Windows 8 hangs or freezes whenever search for anything

PCWindows 8 hangs or freezes whenever search for anything

Issue: Whenever you try to search for an Apps or something windows hangs or freezes and you have to either reboot or log out to get control of my computer back.


1. My computer freezes whenever I try to view my apps or use the search function. When I click “apps” or attempt to search for anything, the computer hangs up for about 5 seconds, then returns back to the home metro screen. This means I have no way of opening apps unless return to the desktop, open explorer, and search manually for the executable. Needless to say, this is even more inconvenient than not having a start menu to begin with.

2. Search Within an Explorer Window
I press the search button, and it never responds.Or if I try the search box for searching something within the current opened explorer window, system hangs.I end up having to (again) close the Explorer window manually. This sometimes causes the entire shell and Start menu to crash, sometimes, it doesn’t.
3. If I go to the start page (Windows 8) and start typing, I’ll get results for Apps and Settings but not for Files. It can’t find any files, on any drive. If I click on the “Files” sub option while running the search (or even after the search ends), I get some spinning circles and the start menu becomes non-responsive. I have to either reboot or log out to get control of my computer back.


The reasons freezing could be many, and the solutions could be many too!
However there are some most common and major reasons for freezing issue which are mentioned below.
  • Windows Search service failed to start correctly.
  • Corrupt system files due to abrupt shutdown.
  • Missing system files due to accidental deletion.
  • Inappropriate application installation.
  • Corrupt hardware device driver files.
  • Invalid registry entries, etc.
  • Malware or Spyware infection.
First of all you should really check the windows search service as this service is used by windows to index (organise) all of your files. when it fails to start the search feature in the start screen waits for the service to start, if the service does not start you end up in a never-ending state of waiting which causes system hangs or freezing.
The “Windows Search” service can some times fail to start if you have a faulty memory card, memory stick, external hard drive etc. plugged in.


1. Microsoft Fix-it

For those of you with better luck than I have here is the link to the automated solution which may solve the issue.

2. Fix Windows Search and Indexing

1. Navigate to Control Panel.
2. Click “Programs” then “Programs and Features”.
3. Click “Turn Windows features on or off” on the left side of the list.
4. Uncheck “Windows Search” and hit “OK”. You will be prompted to restart.
5. After restart, repeat these steps and check the box to turn this feature back on.

If the above method did not work continue here:

Restart the Windows Search Service

  • Press “Windows + R”
  • Type “services.msc” and click “OK”
  • Find the “Windows Search” service and right click and select “Properties“
  • On the General tab set the “Startup type:” to “Automatic”
  • If the service status is stopped click the “Start” button.
  • If the service is stuck on “Starting…” you should try unplugging any USB Mass Storage Device (external hard drives or thumb drives, any kind of memory card (ie SD card  compact flash etc.)
  • Reboot

Rebuild the Index

Whenever you try to search for something in windows, its indexing which find the things quickly and brings that to you.If indexing is disabled or corrupt computer won’t be able to search and will not present the search results.Windows uses the index to perform very fast searches on your computer.

The index requires almost no maintenance. However, if the index can’t find a file that you know exists in an indexed location, you might need to rebuild the index. Rebuilding the index can take several hours, and searches might be incomplete until the index is fully rebuilt.

  1. Go to Control panel and open Indexing Options.
  2. Click the Advanced button at the bottom of the Indexing Options window. This displays a new window titled Advanced Options.
  3. Click the Index Settings tab if it isn’t selected already.

    Indexing Option in Windows 8
    Indexing Option in Windows 8
  4. Click the Rebuild button to delete and rebuild the file index.
  5. Click OK to confirm.

For more information on Advance indexing option you can read article on microsoft’s website

Step 2 will always fix this issue but just in case its not helpful try the next Step 3.

3.Check the Registry Value

Manual Fix 1 
1. Press Windows Key + R to get the run dialogue box.
2. Type “regedit.exe” in the box and hit enter.
3. Using the box on the left, navigate to the following directory:

4. We need to change a registry called “Start_SearchFiles” to a value of 2. If you are like me, yours is already 2. We need to reset this so what we are going to do it change it to 0, then back to 2.
5. Double-click Start_SearchFiles or right-click and select “Modify” to get the edit box. Change the number under “Value data” to 0 then click “Ok”.
6. Repeat step 5, changing the value back to 2.
7. Restart your computer.

Manual Fix 2

Using the above information navigate to the following directory:
And delete the following folder: {ef87b4cb-f2ce-4785-8658-4ca6c63e38c6}. After deleting the folder restart your computer.
Nasir Sohail
Nasir Sohail
Nasir is a software engineer with an M.Sc. degree in software engineering and various certifications related to computer hardware and networking, such as MCSE, CCNA, RHCE. He has more than 15 years of mixed industry experience mostly related to IT Support, Web development and Server administration. He also offers his freelancing gig for IT support and consultancy and has more than 300 five-star reviews across platforms like Fiverr, Google, TrustPilot, etc.
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