The search box is a prominent feature in Microsoft Windows 10. It is that large rectangle in the lower-left corner of your Windows 10 Desktop. If you are an old guy set in his ways, like me, you may not use that search box much, but some users swear by it.
However, even if you don't often rely on the search box in Windows 10, it would seem prudent to go over at least a few things about it. So with that in mind, here are five things you should know about how the Windows 10 search box works.
Note: This topic was suggested by a TechRepublic member who was confused by the results he was getting from Windows 10 search. We welcome questions from members and will always try to produce answers, especially when we think the information will help all TechRepublic members.
As one might expect, the default search engine for Windows 10 is Bing. Because Bing is so integrated into Windows 10, as well as into the Edge web browser, it only makes sense that it is the default. I don't think we can criticize Microsoft for using its own search engine. However, since I am sure you are wondering, as far as I can tell there is no way to switch to another search engine anyway.
2. Safe search
With Bing working as our default search engine, we have to consider the settings found under Safe Search (Figure A). This is where you can decide whether you want to filter results for inappropriate content—in other words: "not safe for work." You can also localize your search results by providing specific location information.
3. Web Results
When you conduct a Windows 10 search, you get a list of mixed results (Figure B). If you look closely at the bottom of the list, you will see two navigation buttons. The Web Only button will open your default web browser, take you directly to Bing, and show you only the web search results. On the other hand...
4. My Stuff
...The My Stuff navigation button will expand your results page to show you results categorized by several filters. You can look at results filtered to show only documents, or by device, by folder, or even by just photos (Figure C). You can also change the order of the results to be displayed by date rather than by relevance.
5. Some searches are forgotten
Probably the most important thing to know about Windows 10 search is that the My Stuff searches are never saved. By that I mean that if you perform a search and then click a document in the results, the search results close and are forgotten. If you want to get back to the list because the document you opened wasn't the one you wanted, you will have to restart the search. Unlike Bing or Google Search, you can't just click the back button to see your search results again.
This behavior is what prompted the question from our TechRepublic member. He thought he must be doing something wrong. Why would Microsoft program it so that Windows 10 forgets your searches?
Microsoft has placed a renewed interest in getting user feedback about Windows 10 and what can be done to improve it. The ability to keep a search active until we actually find what we are looking for seems like a good idea for one of those improvements. But until then, this is how search works in Windows 10.
- Windows 10: The smart person's guide
- How to upgrade to Windows 10: A step-by-step walkthrough
- Windows 10 and Edge: How Microsoft's new browser could soon challenge Chrome
- Microsoft purges Ballmer strategy for one that works
- Launch a pilot program to work out Windows 10 wrinkles before you deploy (Tech Pro Research)
Do you use the Windows 10 search box often? Have you been frustrated because you have to start searches over until you find what you are looking for? Share your experiences and advice with fellow TechRepublic members.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.