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I love the Start menu Search in Windows 7.

Usually, for me, the first search result is always the one I want, but annoyingly, the default selection is always "Show more results". I understand why and what its uses are, but I'd like to know if there's a way I can have the search always highlight the first result instead so I can simply press "Enter" and not have to use the arrow keys or the mouse.

I thought about Googling this, but I was unsure how to phrase it in a way that makes sense.

I'm comfortable editing the Registry if that's what's needed.

See the image for clarification: I've typed "i lived.mp3" and it highlights not the first result, but "See more results" instead.

enter image description here

share|improve this question
strange, the first result is highlighted on my Windows 7 install... – nc4pk Apr 23 '13 at 22:08
I've added an image to clarify, I hope that helps. – Harsha K Apr 23 '13 at 22:13
i get this... what happens if you search for an application? – nc4pk Apr 23 '13 at 22:30
You're right, it works fine for applications. I don't understand why it's not working for files. – Harsha K Apr 23 '13 at 22:44
@Harsha K: what is the theme? – Little Helper Apr 24 '13 at 17:29
up vote 3 down vote accepted

By default, Windows 7 selects the first item from the list if it's a 'Program', but not if it's just a File.

I do not think you can change this behavior, however, you can remove the "See more results" option from the list. Sadly, this does not make the first option the default selection - instead it makes pressing 'Enter' do nothing. Not ideal, but it does prevent accidentally picking 'See more results' and it lets you select the first item in the list with 1 less 'down' key press.

To remove the "See more results" option, go here, or manually add a DWORD named NoSearchEverywhereLinkInStartMenu with a value of 1 to key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer].

Also, Win7 will auto-select any file which is in the 'StartMenu' location - so if you just have a few commonly used files that you want to be auto-selected for you, you can create shortcuts to them in your %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu folder. Those shortcuts will show up as 'Programs' in the Start Menu and therefor can be auto-selected.

This 'Shortcuts to non-Program in StartMenu Folder' trick can be semi-automated with the use of a 3rd party utility called ShortPopUp (or others). I have a few shortcuts to ShortPopUp (with an ini config file as a cmdLine parameter) which generates menus for certain commonly-used document folders. This allows keyboard-only navigation for many of my commonly used files.

share|improve this answer
Thank you. I've picked this as the answer because it explains why its happening. I appreciate the regedit, it worked great, and I guess it's better than nothing. – Harsha K Apr 24 '13 at 18:58
This makes me sad.. I have an excel file I use all the time and it won't highlight my shortcut. Maybe I'll see if it'll work if I make a BAT file? – abelito Nov 14 '13 at 13:30
abelito - Win7 will auto-select any file which is in the 'StartMenu' location - so if you just have a few files you want it to auto-select for you, create shortcuts to them in your "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu" folder and those shortcuts will show up as 'Programs' in the Start Menu and therefor can be auto-selected! – Thracx Dec 6 '13 at 17:52

it seems like a problem with some of your programs.. You might have some sort of plugin that messes it up.

It works as you describe out of the box.

share|improve this answer
It appears to work for Applications, but nothing else. – Harsha K Apr 23 '13 at 22:44

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