Windows XP Search function Missing?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Dilsia M. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Something happened to my Search companion in Windows XP that allows me to search for files and folders in My Computer. When I try to use the Search function, Windows tells me that a file necessary to run the search function cannot be found and that I have to run setup to fix it. Rover the doggie doesn't appear, either. Do you know how I can resolve this issue? "

My response:

I get asked this question from time to time, so it's worth answering once more.

RE: When I try to use the Search function, Windows tells me that a file necessary to run the search function cannot be found and that I have to run setup to fix it.

If Windows ever reports that a system file is missing, the solution is to execute "sfc /scannow" (no quotes) from the Run prompt [Start -> Run] to fix this error message. The command "sfc /scannow" tells Windows to perform a complete Windows file check and replace any missing or corrupt OS files to original Microsoft specifications. Note that you'll need the Windows XP CD to complete this task.

When asked this question almost a year ago, a number of Infopackets Readers submitted alternative solutions. Infopackets Reader Mary J. wrote:

" Since I [originally sent you my question concerning the missing Search function], I've found a solution by using a program which came from a Microsoft Support Newsgroup, called 'FindExtensions.ZIP'. The program is free, but you must have MSN Passport service to download the file. On a related note, I also found a probable solution for Windows 9x and NT users, using Microsoft's Knowledge Base article #222029: 'Find-Related Commands Missing From Menus and Tools']. "

Further to Mary J.'s suggestion, Infopackets Reader Larry M. referred me to Microsoft Knowledge Base article #319949. This KB article provides instructions for resetting Windows XP's "Search Companion to [allow] search for files or folders, or to search the Internet". According to the article, the misplaced Search in Windows XP is a result of a damaged or missing system file.

Infopackets Reader David M. stated that the XP Start menu has an option to turn off the Search Folder. To do this, "right-click the Start Menu, choose Properties. Under the 'Start Menu' tab, ensure that 'Start Menu' is selected and choose Customize. Under the Advanced Tab, scroll down to where it says 'Search' and ensure there is a checkmark beside it."

Paul M. suggested a freeware program by XTeq, called X-Setup. It has "options for items visible in the Start menu, such as Search. You can find it under Appearance -> Start Menu -> Windows 2000 -> Visible Items."

Reader Randy S. hinted that the problem may be related to Administrative privileges. The Search feature "may be blocked by the Administrator, or it may be that she has accidentally changed her Security Profile to block-out the Search option. One other way to initiate 'Search' is to right-click the Start Menu and choose 'Search' "

Van D. suggested, "the 'self-healing' file repair utility built into most recent versions of Windows may resolve the issue. If you put in the original CD, go to setup, and there you should be able to select a full install or a 'repair' option."

Jan from Australia sent me an URL for Microsoft's Product Support Newsgroups. Users can browse frequently asked questions and even post their own questions. And, if none of that works, many Infopackets Readers suggest using Windows File Restore or a Disk Image Backup to resolve the issue.

Thanks once again for all those who provided excellent suggestions.

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