Tuesday , September 22 2020

Did your Win10 search box go black? Does the search work at all?

Here’s a quick test. Start or restart your Win10 computer. Click the search box at the bottom left. You should see something like the screenshot I. Published on Computer world two days ago. However, many people are reporting a completely black screen this morning, as shown in this screenshot of a recently patched version 1903 Win10 system (build 18362.592).

In addition, the search simply does not work: enter something in the search field and nothing happens.

How is that possible? you ask. How can an important work piece of Windows 10 just go black? What have you done to damage your machine?

The top-level answer is pretty simple: you didn’t do anything wrong. Microsoft reached into your Win10 PC overnight and screwed up its search function. Again. You have not given Microsoft permission to interrupt the search. It just broke on its own.

For a more detailed explanation, especially for Win10 version 1909, I refer to @ Warrenrumak on AskWoody::

What I really notice about some of these newer search versions is that they consume a lot of memory. Click the search box and it will instantly consume more than 120MB of memory on my computer.

I dug around a bit, I think I found out why … the entire search box is now a web application built with JavaScript & React. Of course, this means that some kind of web rendering engine is required. It’s probably Edge.

The parts are further explored:

The search box on the taskbar and in Windows Explorer both load C: WindowsSystemAppsMicrosoft.Windows.Search_ (Version) SearchApp.exe when you click on it. Only the user interface is different.

When he turned on his system, he triggered a compilation error (screenshot).

Search Javascript error

What sure looks like a JavaScript smoke gun to me. @ Warrenrumak concludes:

JavaScript is used to render the filtered search results. No wonder it’s so buggy path too much unnecessary technology to render a drop-down list.

This brings me to the question we have all asked ourselves in the past few months: what is wrong with the search in Win10 version 1909? @ Warrenrumak has a theory that I am sure of:

The JavaScript source contains numerous indications that it was created by the Bing team. If I had to guess, I would say that the desktop search has been moved from the Windows team to the Bing web team and they simply don’t have the skills to create desktop programs with efficient C ++.

And it looks like there is a mechanism to update the JavaScript code from a remote server without updating the search application itself.

Perhaps this also explains why the errors in the new Windows Explorer search bar were not recognized by the Windows team. It may well be that the Windows team no longer has this code!

We still haven’t solved the question of what triggers a change to the text in the search box. Since writing about it two days agoHoward Goldberg has extended the list of observed standard texts for the search:

  • Write here to search (vast majority, at least it seems)
  • Search the web and PC (at least one from the original post)
  • Start your search (at least 1 confirmed with screenshot)
  • Start a web search (at least 3 confirmed)
  • search (at least one confirmed with screenshot)

Goldberg has two different Win10 1909 systems for the black search field: one of them works::

I went through both Win10 systems. … Cortana and search settings are all configured identically.

Search still works on one system. It is empty on my other system.

An anonymous poster now says that disabling Bing in Win10 Search and then restarting resolved the issue.

Whatever happened, it’s an unholy mess – and it’s being pushed without notice and without permission. Where’s the Windows team at all of this? Oh. That’s true. There is no Windows team anymore.

About Rita Macfarlane

I write blogs about smart telephones and mobile games. Please contact me about these issues from the contact page

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