Disabling Windows Search

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  1. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
       #1

    Disabling Windows Search


    I'm creating an image for Desktops/Laptops that clients will be using. We want to lock down the computer as much as possible and I've had some success with Group Policies. The one major thing I would like to disable before I finish is the windows search bar. Even if I disable the search bar function of Cortana and lock the taskbar users can still type after opening the start menu and they can then access things I've blocked via other means like the hard drive.

    I would like to disable searching or at least disable them doing anything from the search bar. I've looked into this a bit and I've seen mention of disabling Cortana but i don't want to do anything that would cause system instability. The computers will be used for our clients in the field and can't easily be re-imaged so I can't have instability.

    Any suggestions?
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  2. hello10's Avatar
    Posts : 204
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #2

    For your reference: How to disable web search in the Windows 10 taskbar. Winaero Tweaker can do the above for you.
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  3. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    So I took a lot at what you provided but that's not what I need. The first link is how to disable web search. I've already done that using Group Policy. I need to disable the local search so people cannot use it to access things I've blocked. I noticed Winaero has an option for disabling Cortana which would solve my problem. I've been told that disabling Cortana causes system instability. How severe is this instability? I cannot have instability on field machines because they aren't easy to re-image.

    Thank You
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  4. hello10's Avatar
    Posts : 204
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #4

    ValueTown said:
    So I took a lot at what you provided but that's not what I need. The first link is how to disable web search. I've already done that using Group Policy. I need to disable the local search so people cannot use it to access things I've blocked.

    Here's another reference.

    I noticed Winaero has an option for disabling Cortana which would solve my problem. I've been told that disabling Cortana causes system instability. How severe is this instability? I cannot have instability on field machines because they aren't easy to re-image. Thank You

    I have disabled Cortana from my 1803 system for at least two months, and so far, I haven't discovered any issue related to it.
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  5. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    So I tried this:

    "This is a puzzle since Windows 8.1. I am afraid that it still cannot be done in Windows 10. I have to admit that the process in Windows 7 is much easier than further Windows since Windows search was a removable feature of previous Windows version and Integrated into shell UI as posted on his reply. Instead of disable that, if you donít want some files show up under search result, it has a variety of group policy for search result control. They are under Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates-Windows Components->search, turn-Off Windows 10 search indexing and Windows search service."

    Didn't work.

    Tried this:

    To disable Windows Search follow these instructions:
    Turn off windows 10 search indexing service (customize, disable)?
    ... or run Services ("services.msc"), select Windows Search, click Properties and set Startup type to Disabled.


    Didn't work.

    Tried this (looked promising):

    Here is how I successfully disabled Windows 10 Search (yes, completely, including the simple [Windows Key] + [Application Name] search that never seems to be disabled regardless of all the other stuff shown). Note, I don't recommend this unless you've tested.

    1. Create a new software restriction policy

    Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Software Restriction Policies -> Additional Rule
    2. Create a new path rule (right-click, New Path Rule...), and add the following path, setting the Security Level to "Disallowed"

    C:\Windows\System32\Search*.exe
    I know the %System32% environment variable should work, but for some reason, it doesn't always, so I put in a manual path. Don't forget all the other Cortana stuff too, but in combination, this is the last step that gets rid of being able to type anything after pressing the Windows key.


    Didn't work.

    I also disabled Cortana using Winareo tweaker and it still didn't work.

    The only one I haven't tried yet is this one:

    Need to rename the " Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy" folder.
    Path: C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
    First Disable tasks "Search" and "Search Background Task Host"
    This will do the job :)


    Because i don't know the tasks he's talking about.

    For reference i want people to be unable to do stuff like this:

    Disabling Windows Search-search.png

    Even with all of the stuff I tried above people can still use that after hitting the start menu and just typing it in. It then lets them access stuff like the hard drive (which I've hidden) or other stuff i don't want them doing. I just want this portion stopped
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  6. hello10's Avatar
    Posts : 204
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #6

    ValueTown said:
    Need to rename the " Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy" folder.
    Path: C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
    First Disable tasks "Search" and "Search Background Task Host"
    This will do the job :)


    Because i don't know the tasks he's talking about.

    The search engines have info on Background Task Host. Here's one.


    Even with all of the stuff I tried above people can still use that after hitting the start menu and just typing it in. It then lets them access stuff like the hard drive (which I've hidden) or other stuff i don't want them doing. I just want this portion stopped

    You, of course, have thought about applying restrictions through user accounts - if it's possible anyway? Or, that's exactly the case?
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  7. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    hello10 said:
    You, of course, have thought about applying restrictions through user accounts - if it's possible anyway? Or, that's exactly the case?
    I've tried doing this but i can't figure out how to do it on windows 10. Do you know what section it's under? All i was able to find was something to restrict them to a single application but some of my clients need more than one.
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  8. hello10's Avatar
    Posts : 204
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #8

    ValueTown said:
    I've tried doing this but i can't figure out how to do it on windows 10. Do you know what section it's under? All i was able to find was something to restrict them to a single application but some of my clients need more than one.

    Right now, off the top of my head, no; but the SRP popped into mind. I don't know if it is applicable to your case, but you might want to consider exploring it. Perhaps, the SRP experts in tenforums could assist you?
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  9. hello10's Avatar
    Posts : 204
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #9

    Then there's also the assigned access to consider. Check out How to Setup or Remove a Kiosk Account using Assigned Access in Windows 10
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  10. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    hello10 said:
    Then there's also the assigned access to consider. Check out How to Setup or Remove a Kiosk Account using Assigned Access in Windows 10
    This is what i was referencing when said i found a way to restrict them to a single application. The problem is a decent number of my clients needs to access more than just google chrome.
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