How to Disable Web Search in Windows 10 - Spring Update 2018
The Windows 10 Spring Update (2018) no longer lets you disable web search in Start which can lead to Microsoft tracking applications and documents and potentially leaking sensitive information to the web. Here is a fix to disable web searches in the start menu.
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Users started reporting that Windows 10 Search was not working shortly after the release to Microsoft Windows 10 called the Spring Update. They report that Windows 10 search doesn't find files and instead offers web search results. I have also seen this - searching for a program already installed on my computer I get web results listing the company website and where to download the program. Some programs, despite being installed and used, do not show up in the start menu search - again web results, app store links and even the file in the downloads directory show - but not the shortcut to run the program.
Before the update these are the setting you need to change to disable web serach. Scroll down to find out how to disable web search after the spring update.
Select the search box in Windows 10's taskbar. Cortana's greeting and news feed results should appear. Click the settings cog.
Now Toggle "Cortana can give you suggestions . . . " to off as well as "Search online and include web results" to off.
The search box will now say "Search Windows" instead of "Ask me anything." It will be quicker to respond and only show results from your hard drive or local network.
Disable Web Search in Windows 10 using Group Policy
If you are running Windows 10 Professional versions 1607 to 1709 you can use the Group Policy Editor to disable web searching.
- Start the Local Group Policy Editor
- Browse to the policy under
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
- Set Allow Cortana to Disable
- Set Do not allow web search to Enabled
- Set Don't search the web or display web results in Search to Enabled
- Click Apply and close the policy editor
Since the Spring Update the polices do not work any more. Follow the steps below to fix web searching in Windows 10.
How to Disable Web Search after Spring Update
Now that Microsoft broke Windows 10 search, there is a registry fix you can apply to restore the functionality however it is not as simple as the previous steps. All that is required is to create a few entries in the registry to disable web search in Windows 10.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search] "BingSearchEnabled"=dword:00000000 "AllowSearchToUseLocation"=dword:00000000 "CortanaConsent"=dword:00000000
These entries are not present by default so you need to create them, and you can safely delete them should you want to revert back. I would recommend creating a system restore point before doing any registry modifications, just to be safe. A reboot might be required after you make these changes for them to take effect.
You can download a registry fix below. Simply save the link to your computer and double-click the file. It will ask if you want to allow the app to make changes to your device, so click yes, then yes again on the next dialogue. It will then add the keys and values to the registry. Reboot for the changes to take effect.
It's not yet clear if this is a bug Microsoft introduced, or if they are in the process of forcing web updates but for now here is a workaround you can use to disable web search in Windows 10.
Last updated on: Saturday 23rd June 2018