Windows Explorer search bar missing --better solution?

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!
LVL 11
ugebAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

aadihCommented:
(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.
ugebAuthor Commented:
How will this help? I'm getting the search bar on some windows.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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
PMI ACP® Project Management

Prepare for the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® exam, which formally recognizes your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques.

ugebAuthor Commented:
There's nothing wrong with my file system.  Why do you want me to Run SFC /SCANNOW?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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
ugebAuthor Commented:
Ran sfc but it didn't find any issues.
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
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

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Sasha KranjacAzure & Security Otaku, MVP, MCT, CEICommented:
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.
ugebAuthor Commented:
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)?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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
ugebAuthor Commented:
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/
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
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.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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
ugebAuthor Commented:
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.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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
ugebAuthor Commented:
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.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 7

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.