Windows 10 Can’t Open Apps in Search Bar

5 mins read. February 21, 2018 Windows 10   Cortana   Problem Solving   Powershell   Microsoft Tech

Windows 10 Can’t Open Apps in Search Bar
Source: Cortana / Microsoft / Halo

So, I’m stuck with using Windows 10 at work. I would like to use a Macbook, hell I would even buy a Macbook to only work with it at work…

So, I’m stuck with using Windows 10 at work. I would like to use a Macbook, hell I would even buy a Macbook to only work with it at work. But… policy is Windows. So I just deal with it. Windows is not a bad OS it just has some shortages and flaws in like all of the code. < !–more –> And yes, I love working on Macbooks. Not only because they just work, it seems like OS X just really works better.

So yes I guess I’m a Mac lover, but I’m not a real Windows hater. But lately I had this problem on Windows that really annoyed me!

So I searched and searched until I found a solution (kind of).

So I love Shortcuts. Why use your mouse when you can use shortcut keys! Shortcut keys are much faster when you know them.

And why search for applications when you can shortcut search and open them right from your keyboard. Both Windows and OS X have a way to fast open applications without going mouseclick by mouse click in the start menu.

If you press the windows key on your keyboard and start typing the application name, windows will search for it very quickly and with the press of the ENTER key it will start.

On OS X the same works by pressing CMD+Space. Type the name and after ENTER the app will start.

But Windows has a problem. The problem is called Cortana. As she is supposed to be an AI sometimes she brakes things. And when she is broken she creates a number of Windows problems. Like unable to type in the searchbox when pressing the windows key.

So I could actually type in the searchbar… but when Cortana found the application I could not click it! Pressing ENTER was also not working. I saw the application but I could not open it.

When I was going thru the startmenu manually and I clicked the same application it would just open.

As this was really annoying I started searching the web.

I found many many posts!

  • Windows 10 can’t click search bar
  • Can’t type in cortana search box
  • Can’t type in Windows 10 search bar
  • Windows 10 — Can’t Open Apps From Search Bar
  • Windows 10 64bit, can’t type in search bar / start menu

And none of them came with a working solution apart from reinstalling Windows

  1. Yes yes I’ve tried turning it off and on again.

The IT Crowd

So as I was almost going to ask the IT Crowd at work for help I found a solution. So… a kind of Solution.

There are 3 kind of solutions. And I have to tell you upfront… one of them will work, but the problem seems to re-appear after a while.

The problems seems to be with Cortana. She’s a stubborn AI and sometimes she just breaks things. Like the searchbar.

Since Cortana is a system application she cannot be uninstalled like other applications. You also cannot remove the settings folder in your user profile because the SYSTEM account constantly has open file handles to this folder.

First solution Searching apps windows 10

So I’m not sure if this will work, but it is one of the most easiest options.

  • Press Win + R (to open Run )
  • copy paste and press enter to run this program.

    C:\Windows\system32\ctfmon.exe

  • it brings back the language bar and for me it allowed me to type in windows search, start menu and WINDOWS 10 apps again

I think it could solve your problem due to a missing Language bar.

So this solution is somewhat more complicated and you can do it two ways.

The first easy one is where you have admin rights on your pc. I’ve you do not have admin rights you try the second one but you have to be fast.

Easy way, with admin rights!

  1. Create a new administrator on your Window 10 and sign in as that user
  2. Delete (or rename) C:\Users<PROBLEM USER>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
  3. Sign back in as the PROBLEM USER
  4. Open PowerShell as an admin and type (or paste)
Add-AppxPackage -Path “C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\Appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register

No Admin rights? No problem, you just have to be fast

  1. Delete (or rename) C:\Users<PROBLEM USER>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
  2. You cannot delete everything here because of system rights
  3. Try to rename as many files as you can and then delete them
  4. Open Taskmanager and find Cortana
  5. Have open 2 windows, one explorer with the file you cannot delete and one with taskmanager -> Cortana
  6. End Cortana (The bitch will restart really fast so be quick with the next step)
  7. Rename the file (if you are not fast enough Cortana will block this, so try again)
  8. Delete C:\Users<PROBLEM USER>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
  9. Open PowerShell as an admin and type (or paste)
Add-AppxPackage -Path “C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\Appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register

So, this last solution of solving the typing or searching or clicking in the search bar is not tested by me. But you seem to be able to use it when removing the Cortana files in the above mentioned solutions.

Just open PowerShell and type (or paste)

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

Now you can do two things. Restart you pc and see if it works again, or delete (or rename) C:\Users<PROBLEM USER>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy

If all fails

Well you can always try to reinstall Windows 10 or end up buying a computer with a real grown up OS like a Macbook, Macbook Pro or iMac.

Good luck! Let me know if one of the solutions helped you!