Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Better Desktop Search for Win 8 Apps, Settings, Files Etc?

  1. #1


    Posts : 8
    Windows 8

    Better Desktop Search for Win 8 Apps, Settings, Files Etc?


    After looking around for awhile I finally gave in and registered to get input for others in the Win8 community. I have to say I am very surprised and rather disappointed with the default search features on Windows 8. Especially giving the amount of resource this feature consumes over time.

    To clarify for the purpose of my question here, I am referring to the Search feature from the "Start" Screen when searching Apps, Settings, and Files.

    With that said, does anyone know - Is there an option somewhere or a feature or even an app that can be downloaded to make Windows Search more intuitive or at the least yield better results?? Currently it seems as though you have to type in EXACTLY what you're looking for and even then it does not always bring up results I know exist.

    To give an example of what I mean and what I'm looking for.. 2 scenarios come to mind.

    First would be simply related results such as if I were to search for "Image" OR "Photo" software (if I am searching Apps than "software" Should be a given) and I happen to have software such as Picasa, Photo Viewer, or other imaging programs these should appear... Currently I get nothing.. Many cases identical to this example.

    Another feature that seems basic enough and is currently not happening is understanding simple word or phrase variations. If I search for "Power" OR "Power Point" why the hell shouldn't this result in MS PowerPoint popping up?? But currently you would have to type in EXACTLY "powerpoint" in order to get a result.

    Any ideas??? Thanks in advance! *Crossing Fingers*

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,320
    Server 2012 / 8.0


    Quote Originally Posted by chadmk View Post
    With that said, does anyone know - Is there an option somewhere or a feature or even an app that can be downloaded to make Windows Search more intuitive or at the least yield better results?
    Hello chadmk. Welcome to Eight Forums.

    The Classic Shell is a nice free solution for many.
    There are others of course.

    A List Of Start Menu Replacements for Windows 8

    Search in Windows 8
    Search - Find More with Filters and Operators

    The start screen search can be customized to give better results. In its default configuration, it is limited.
    Hope this helps.

    Welcome to Classic Shell
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 8
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by mdmd View Post
    The Classic Shell is a nice free solution for many.
    There are others of course.

    A List Of Start Menu Replacements for Windows 8

    Search in Windows 8
    Search - Find More with Filters and Operators

    The start screen search can be customized to give better results. In its default configuration, it is limited.
    Hope this helps.

    Welcome to Classic Shell
    Thank you for these suggestions. The Win8 Start Screen has started to grow on me though, so I am not sure if I am ready yet to bail on it altogether. However if I am not able to find a better solution in the "metro" world, the lacking search features may force me to abandon it, at least on my desktop computer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 1,127
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    maybe you need to rebuild your indexes? also, in addition to the automatic indexing, I manually index the folders that I want every single file and its contents to be searchable.

    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    I think I said it in another thread. As you read so often, "Google is your friend". Rather than plough through the store, I google. It is important to put "App" on the end of your search.
    Try " Image app" or "Power point app", in you web browser, and you will see what I mean.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 8
    Windows 8

    Reindexed Search and still having issue


    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyvu View Post
    maybe you need to rebuild your indexes? also, in addition to the automatic indexing, I manually index the folders that I want every single file and its contents to be searchable.
    Thank you for the suggestion. I have also reindexed my Windows 8 Search and waited about a week or so. Although for some reason am still getting the same results.. or rather the lack of results :/

    I am a bit envious to see your screenshots doing exactly what I would expect the Search to do..

    You'll notice in my screenshots, I have to type out exactly what I want before it will appear

    Click image for larger versionClick image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 8
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by davehc View Post
    I think I said it in another thread. As you read so often, "Google is your friend". Rather than plough through the store, I google. It is important to put "App" on the end of your search.
    Try " Image app" or "Power point app", in you web browser, and you will see what I mean.
    Not just looking to search "apps", speaking about searching alreading existing apps and software installed on the computer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by chadmk View Post
    First would be simply related results such as if I were to search for "Image" OR "Photo" software (if I am searching Apps than "software" Should be a given) and I happen to have software such as Picasa, Photo Viewer, or other imaging programs these should appear... Currently I get nothing.. Many cases identical to this example.

    Another feature that seems basic enough and is currently not happening is understanding simple word or phrase variations. If I search for "Power" OR "Power Point" why the hell shouldn't this result in MS PowerPoint popping up?? But currently you would have to type in EXACTLY "powerpoint" in order to get a result.
    Normally I get results directly after typing the first 2 - 3 letters of a program.
    I've also seen weird things (nothing found what I needed...) but once I've messed with the indexing and search options: now I got it back to default.

    Examples:
    "Wo" gives me MS Word right away and "cc" puts Ccleaner on top of the list. (Shows what you got installed, of course)

    So that works pretty fast.

    Since search is based on what you type and looks for programs names (apps included) settings and files, type the beginning letters of what you need, the phrase search should take longer and doesn't seem to give accurate results all the times.

    We'll see if Win 8.1 adds some enhancements to the search.

    Cheers!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Sorry I don't have a solution -- but wanted you to know that you're not alone in Search not working right.

    I have the same problems, and worse, on my Win8 setup.

    I open the Apps screen, enter the name of an app (like "Word") -- and it finds nothing, even though I can see the icon (tile?) of MS Word clearly displayed on the Apps screen.

    Back in Win7, all I have to do is enter "word" in the Start area, and that search tool finds everything containing that word. Pity that Win8 doesn't do the same (at least, for me)

    UPDATE: Just for grins, I tried doing a search using Start8, and just like with Win7, THAT search works fine. I enter "win" and get a bunch of results, one of which is Windows Update. So, it's the Search from the Start screen (and other Metro screens) that does not work.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    This guy has a video and seems to have the same problems that you are having;
    Windows 8 Desktop App Search Problem (Solved! See description) - YouTube

    Out of curiosity, are you using a Microsoft Live account or a local account for logins?

    Here were his steps for resolving his particular issue
    -I turned off Syncing on my problem PC (steps in link below).
    -I went to https://skydrive.live.com/P.mvc#!/win... and removed my Sync settings.
    -I created another, local admin account on my problem PC.
    -Using the new admin account I deleted my problem account/profile (keeping the user files).
    -I went to C:\Users folder and renamed the folder of my problem account to something different. (you may need to take permission of the folder, search online on how to do that.) If you don't do this, your User folder will have a different name than the one you probably would like when you do the next time
    -I (re)added a new user with the original account info that was having problems in the past, and, lo and behold, the partial word search was working!
    -I had to re-add this PC as a trusted PC with my MS account.
    -Turned on syncing with the working profile.
    -This has fixed my problem and I hope it NEVER comes back.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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