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 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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