Easy Fixes: Windows Explorer Search Not Working

Windows Explorer search not working? Refer to this article that provides several feasible fixes and introduces how to find deleted files to solve your problems.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Why is Windows Search Not Working? Where to find my deleted files?

Try to search for something in File Explorer, but it returned no results? Know your files are there in a specific folder, but the Windows Explorer search is not working correctly?

Or, you cannot find your wanted files using File Explorer, and you suspect they were deleted, but you don't know how to find them? Don't be upset. You are not the only one who has met the issue.


Windows Search Not Finding Files


I've always had a problem with searching files. If I "search this PC" and type in a folder or file name, nothing ever comes up. It just says "working on it" forever as the little bar moves.


- Question from TenForums


Considerable users are suffering from the "pain" of being unable to find what they want in their File Explorer window. You may have known or used some tools to repair Windows 10 when your PC had issues.

Now, this article aims to give feasible fixes applying to all-inclusive situations; even if you cannot find deleted files, you could get help.


Solution: Windows Explorer search not working issue

Several fixes could help you fix the problem of the File Explorer search not finding files. Most of them are pretty easy to operate, but please be careful still.

Fix 1. Restart Windows File Explorer

If the search process is running into some errors, you can restart it first. There are two ways to achieve so.

>> Click Close search to end the searching process, close the window manually, and start the File Explorer.


>> Right-click the Windows toolbar, choose Task Manager, select Windows Explorer, and then click Restart.


Then check if you have fixed the File Explorer search not working issue. You could also use this method to fix copy and paste not working issue.

Fix 2. Change the Index Options

If you are sure the files are actually there, but they are not showing in the Windows search results, maybe the folder is not indexed. Try to change the indexed options to fix it.

Step 1. Start File Explorer > type anything in the search box to launch the search process > click Advanced options > Change indexed locations.


Step 2. Come to the Indexing Options window > Advanced.


Step 3. Select new > add the folder into the indexing locations.


And then restart the File Explorer to see if the search is running correctly.

Fix 3. Utilize the Troubleshoot feature

Microsoft provides a troubleshooting feature to help users manage and maintain their machines.

Common computer problems, such as problems of search and indexing, audio playback, printer, power usage, etc., are fixable using this tool.

Step 1. Start Control Panel by inputting the control panel in the Windows search box or pressing Win+R and input control. Then click Category > Small icons.


Step 2. Click Troubleshooting.


Step 3. View all.


Step 4. Tap Search and Indexing.


Step 5. Select all that apply > Next.


And then follow the instructions to fix it.

Fix 4. Make sure your wanted files are not hidden

Files hidden may also explain why file explorer search is not finding files. You may have accidentally hidden those files you want, or viruses have infected the computer.

Viruses can hide, modify, move, delete, or encrypt your important data. Therefore, it is suggested to enable Virus & threat protection to protect your files.


Scanning and removing viruses could also help you when double click won't open files in Windows 10.

If you are using Windows 7, there is a different operating process to show hidden files in Windows 7.

Step 1. Start File Explorer.

Step 2. View > Options > View> Show hidden files, folders, and drives.


In this way, you could access the hidden files.

Fix 5. Check the Windows search service

A Windows program named Windows service runs in the background. Typically, it does not run under users' interactive control; but users could manually modify the service settings.

Windows search service is one of the services running in the background. You could go and check if this service is running correctly.

Step 1. Press Win+R to launch the Run window > input services.msc > OK.


Step 2. Locate Windows Search > check if the status is Running. If not, click Start.


By starting the Windows search service, you could fix the Windows Explorer search not working issue.

You could also use it to check why File History service is not accessible.

Fix 6. Allow the files on the drive to be indexed by contents

When searching files, you may search for them by filename, content, extensions, etc. If you found File Explorer search not finding files when you search them by the contents, then the problem could be the Drive settings.

If you haven't toggled the file content indexing option, you can only search all files on this drive by the filename, the date created, etc.

Step 1. Open File Explorer/This PC > right-click the drive where you have previously stored the wanted files> Properties.

Step 2. General > toggle the Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties.


How to find deleted files?

Multiple solutions above can help you fix the Windows Explorer search not working issue when the files are still on your drive.

But what if you have already accidentally deleted the files from Windows 10? How to find deleted files?

When you meet data loss, you may think of backups, data recovery services, etc. But to get this fix quickly without difficulties, you might as well use a professional Windows data recovery app, which will be an efficient option.

MyRecover is an eligible one. It is specially designed for Windows users, possessing advanced scanning techs and applying to comprehensive data loss situations, e.g., deletion, formatting, recycle bin emptying, system crash, etc.

Support data recovery from internal/external HDD/SSD/USB/SD card, etc. 
Recover more than 200 types of data, including jpg/png/mp4/avi/wav/mp3/doc/xls/pdf/ppt/html/7z/zip, etc. 
Selectively recover wanted data while scanning. 
Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Please save the recovered data in another drive rather than the original location. 
The program will scan the hard disk with Quick Scan and Deep Scan. The former is for deleted data, while the latter is for missing files.

Step 1. Run the software > Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Sort and search for wanted files using the extensions, filenames, and filters like Type, Size, Path, etc.


Step 3. Choose Deleted files > go to the original file location > select what your need and click Recover x files. If you failed in finding deleted files, go to Other missing files > select specific types to retrieve.


In this way, you could efficiently and quickly find deleted files.


We have explored several feasible solutions to fix the Windows Explorer search not working issue. In general, you could restart the search engine, modify the index options, utilize the troubleshooting feature, and so on.

In addition, if the files were deleted accidentally, you could use a data rescue app to locate them.

It is recommended to utilize backup software for Windows to avoid data loss. Thus you could improve data security in the future.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.