PRO.

Here are a few things you can try:

See if changing the search to the classic search helps.
If you already have the classic look then change it back by using these registry settings

Click start >> run >>type regedit >> click OK
expand th efollowing path
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\(now click on) CabinetState
Value Name: Use Search Asst
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)
Value Data: yes or no

If the dword "Use Search Asst" is not there then you can create it by
right clicking in the right pane >> new >> dword >>name it Use Search Asst

You can also try to scan for spyware.
If you don't ahve a program to do that try one of these free utilities
download adware from this site: 

or you can download spybot at :
Top Expert 2008

Greetings, Wolf037!
  If this is a recent happening, perform a System Restore

How to Restore Windows XP to a Previous State (System Restore)

Best wishes, war1
OWASP: Avoiding Hacker Tricks

Learn to build secure applications from the mindset of the hacker and avoid being exploited.


Repair Windows XP
logged on as an administrator:
Use the System File Checker tool to scan all of the protected files on your computer:
Click Start, and then click Run.
In the Open box, type sfc /scannow, and then click OK.

Note that you may be prompted for the Windows XP or Windows XP Service Pack 1 installation media.
Test to determine if the issue is resolved. If the issue is resolved, skip the remaining steps. If the issue is not resolved, continue to the next step.
Complete an in-place upgrade of Windows XP, a repair of Windows XP, or reinstall Windows XP. For additional information about how to complete an in-place upgrade or repair of Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP;EN-US;315341

How do you perform a reinstallation of Windows XP, sometimes called a repair installation?

Configure your computer to start from the CD-ROM drive. For more information about how to do this, refer to your computer's documentation or contact your computer manufacturer. Then insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer.

When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.
In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

HOW TO: Start the System Restore Tool from a Command Prompt in Windows XP;EN-US;304449

How to Recover from a Corrupted Registry That Prevents Windows XP from Starting;EN-US;307545 

HOW TO: Back Up, Edit, and Restore the Registry in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003;EN-US;322756

HOW TO: Restore the Operating System to a Previous State in Windows XP;EN-US;306084


go to this sites to scan for virus...

Online virus scan:
Symantec (norton)

Housecall Online Scan


I already changed the search assistant to the classic look, but it didn´t solve the problem.
I have installed a number of programs since this happened, and since I don´t know when exactly my search stoped working, i would have to try all system restore points, which are more than 10.
I will try the third answer(checking system files) today after I come from work.
Top Expert 2008

>> I don´t know when exactly my search stoped working, i would have to try all system restore
>> points, which are more than 10.

Use the earliest Restore Point that you have.


Honestly, i´m afraid of the impact on my system restoring to the earliest point could bring. See? I´ve had the blaster worm(like half of the world), and in the "freak out" mood, after i fixed it, i downloaded all of microsoft patches, including SP1 plus 60 updates. The earliest point i got is BEFORE the blaster worm, and that was about a month ago! Since then i´ve installed/deinstalled a number of programs which i don´t remember and i fear that if I restore, most of them will be truncated/making problems in my pc, like some virtual cd rom emulators, so maybe it would solve the problem, but i´d have a dozen more problems to solve.
So i´d have to say no to trying that, I´m sorry.


Now i´ve made it worse. I discovered that if i clicked on "Find word documents, excel spreadsheets, etc."(sorry if the items don´t exactly match the translation, but i got windows in spanish), and then instead of entering a word document, for eg. i entered a name with the extension (like "*.bas") then the search worked fine and without hanging. After i edited the registry and entered the Dword value 0, the search window now closes the second after it opens. I changed back that entry to the way it was, but now the search window closes as soon as it popups. Arrgh.
I´m really annoyed by the fact that windows is the only operating system that just installing 400 programs on it will probably mess it up and the fastest way to get your system running back up is formatting or reinstalling because the system doesn´t even give concrete and tangible signals about what´s wrong or what´s causing the problem.
I really don´t care about having to read tons of books in the process, but I´m switching to linux next month... i promise.
Scuse me about the ranting, but that´s how i feel right now.

Commented: ...... if you want to try a bandaid on the wounds. It's free.


This thread is getting old and i still got that problem. I´m NOT formatting only coz the search page is not working, but i will give the points to qfren for taking the time to build up that nice explanation on how to perform a repair install. It isn´t exactly what i asked for, but the road will eventually lead me there. :)


Formatting won't solve the problem!

I have this problem for some time now.. i'm running WinXP Pro on Intel P4 & Intel M/B. tried everything but nothing worked.. two days ago i formatted my friend's PC and just after the installation is done i tried searching for a file.. i got the same problem!! my friend's PC has same specifications as mine.

its too early to say that the hardware is causing this problem.. but it seems its the only reason left.. maybe i'll try it later on another PC with different specifications and check.

WAIT!! If you're running Tweak UI for Windows XP I might be able to help here!  I was having the same problems and FINALLY stumbled upon this site ( ).  If you want the quick and dirty just open your Tweak UI (in the Control Panel is easiest I think) and go to Desktop and select the Search Results option; that's it!  After making the suggested change I was back in business and didn't have to restore to an earlier point or make any other radical changes.  Even though selecting the Search Results is reported to place some kind of icon on the desktop (which I didn't want) it didn't do it on my system.  A note at the top states that it might NOT put an icon on the desktop so it worked out great for me!  Hope this does the trick for you!

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