Monday, October 18, 2021

Disable Windows 10 Search Advertising

This post covers two topics which are similar though separate - File Explorer search box suggestions; and Start Button search advertising.


In Windows 10, the File Explorer shows suggestion pop-ups when you begin to type in the File Explorer search box. While tolerable, it becomes annoying if you frequently search. If you prefer for the File Explorer search box to return search results after you are done typing, the search pop-up functionality may be disabled.

If you have a Windows 10 version with group policy editor, press the Start Button and type: gpedit Run the Edit Group Policy application as administrator. In the group policy editor, go to User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, File Explorer.

Edit the entry for "Turn off display of recent search entries in the File Explorer search box". Choose "Disabled" and press OK button.

The setting should now be Disabled.


A separate issue with Windows 10 is invasive keystroke monitoring and advertising. Press the Start Button and begin to type a program name or file name. Windows 10 will show matching program names, file names, and also provide search engine results. This is like a mini search engine in the Start Button based on your typing and geo-location. If you type "burgers", not only will it search for local programs and files named "burgers", but you will also get a review of where to locally purchase burgers and a map for local burger shops. Microsoft calls this feature Web search.  Many people call it "intrusive and annoying". There does not appear to be an intuitive and easy way to turn off this advertising.

This feature can be turned off with the registry editor. Press the Start Button and type: regedit
Run the Registry Editor application as administrator. The registry key will include Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. (While it appear the key Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer may configure this for all users, it doesn't seem to work.)
Confirm this registry key exists, or add it: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Right-click on the "Explorer" key, and add a new DWORD 32-bit value with name: DisableSearchSuggestions

Set the value to 1.

Reboot the computer and test that the Start Button advertising functionality has been disabled.

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