I want to get the search box back in Windows 7 without having to enable the Windows Search service. Is there a registry key to make it behave like in Vista, so I can just do searches on the fly without having some pesky indexing service running in the background?

3 Answers 3


I want to get the search box back in Win7 without having to enable the Windows Search service.

this is not possible. Windows Search is required for the Search box to function.

however, you can enable Windows Search and disable indexing separately. but searches will be signifacantly slower.

Alternatively, you may want to have a look at Voidtool's Everything, taking Windows desktop search to a whole new level, unrivaled in speed and capability.

Everything is freeware, a portable version is available.

  • "Everything" is hands down the best of the best.
    – Patriot
    Dec 26, 2009 at 20:39
  • Thanks, I enabled windows search in the 'programs' control panel thingie and then I disabled the indexing service (labelled 'Windows search' in the services). It now behaves the way I want (i.e. no indexing, but I do have a search box in windows explorer and can do non-indexed searches on properties and file content).
    – KristoferA
    Dec 29, 2009 at 8:55

You can simply disable the indexing service?

Then, press Alt and go to View > Folder Options and click the Search Tab.

Choose the second option (and anything else you want).

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  • +1. Yep, I ended up installing windows search and then disabling the indexing service.
    – KristoferA
    Dec 29, 2009 at 9:11

There are two pretty simple ways of disabling Windows from Indexing;

  • Navigate to - Start > Search 'Indexing Options' and Open > Click ' Modify' > Click 'Show All Locations' Now de-select anything that you dont want Windows to index. De-selecting everything effectively turns off indexing as Windows has nothing to Index.

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  • The other way to do this is by disabling Indexing on a drive basis. Press Windows Key + E, right-click on the drive you want to disable and select 'Propterties'. Un-tick the box as shown below. This will disable the selected drive from being indexed.

alt text

As far as I know, both of these methods should still let you be able to search in Windows Explorer.

  • Thanks. +1. (I wish there was a way to mark more than one question on this site as the correct answer.)
    – KristoferA
    Dec 29, 2009 at 8:56

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