Whenever I start to type in a file or app search on my Windows 8.1 laptop, all sorts of weird suggestions appear. I don’t like it. How can I turn them off?
I know exactly what you’re talking about with the search suggestions. It’s the same thing that Google and Bing do when you start typing in a search and it offers up popular searches that start with those words or contain those words. Sometimes it’s great — like on a mobile device where you can type “ymca hou” and it fills in “ymca hours overland park ks” because that’s your location — but other times it’s annoying and when it includes previous searches you’ve done, well, that can be downright annoying.
Historically Microsoft has had a really hard time nailing operating system search too, whether it was the mysterious Vista search system that couldn’t find files by name or by content (Google the problem, there are a million discussions from Vista users) or Windows 7 where the frequency of indexing new content could be so low that it also failed to help you find things. In Windows 8.1 I feel like Microsoft’s gotten very, very close and if search works at all, it works great. (I have had some Win8 systems where search simply couldn’t find anything, but a restart generally fixed it)
As you point out, though, a search in Windows 8.1 produces some curious suggestions too. Let’s have a look.
To get directly to your search box in Win8, you can sidestep the Charms bar and use the Window-S shortcut. It brings this up:
Start typing anything and a pile of suggestions appear.
Here I’ll type in “chi”:
Laura and Bill Childers are out of my address book, but the other suggestions? I know I’ve never typed them in, so I’m seeing results from the Bing search tips feature. And it’s interesting what I’m seeing, as I imagine it’s being filtered through the personalizations in my account…
But really, I don’t need it. “chicago weather” isn’t helpful, nor is “children’s place”.
To disable it, bring up the Charms bar (again, easy shortcut: Window-C) and look for “Settings”:
That’s the one! Click on it then look near the bottom for “Change PC Settings”:
This opens up a world of options, basically the reskinned “Control Panels” from earlier versions of Windows, though far better organized.
Here’s what shows up on the left after you’ve clicked “Change PC settings”:
What you want to change is located in the “Search and apps” area, so click on that.
Now there are yet more options, but it’ll start out on the “Search” area, which is what you want, so nothing to do here.
Just look down the list of options and find this one:
That’s it. Flip this from “On” to “Off” and you’ll have disabled the Bing suggestions when you’re doing searches. Easy!