Windows 10: Cortana won't index apps except those pre-installed on my laptop

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  1.    25 Feb 2017 #1

    Cortana won't index apps except those pre-installed on my laptop

    If I search for a desktop application or a Windows app in Cortana, Cortana won't find it unless it is one of the ones that came pre-installed on my machine.

    I have seen reports of similar problems from 2015 which were apparently fixed by a Windows update, but I am already many updates beyond that. I have also followed the instructions here involving the command
    Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
    but this didn't help. Any ideas?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    25 Feb 2017 #2

    Hi, have you changed the default Windows search Indexing Options (Windows search indexing)?

    And to note: exe and other executable files are not found by Cortana search, should that be a factor.

    Can you give an example of a failed search string?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    25 Feb 2017 #3

    Thanks for replying.

    No, I haven't touched the search indexing options. Examples of searches that fail are "affinity", which ought to find Affinity Photo, and "sketchable", which ought to find the Windows Store app of the same name. However "skype" and "notepad" both work, these having been preinstalled by the manufacturer.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    25 Feb 2017 #4

    Does a search, using Cortana, of files that are indexed (i.e. not shortcuts in the start menu) give almost instant results?

    And do the items you're trying to find appear on Win 10's start menu?

    This is something others have encountered, as you may have found:
    (no answer!)

    And does the number reported thus:
    You can see how many start menu entries you currently have by running the following from a powershell command box:

    Get-StartApps | measure

    look reasonable?

    Finally for now what's your Windows build?
    Windows key + R, winver
    Last edited by dalchina; 26 Feb 2017 at 02:09.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    25 Feb 2017 #5

    Yes, Cortana indexes my files and folders just fine. The programs I am looking for do appear in the Start menu and that command you gave me says there are about 220 items there, which sounds about right. That page at the Microsoft forum seems to describe my issue exactly. The build is 14393.693.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    26 Feb 2017 #6

    What's the status of the Windows search service? (Should be running, automatic, delayed start)

    Try these steps:
    1. Go to Indexing Options, remove the user folder and the start menu folder (which can be found under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu). To do so, hidden files must be displayed.
    Clicked OK and close.

    Re-open Indexing Options, add the two folders again, click Advanced and enabled "Index encrypted files"; click Rebuild.

    2. Reset Indexing Options to default. Here's a method: How can I make Windows 10 search my settings/control panel items? - Super User

    3. Someone suggested this: Is UAC disabled? If so, re-enable UAC and then rebuild the index.

    4. Another report: After upgrading to Windows 10, Cortana search was not finding applications for me because the Samsung Magician software I installed for my SSD drive was configured to Maximum Reliability mode, which disabled indexing service/search. In order get Cortana to find applications installed on my machine again, I needed to change to Maximum Reliability mode in the Samsung Magician software. This answer will be helpful for anyone with Samsung SSD and Samsung Magician software.

    Source: Cortana Search is not finding applications on Windows 10 - Super User
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    26 Feb 2017 #7

    I couldn't disable start menu searching in indexing options, but I did try to delete the registry keys suggested. However I was not able to do this as administrator. Apparently I need to be logged in as system. I tried using psexec.exe from Sysinternals, but that didn't work. I submitted the link for the alternative registry editor mentioned in the instructions to Virustotal and got some positives. So I'm a bit nervous about continuing trying to delete those registry keys.

    That said, I have discovered that the start menu searching is only broken for one particular user. When I log in as a different user I can find all the applications in the Start menu. This suggests that the indexing itself works. I am wondering whether the problem is connected to me having renamed my user folder (from the name automatically generated by Windows to one that is more meaningful for sharing on my local network). That said, I've had no other problems that I've noticed related to changing the name of my user folder.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    26 Feb 2017 #8

    I finally worked out how to delete the registry entries (right click on the key and change the permissions for system), but they didn't regenerate properly. Whereas before there were many entries in each subkey, now there were only two in each. So I have restored the old keys.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    27 Feb 2017 #9

    Renaming your user folder is destructive.

    Rename user folder?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    27 Feb 2017 #10

    Oh well. Creating a new account and deleting the old account twice is probably the only way to go then And this time I need to make sure I create the final account as a local account first before converting it to my Microsoft account. Thanks very much for your help!
    Last edited by ricecrispies; 27 Feb 2017 at 06:46. Reason: one little thing I forgot
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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