Windows XP Search Function Stops Working Intermittently?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Pac' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

For some unknown reason, my Search function has stopped working with Windows XP (Home Edition) ... I read your recent article, 'Windows Search options are Blank?':

Windows Search Options are Blank, Part 2

But, my circumstances are different. If I put the name of whatever I am searching for, hit search, the hourglass icon appears and then the Windows Search appears to do nothing. When I hit CTRL + ALT + DEL, the search program starts working. This one has me stumped! I would love to have the search program working normally. Any assistance is greatly appreciated! "

My Response:

This is a very strange problem, indeed.

I decided to visit and searched for "windows xp search not working". Based on some of the web sites I visited [links below], my understanding is that the Windows Search function may be damaged due to a faulty system .DLL file, or a corrupt Windows Registry value (a Spyware issue?).

Here are some suggestions:

a) Run Scandisk on your hard drives and check for File System Errors. Details on how to run Scandisk here.

b) Scan your system for Spyware and remove offending entries. I personally recommend that you try Spy Sweeper: I subscribe to this service because it is able to stop parasite code from loading onto my system *before* it has a chance to do any damage. Details here: Spy Sweeper Review

c) Ensure that Windows is up to date. Install all the latest patches / Microsoft Service Pack updates by visiting the Windows Update web site.

d) Run the Windows System File Checker. Click Start -> Run, then type in: SFC /SCANNOW ... and follow the prompts. This will scan your system and repair corrupt system files.

e) If none of the above works, download and run WinGuide's Registry Mechanic. This is an excellent program aimed at fixing .DLL / system problems. Jake Ludington recently ran Registry Mechanic on his *brand new* system and was surprised to find 234 system errors. Details here: Registry Mechanic 4.0 Review

And, as a last resort, you can:

Try the System Restore feature. A word of warning: this may do more harm than good and you may end up having to reinstall a bunch of applications (depending on how "new" the Restore is). For a full report on how to use System Restore for Windows XP, visit the Microsoft web site. And by the way: there is a much better option to System Restore, and it's called Disk Imaging. More details here. Acronis True Image v8.0 Review

If all else fails, you can always backup your critical files, format your drive, and Reinstall Windows. I have dedicated a downloadable eBook and video tutorial on this topic.

Good luck!

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