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Windows Explorer search bar missing --better solution?

Posted on 2014-01-06
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Last Modified: 2014-01-13
Hi,

2-part question.

I have multiple windows explorer windows open, and most -- not all -- of them are missing the search bar (Win 7).

Anyone know what might cause this or how to bring back the bar in a window that's lost it?  I *think* that all my restored windows when I log in are missing the search bar, but newly opened windows have it.

Also, are there any better search utilities out there (that you have used and verified!)?  I've tried search everything, but don't like it very well.  I'd be happy with unix like search utility, but I don't want to install Cygwin.

Ideas?  Thanks!
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Question by:ugeb
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39760964
(1) Go to Control Panel, then, Programs and Features. Click Turn Windows Features on or off.

(2)  Find Windows Search option. If it is checked, uncheck it, and restart; then check it, and restart. If it is unchecked, just check it, and restart.
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Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39760975
How will this help? I'm getting the search bar on some windows.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39761001
Windows Explorer is part of Windows itself.

Try running System File Checker. Run SFC /SCANNOW and allow to complete.  Restart the computer and test.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39761016
There's nothing wrong with my file system.  Why do you want me to Run SFC /SCANNOW?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39761026
System File Checker checks for damaged system files and corrects them. The name is perhaps misleading in that regard. But this is a common way to fix system files.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39761187
Ran sfc but it didn't find any issues.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Dan Craciun earned 500 total points
ID: 39761228
If you like Grep (I do), you have a few options on Windows:
1. free, with GUI: GrepWin http://stefanstools.sourceforge.net/grepWin.html
2. free, but command line: http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/grep.htm
3. expensive, with lots of options: http://www.powergrep.com/

Also, for the missing search box, you can try this suggestions: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/fix-search-box-is-missing-in-windows-7-start-menu-explorer

LE: a friend recommended File Locator Lite: http://www.mythicsoft.com/filelocatorlite

HTH,
Dan
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Expert Comment

by:Sasa Kranjac
ID: 39761369
1. Open Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off.
Turn Windows Search ON. If it is on already, try turning it off, restart, then turn it on again.

2. If above didn't help open registry editor by pressing Windows+R, then type regedit.exe. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer key.
CAUTION: backup registry before changing anything. Right-click on a key you want to back up and click Export. Save the file. To restore the exported registry key simply double-click on the exported file and import the key.
If there is no such key it means Windows Search is enabled. If you find the registry key delete any value in the right pane. Reboot the PC.

3. Although it does not justify the behavior you experience, do a check, just to be on the safe side. Press Windows+R and run gpedit.msc
Go to User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu & Taskbar -> Remove Search Link on Start Menu. The setting should be Disabled or Not Configured.
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Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39764147
Yes, I've tried the resetting of the search switch, but it doesn't change anything.  Any windows that are restored at login are missing the search bar, but new windows aren't.

I really like the grepWin search program, it's fast and effective.  However, I was hoping for a program to find files rather than search through them (though grepWin will come in handy at times!).  Is there a utility -- a findWin or something (keeping with the Unix theme)?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39764156
If you have done all of the above including SFC to no avail then you may need to consider a Windows Repair Install. I would leave this until a convenient moment and make sure you have a good backup of your data.  Here is a Seven Forums Tutorial that explains Window y Repair Install.

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html

Windows 7 search is excellent and so if your system is working, then it should do what you need.

... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 11

Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39764201
I'm working with a new installation so that couldn't be the issue. I'm not sure if hardware could cause such a thing as it seems unlikely, but I can't seem to come up with any other explanations.

I think Win 7 search is extremely limited. I found search in XP to be more intuitive than in Win 7, and I feel they took away much functionality and useability in the "upgrade".  It's good for finding things in a single folder where you know exactly what you're looking for.  Beyond that, I think it's garbage next to the power of a Unix find.  I just need a windows GUI for it. I'm going to give this link a try:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/unxutils/
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39764221
If you liked XP search you'll like this: https://goffconcepts.com/products/filesearchex/index.html

It used to be free for personal use, now I see it's $5, but it works good.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39764793
I'm working with a new installation so that couldn't be the issue. I'm not sure if hardware could cause such a thing as it seems unlikely,

I am not sure why you say Repair Install cannot be the issue. And I agree that it is very unlikely for hardware to be the issue.

The search bar in my Windows 7 system always work just fine. So it is a software issue of some kind. I don't need a 3rd party search tool to fix Windows 7.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39775817
I don't want the 3rd party search tool to fix windows, I want it because the given search tool in Windows is lame.  It is crippled in both design and power.  Search under XP was far better. Maybe you've simply grown used to it, but it is nowhere nearly as good as in XP.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39776223
Whether you like the Windows 7 search or not, it still should work. It is not working here which is the point of the question. That is why, after all the posts, I suggest Repair.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Closing Comment

by:ugeb
ID: 39778265
Unfortunately nothing really fixed the search bar issue.  Repair install didn't work. So, I'm going to have to move on without a resolution.

Dan gave me the link to a couple of nice utilities that I think I'll use.
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