If you don't like to see extra information the search shows in Windows 11 and Windows 10, you can disable Search Highlights. It is the latest addition Microsoft made to Windows Search to help you explore more.
Search Highlights is a new feature Microsoft introduced for both Windows 11 and Windows 10. For the latter, it is available in version 21H2 starting with build 19044.1618.
So, what it does? Search Highlights replaces the initial contents of the Search pane. Instead of the boring list of recent apps and documents, it includes some interactive data.
It may highlight some global and local events around you, holidays, anniversaries. It may also show you this day in history if there was something notable in the past. For enterprise devices and school computers, Search Highlights will include a people chart and shared files and projects.
Despite displaying all this data, Search luckily retains its primary feature. It is still able to search for files locally, and run online queries via Bing. It still shows the list of recently used apps.
The feature rotates various blocks of information right in the search pane. There are 'this day in history', local and global events, recent docs, and similar stuff.
Obviously, some users aren't happy with these changes and find the updated Windows Search bloated. Luckily, Microsoft offers a simple method to get rid of it. Let's review how to disable Search Highlights in both Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Disable Search Highlights in Windows 11
The easiest way to disable Search Highlights in Windows 11 is the option in the Settings app. Do the following.
- Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
- Click Privacy & security in the left pane.
- On the right, select Search permissions.
- On the next page, disable the Show search highlights option.
You are done. Now open the Search pane by clicking the taskbar button or pressing Win + S. It will look like what it used to be in Windows 10 prior to this change.
Alternatively, you can apply a registry tweak.
Using the Registry tweak
- Download these REG files in the ZIP archive.
- Extract the downloaded tiles to any folder.
- Now, double-click the
Disable_Search_Highlights.regfile to open it.
- Confirm the User Account Control prompt.
You are done. The search highlight feature is now disabled. To undo the change, use the included
Both files modify the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SearchSettings key.
There, they change the IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled 32-bit dword value.
- IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled = 0 - turn off search highlights.
- IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled = 1 - turn on search highlights (default).
Similarly, you can disable it in Windows 10. The option is the same, but it is in a different location.
Turn off Search Highlights in Windows 10
To disable the Search Highlights feature in Windows 10, do the following.
- Open the Settings app using any of the available methods.
- Right-click the taskbar to open its context menu.
- Head over the Search section.
- Now, click the Show search highlights item to clear the checkmark from it.
- Windows Search in Windows 10 will not longer include "Highlights".
It is also worth nothing that you'll be able to reverse the change and re-enable the feature at any moment later by enabling the Show search highlights option in the taskbar menu or in Settings.
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