Windows Search Hang

I recently found my Windows Search functionality just stopped dead in its tracks. I’m still investigating the exact cause of this (haven’t ruled out malware just yet) but it would appear this is a problem with the Windows Search registry entries.

Symptoms:
Opening Windows Search, clicking “Search now” and the explorer process hangs / freezes.

Fix: (queue eyebrow-raising solution)
If you download ProcMon and filter for explorer.exe, you’ll see it is trying to open the same file again and again. For me, this was a zip file containing icons for a web project I’m working on.

To make the search feature work again, rename the file it is getting stuck on and restart explorer. You should find everything is operational.

If anything is unclear and you think this problem might be affecting you, leave a comment and I’ll have a look.

2 thoughts on “Windows Search Hang”

  1. Hi,

    I am having the same problem, renamed the file (ZIP file – maybe it is a clue), but now it stops on another file (zip file). I have an impression that it will keep hanging on other files once I rename them – so it seems your fix does not help me. But it is strange that I may open the explorer (eg enter the folder) and them click on Search tab – and it works! But when I try to search on the folder by right clicking it, it hangs! Same situation when I try to use Start/search – it hangs once I try to open the search component! My system is XP, I even reinstalled it – but the problem is still there. Another interesting thing is that this problem vanishes when I use another account on my computer (eg. when I create another account and log into it – search works, but when I change the user and log into my usual account – search hangs!). I checked the problem with ProcMon, and I can see that explorer keeps Creating and Closing file – every time it is a zip file…

  2. just an update – I consequently deleted every file that explorer got stuck on while initiating search – and it finally it worked!

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