How do I get search in Windows XP back to the way it was in Windows 2000, in one step?

What is the easiest way to do this?

WinXP Search to Win2k Search

  • 2
    get a copy of windows 7 ;)
    – pavsaund
    Jul 25, 2009 at 21:43
  • Or... get a copy of Windows 2000. As usual, I don't see any reason to upgrade Windows if you must have it in the first place.
    – Neil
    Aug 5, 2009 at 15:33
  • 2
    That dog must die
    – Pitto
    Mar 8, 2011 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


You can click 'Change Preferences' and select 'Without an animated screen character' to remove the dog. To get the more Win2K-like behaviour (ie jumping directly to the 'Search for files and folders' dialog), set the 'Change files and folders search behaviour' preference to 'Advanced'. This effectively saves you the trouble of having to click 'All files and folders'.

  • Oops, I meant how would one get it back to the way it was in Windows 2000... I've updated the question.
    – Neil
    Jul 25, 2009 at 23:23
  • Updated my answer with the additional preference change to skip the initial 'what do you want to search for' dialog.
    – Polsy
    Jul 26, 2009 at 11:29
  • 2
    +1 for not directly editing the registry. Jul 26, 2009 at 14:34
  • This gets you almost there, but you have to either edit the registry or download Windows Powertoys and click the classic search option. Editing the registry is easier because it takes about 10 seconds and is unambiguous.
    – Neil
    Jul 26, 2009 at 16:38

You can download Windows XP Powertoys and disable the search, but here's an easier way:

Copy this text into a text file: disable-search.reg (Only the extension matters)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
"Use Search Asst"="no"

Then double-click the .reg file and say "Yes" when Windows asks you if you want to enter that into the registry.

As an alternative that Michael Kohne pointed out, you can simply delete the "Use Search Asst" key entirely.

This will restore Windows 2000 classic search for the current user only.

  • To revert to old behavior you can either set the value to 'yes', or you can remove it entirely. Jul 26, 2009 at 0:08

I prefer using the command line:

Open cmd.exe (Start > Run > "cmd"), and enter:

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState /v "Use Search Asst" /t REG_SZ /d "no" /f

To get the dog back (and return registry to original state), enter:

reg delete HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState /v "Use Search Asst" /f

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