You know the handy search bar on the top right of Explorer. I find it irritating that it always remembers search terms. I feel like, people can easily intrude into my computer since they know what documents I'm searching for.

Is there any way to disable it?

  • 1
    Although this is one way to prevent people knowing what you do on the computer, there are many others (last accessed datetime, most recent docs in Word, Excel, ...) . If they have physical access to your computer, they can do what they want anyway.
    – Snark
    Nov 26, 2009 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


The history is kept at the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ WordWheelQuery

I have found no GUI way to disable search history, but you should have luck if you right click on the registry folder and change the permission to "everyone" and deny all, then, Windows will fail to write/remember your search history.

I have tested this inside of a Virtual Machine and whilst I can't see the future (I wish!), I cannot see any application / security logs coming up - it seems a perfect way of doing this as it simply blocks the system from writing any changes. What you can even do is just give read permission and deny write/Full control, then you can pre populate the search with just a few options.

  • I can confirm this works and does not leave any warnings in the event log - can't 100% say, but it looks like a safe way to do this. You can even just give read permission if you want and pre populate the search box with just a few options... Think I will do this on my machine! Nov 26, 2009 at 8:36

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