Windows 10 (and various Windows before it) includes a short cut for opening programs by pressing on the Windows Key then typing the program you want to open. This typically works very well, but I've been having more problems with it lately (especially with 10).

In the past, I had issues with opening R (the statistical package), since "R" tends to match with a lot of things (for me classically Adobe Reader -- a program no one really just wants to open by itself). I just bit my tongue and learned to type "R", "down arrow", "enter." Nowadays, Windows 10 is giving me issues when opening Chrome. When I click the Windows Key and type "chrome" the best match returned is a chrome app (Workflowy, to be specific). Google Chrome is the second best match.

So enough is enough -- how can I tell Windows that when I type "R" I want "R x64" and when I type "chrome" I want "Google Chrome"? Or does Windows really just know what's best for me?

3 Answers 3


This isn't a way to reprioritize the Best Match suggestions, rather a way of excluding apps you never want to start using Ctrl + Esc > typing > selecting a Best Match suggestion

To remove a Best Match item from the start pop-up bar, (such as Adobe Reader), perform the usual Best Match lookup using Ctrl + Esc > typing the app name then right click on the right-arrow and choose Open File Location.

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This will open up File Explorer with the location of the app shortcut for the Start Menu that you wish to remove from Best Match.

Delete this shortcut. (Or move it someplace else.)

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Try your Ctl+Esc > type app name > Best Match search. The app you want to exclude should no longer be there.

  • Since there is no better way this is the only way. And it works well: Renaming the trouble shortcut, doing a search and immediately renaming the shortcut back kept the item away from the search results.
    – joh
    Oct 12 at 5:01

This is a Community Wiki answer, feel free to add your own research.

I couldn't find any documentation on how the "best match" feature works. In fact, I didn't even find an official announcement of the feature from Microsoft.

Judging from this post on Microsoft-News.com, the feature was automatically released sometime before September 4, 2015.

In my observation, Best Match will include:

  • System-registered apps with shortcuts in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Dropbox

  • User-created shortcuts for applications (.exe), when placed in C:\Users\Leven\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

  • Documents in indexed locations

I couldn't find a way to include document shortcuts, regardless of location.


If you click the settings cog in the search menu, you can access the indexing options which will allow you to customize which folders it will use to display files. Select modify and then de-select the folders that have files you don't want to pop up.

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