Understanding the Start Menu Search Box

by Barry Dysert
(last updated July 17, 2017)

The Start Menu Search Box is a handy time-saving item. You can often use it to go directly to files and folders without having to go through a laborious navigation process. And since it has search functionality, you can get to files/folders even if you're not exactly sure how they're spelled.

For example, let's say you wanted to bring up the on-screen keyboard. Instead of going to Start | Control Panel | Ease of Access Center and clicking the "on-screen keyboard" link, you could just click Start (or press the Windows key) and type "on" (without the quotes). Immediately a menu appears, and on my system "On-Screen Keyboard" is at the top of the list. I would then press Enter and the on-screen keyboard would launch. This saves a great deal of time, not only because you don't have to move your hands off the keyboard to the mouse, but also because you don't have to navigate through the menus to get to the desired link.

The Search Box does not index everything on your system, but the great thing is that you can get it to index any number of specific files you want to use it with. For example, say that I have a program called "Procexp.exe" that I'd like to use with the Search Box. All I need to do is to create a shortcut to that program, and move the shortcut to this location:

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

In fact, I have set this folder as a "Favorite" (or under “Quick Access” in Windows 10) and every time I come across a file that I want to access via the Search Box, I create a shortcut to that file and move the shortcut to that favorite folder.

 This tip (12820) applies to Windows 7 and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Changing Font Size in a Command Prompt Window

If you work at the command level very much, you may want to change the fonts that are used. You can control what ...

Discover More

Stopping Windows from Creating Thumbs.db Files

Many times, the automatically created Thumbs.db file is more trouble than it's worth. If you want to stop Windows from ...

Discover More

Using Batch Files, Part 3: The IF Command

This tip is part of a series that talks about Windows batch files. It introduces a few more commands you can use in your ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Ending a Frozen Program

Sometimes a program can get 'stuck,' meaning it is no longer responsive and appears to be doing nothing at all. You can ...

Discover More

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Hopefully you'll never find yourself in a situation where you need to restart your computer in Safe Mode. If you do, ...

Discover More

Understanding System Protection

System Protection is an automatic feature of Windows. It uses restore points that can be a virtual lifesaver if an ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.