We’ve noticed that newer operating systems such as Windows 10 and Server 2016 have a strange problem where the Start Menu search is incomplete. When you click on the Start Menu, for example, and type in the full or partial name of a program, Windows says nothing is found, even though the program or shortcut can be manually found in the Start Menu. This fix works when the Start Menu won’t search or find third party programs that are installed and in the Start Menu (such as Notepad++ or Word) but will find items already installed by the OS such as Calculator and Notepad.

Note – the following directions are intended for a technical audience. Care should be taken to prevent damaging your operating system.

Open Task Manager

Kill “explorer.exe” and “searchui.exe”

Click File > Run new task

Type in “powershell” (without the quotes) and check for box to run with administrative privileges

Hit OK. This should open the blue powershell screen.

Navigate to the “users” folder of the OS drive, usually “c:\users”.

Navigate into the folder of the local or domain administrator.

Navigate to “appdata\local\packages”

In the packages folder you will see a folder that starts with “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana” followed by an underscore and then random characters.

Rename this folder so that it ends in “.old”

Run the following Powerhsell command and wait for it to complete:

Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml” -Verbose}

Once you return to the Powershell prompt, type “exit” to close it.

Use the File > Run new task again and run “explorer.exe”

Close task manager. Wait about 10 seconds and try your Start Menu search again. Missing third party programs should now be present.