The blog of Windows Wally, a Windows Support Technician helping common people solve frustrating computer problems.



How To Fix Windows Search Service In Windows 8.1

Reader Question:
“Hi Wally, Let me just say that I love the Windows search feature. I like how you can just press the WindowsLogo Key and type something to make it appear in an instant. Thats why I’ve been having a lot of trouble since it stopped working. I’m using a Windows 8.1 laptop, please help!” – Laura R., USA

Before addressing any computer issue, I always recommend scanning and repairing any underlying problems affecting your PC health and performance:

  • Step 1 : Download PC Repair & Optimizer Tool (WinThruster for Win 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP and 2000 – Microsoft Gold Certified).
  • Step 2 : Click “Start Scan” to find Windows registry issues that could be causing PC problems.
  • Step 3 : Click “Repair All” to fix all issues.

Setting up weekly (or daily) automatic scans will help prevent system problems and keep your PC running fast and trouble-free.

Wally’s Answer: The Windows Search Service is responsible for extracting and organizing data from documents stored on the computer. It returns results of search queries in a presentable way. This service usually works without fail but some users have encountered the error saying that the “Windows Search service” could not start. Here we will see how to fix this problem.

Problem

Windows 8.1 shows the following error(s):

Windows could not start the Windows Search service on Local Computer.

Error 2: The system could not find the file specified

Solution

Here are some ways to fix thus problem:

Use The Trusty Old SFC System File Check

The SFC / SCANNOW command looks for damaged Windows system files and replaces them.

  1. Use Windows Key+X > Click Command Prompt (Admin)
  2. In Command Prompt window, type sfc /scannow
  3. Press Enter

Use The Windows Search Service Troubleshooter

The Windows Search Troubleshooter looks for problems with the search function and tries to fix them. Since we cannot use the Windows 8 search feature for this, we will be navigating the menus to get to where we need to be.

  1. Use Windows Key+X > Click Control Panel
    Search service - Windows key + X - Control Panel -- Windows Wally
  2. In the Control Panel window, click Category, and select Small icons
    Search service - Control Panel - Small Icons -- Windows Wally
  3. Scroll down and click Troubleshooting
    Search service - Control Panel - Small Icons - Troubleshooting -- Windows Wally
  4. In the Troubleshooting window, click View All
    Search service - Control Panel - Small Icons - Troubleshooting - View All -- Windows Wally
  5. Click Search and Indexing from the list
    Search service - Control Panel - Small Icons - Troubleshooting - View All - Search and Indexing -- Windows Wally
  6. Click Next and follow the instructions to troubleshoot the problem
    Search service - Control Panel - Small Icons - Troubleshooting - View All - Search and Indexing - 2 -- Windows Wally

Undo Changes To The Windows 8 Registry

The Windows Search service problem is usually caused by changes made to the registry. These changes may have been made by a third-party software for whatever reason. A change made to important Folder Path References results in the computer not being able to find the file. Here’s how to fix this manually.

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the RUN dialog
  2. Type regedit and press Enter
  3. In the Registry Editor window,
  4. Go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search
  5. Right click FileChangeClientConfigs > Rename
    Search service - regedit - filechangeclientconfigs -- Windows Wally
  6. Change its name to FileChangeClientConfigs.Bkp
  7. Close the Registry Editor window and Restart your computer

When your computer starts:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the RUN dialog
  2. Type services.msc and press Enter
    Search service - RUN - services.msc -- Windows Wally
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and right-click Windows search
    Search service - services - Windows Search -- Windows Wally
  4. Click Restart to restart the service.

This way Windows will make the new FileChangeClientConfigs entry when it tries to find the old one and is unable to find it (because we renamed it). This should solve the problem. If it doesn’t then try the next troubleshooting method.

Make Windows 8.1 Rebuild The Search Index

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the RUN dialog
  2. Type regedit and press Enter
  3. In the Registry Editor window,
  4. Go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search
  5. When you click Windows Search you will notice that some “files” appear on the right hand side.
  6. If it does not exist then, Right-click in the right pane > New > DWORD (32 bit) Value
  7. Name this value as SetupCompletedSuccessfully
  8. Double-click SetupCompletedSuccessfully
    Search service - regedit - SetupCompletedSuccessfully -- Windows Wally
  9. Change its value from 1 to 0
    Search service - regedit - SetupCompletedSuccessfully - change Value -- Windows Wally
  10. Click OK > restart the computer.

When your computer starts:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the RUN dialog
  2. Type services.msc and press Enter
    Search service - RUN - services.msc -- Windows Wally
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and right-click Windows search
    Search service - services - Windows Search -- Windows Wally
  4. Click Restart to restart the service.

I Hope You Liked This Blog Article! If You Need Additional Support on This Issue Then Please Don’t Hesitate To Contact Me On Facebook.

Is Your PC Healthy?

I always recommend to my readers to regularly use a trusted registry cleaner and optimizer such as WinThruster or CCleaner. Many problems that you encounter can be attributed to a corrupt and bloated registry.

Happy Computing! :)

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About the Author

Windows Wally is a helpful guy. It’s just in his nature. It’s why he started a blog in the first place. He heard over and over how hard it was to find simple, plain-English solutions to Windows troubleshooting problems on the Internet. Enter: Windows Wally. Ask away, and he will answer.