My automatic Windows updates kept failing, so I installed the latest Windows 10 update from Microsoft (in-place upgrade). But now, my Start Menu search doesn't work at all, and my search inside an Explorer window doesn't work properly. Start Menu works, as long as I don't type anything (no search, but otherwise I can use the Start menu). my start menu search. Sometimes I can type something in the box, but not always. However, it never works.

The Start Menu search (and explorer window search) works fine in the other Windows account on this computer. Both accounts are administrator accounts.

What I tried:

  • Restarting.
  • Windows Troubleshooter -- search and indexing
  • Restarting Windows Search service
  • Rebuilt windows 10 search index using control panel "indexing options"

Since it's only a problem in one account, can I "reset" the account settings somehow? Is deleting %appdata% for this user inadvisable?

  • “Is deleting %appdata% for this user inadvisable?” - This doesn’t “reset” Windows. This just deleted your installed application data. Deleting the contents of AppData will not solve your Start Menu issue.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 8, 2020 at 0:12

1 Answer 1


Start Menu search doesn't work at all [for the current user] .....
The Start Menu search (and explorer window search) works fine in the other Windows account on this computer

That is a problem with the current user profile and profile problems cannot be repaired. It is necessary to replace the profile.

Either make a new profile with a close but different user name as one option.

Or, as another option:

  1. Log in as the problem user.

  2. Copy the documents, data, email, favorites, and all to organized folders on a USB Drive.

  3. Ensure everything is copied.

  4. Sign in as a different and admin user (can be local or Microsoft Account).

  5. Delete the problem user (this is why double checking the copy first). In Advanced Systems Settings (My Computer, right click, Properties), delete the User Profile.

  6. Restart.

  7. Log in as Admin and make the problem user account. If a Microsoft Account, use Start, Settings, Accounts, Email and Accounts to make a new Account.

  8. Log in as the now new user.

  9. Recover the data you had saved.

That should do it.

  • This sounds like it would work. I can't really use a "close but different" user name, for my case... Because I don't want to use a local account, I want to use use a Microsoft account email address, and in that case, windows chooses the user name, correct? Do any of the instructions above change, knowing that I want to use a Microsoft account?
    – Eddified
    Nov 8, 2020 at 5:30
  • The above works for a Microsoft Account and I amended my Answer. In Step 7, Use Settings, Accounts and add a Microsoft Account.
    – John
    Nov 8, 2020 at 12:27
  • 1
    "and in that case, windows chooses the user name, correct?" - Nope; You can create the account, then connect it to your Microsoft Account, you can make the user profile directory anything you want (within reason). In fact, you don't need a new user, you can simple disconnect the Microsoft Account from the current profile. When prompted for a profile name, choose the name you want, then after logging back into the account connect the Microsoft Account to the account.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 8, 2020 at 12:30
  • This seems like an insane (it's a nuclear option akin to reinstalling the OS) solution for what should be a solvable problem. What sort of problem could occur with a user account to unrecoverably break windows search?
    – zeel
    Jan 22, 2021 at 16:00
  • Broken profiles are common. There are so many needles in a profile that finding the exact one might never happen. Faster and easier just to replace a profile. I have not seen a better solution.
    – John
    Jan 22, 2021 at 16:09

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