What is SearchUI.exe and do you need it?

While certain elements of the Windows operating system (such as the system kernel) are essential to make it work, others are less important. If you are trying to lower your system resources, consider disabling some unnecessary system services and processes, although you should understand them first.

A fairly easy-to-understand process is SearchUI.exe. As the name suggests, SearchUI.exe (or SearchApp.exe) is a part of Windows 10’s search functions, specifically the search function that was originally part of the Cortana Personal Assistant† Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is SearchUI.exe (or SearchApp.exe) and should you disable it?

SearchUI.exe is the process by which the search bar on your taskbar can work. SearchUI.exe was previously combined with Cortana, Windows 10’s personal assistant, but was removed from Cortana in April 2019 in the Windows 19 19H1 update and renamed SearchApp.exe to distinguish it from other components.

As it stands, SearchApp.exe is a typical low-resource process that resides in the background. However, it uses a few resources to ensure that when you hit the search bar at the bottom left, the search menu appears almost immediately, allowing you to search your PC or the web, open certain apps, or change your PC settings.

This is a very simple search tool that relies on other processes (like the Windows Search Indexer) to manage file indexing or web searches, allowing Windows to quickly retrieve files and installed apps when you search for them. As a Windows system process, SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) is completely safe to run and use.

However, if you prefer to disable the search function, you can. You can hide it from view so that the process runs but does not use any of your system resources. Alternatively, you can stop the process and make sure the search function is turned off (temporarily or permanently).

How to hide the search bar on Windows 10

Before you consider disabling SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) on Windows, you may prefer to hide the search bar instead. This ensures that Windows’ search functions remain active and available, but the search bar itself is hidden. The SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) process remains paused but enabled.

  1. To do this, right-click on the search bar (or taskbar) and select To search Hidden from the menu.
  1. To re-enable the search bar at any time, right-click on the taskbar and select To search Show search box. Or select To search Show search icon to keep it out of sight while keeping the search function accessible with a smaller icon.

How to manually stop the Windows 10 search bar process

Windows 10’s search bar (SearchApp.exe or SearchUI.exe) is always active on your PC, even if you hide the search bar from view. However, should it become unstable at any point, then you should stop the process and start it again.

For example, if the search menu itself crashes repeatedly, you may need to end the process to resolve the issue. You can do this with Windows Task Manager or with Windows PowerShell.

Using Task Manager

  1. To stop SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) using the Task Manager, you need to open a new Task Manager window. Right click on the taskbar and select task management to do this.
  1. In the Details tab of the task management window, search for either SearchApp.exe or SearchUI.exe† The app name depends on your version of Windows 10. Once you find the app, right click on it and select the End of task choice.
  1. Task Manager will ask you to confirm that you want to stop the process – select Final Process to do this.
  1. After finishing the running process, select the search bar again. Windows will reopen the SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) process and restore the Search Bar functions.

Using Windows PowerShell

Another way to quickly disable a broken search bar process on Windows 10 is to use Windows PowerShell.

  1. To do this, right-click on the Start menu and select the Windows PowerShell (administrator) choice.
  1. In the new PowerShell window, type taskkill /f /im SearchUI.exe (if your version of Windows uses the SearchUI.exe process) or taskkill /f /im SearchApp.exe (if your version of Windows uses SearchApp.exe), select the Enter key on your keyboard.
  1. running the community service command ends the search bar process. To restore it, select the search bar – Windows will restart the process automatically.

How to disable SearchApp.exe or SearchUI.exe on Windows 10?

The above steps should help you hide or stop the active search bar process, but only temporarily. To prevent SearchApp.exe or SearchUI.exe from running, you need to use the Windows PowerShell to take ownership of and then rename the executable to stop it.

Disable the search bar process

  1. To do this, right-click on the Start menu and select the Windows PowerShell (administrator) choice.
  1. in the new PowerShell window, type cd C:\Windows\SystemApps and select Enter move to the SystemApps folder. Once there you type ls to view a list of subfolders. View the list and determine if you have a Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy or Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy folder listed.

    Type cd Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy or cd Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy (followed by Enter) to now go to the correct folder.

  1. Once PowerShell is in the correct folder, type the following commands in succession to take ownership of the SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) file and rename it.

    If you are in the Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy folder, replace file.exe of SearchUI.exe

    If you are in the Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy folder, replace file.exe of SearchApp.exe instead of. Run these commands one after the other to complete the process:

    • takeown /f file.exe
    • icacls file.exe /grant administrators:F
    • taskkill /f /im file.exe
    • mv file.exe file-old.exe
  1. With the SearchApp.exe (or SearchUI.exe) process stopped and renamed, the search bar no longer works. You need to follow the steps above to open the correct folder and then . typing mv SearchApp-old.exe SearchApp.exe or mv SearchUI-old.exe SearchUI.exedepending on your version of Windows.

Running these commands will stop Windows from opening the search bar process, in fact it will be disabled completely. Unfortunately, it is not (currently) possible to uninstall the app using Windows PowerShell or other tools, so this remains the best method to prevent the app from working on your PC.

Fix search problems on Windows 10

If you prefer to use the Windows search bar to search your PC or the Internet, you should have the SearchUI.exe process running on your PC. However, if you’d rather limit the amount of data Microsoft records about you, it might be best to disable it completely using the methods mentioned above.

If you are experiencing search problems in Windows 10, you may need to fix the problem by rebuilding your search index. If that doesn’t work, maybe you should look at further troubleshooting stepssuch as using the Windows troubleshooter or advanced commands like SFC to restore your system files.

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