How to Disable SearchUI.exe in Windows 10

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Disable Windows SearchUI.exe

If you find SearchUI.exe is using enough system resources to degrade performance, here’s how to disable it.

SearchUI.exe is part of Cortana – if you don’t use Cortana and it’s chewing through system resources and causing a significant slowdown you might want to disable it.

If you remove Cortana it doesn't appear in search from the Start menu but the underlying process, SearchUI.exe remains, running in the background. You might not notice it running but on some systems its resource use is very high and the system is slow to respond. You can change the SearchUI.exe status in the Services section, but it doesn’t always stay stopped or disabled and you may want to disable it permanently (the process can be reversed if you want to use Cortana again).

SearchUI.exe isn’t the same process that indexes Windows to provide search results, that would be SearchIndexer.exe and it should probably be left alone unless it’s causing problems. Disabling SearchUI.exe lets you search from the Start menu or Run box.

Windows 10 disclaimer: Windows 10 items are tested on two different computers running two different versions of Windows 10 - any programs are installed, tested, then uninstalled. Any system tweaks or changes are applied and reversed.
Given the different versions of Windows 10 and individual system variables, not everything works on all PCs. Please make sure System Restore is enabled, create a Restore Point, and make sure the System Restore point works (there are issues with System Restore and Windows 10 not working) before making any changes. A current disk image/clone is another good option before making any changes.

How to Disable SearchUI.exe

SearchUI.exe can be disabled in two different ways, from an Admin Command prompt or using a batch file.
To use the Command prompt option, open an Admin Command Prompt (Win + X, choose Command Prompt (Admin).

Once the Command prompt window is open, type or copy and paste these commands, one a time. Press enter after each line, and be pretty quick about entering them:
cd %windir%\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
takeown /f SearchUI.exe
icacls SearchUI.exe /grant administrators:F
taskkill /f /im SearchUI.exe
rename SearchUI.exe SearchUI.exe.001

I didn’t have any issues, but if the commands don’t work, repeat them until the process is successful or use the batch file. The commands rename the SearchUI.exe process so it can’t run. The batch file does the same thing without having to open a command prompt window and type or copy and paste. To use the ready made batch file, download it and extract the contents to your preferred folder. Open the folder and right click on kill-search-ui.bat and choose Run as administrator from the menu.

A command prompt screen will flash and SearchUI.exe should stop running.

There are complete directions (including screen shots) to disable SearchUI.exe, a link to the batch file download and the directions to restore SearchUI.exe if you want to start using it again. The site has quite a bit of useful content for Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP as well as Android and other areas. It’s worth a visit. I’ve been using the site for years and it’s helped me out numerous times.

The link to download the batch file is here (right click and run as admin after download) and on the site (Trish Tech) along with plenty of helpful information for Windows and Android users.

How to Permanently Stop SearchUI.exe from Running in Windows 10


You can find more Tech Treats here.


 

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Comments

I disabled SearchUI.exe as described above but I lost the ability to search from the Start menu and Run box as well as searching from Explorer's search box! Renaming SearchUI.exe.001 back to SearchUI.exe and restarting as described above made it all work again. Phew!

I'm glad it worked out. It seems to stop search from the Run box and Start menu on some systems and not on others.

Great tip. Thank you!

You're very welcome. :)

I used the batch file to remove SearchUI.exe, and it also got rid of the search function of programs on the computer. I did not know this was part of Cortana. (ie. Click on the Start button, then type to search, such as for "Control Panel") I wasn't expecting it to remove that as well. How do I undo this removal?

This causes search from the start menu to stop working as well. I can't press the windows key and type the name of a program to search for it in the start menu.

Happened to mine as well.

Let me clarify something, if I may. I mentioned in the article that the site has the directions to reverse this, and I was assuming you went to the site, used the directions, and it still didn't work? If I'm off track then may I suggest you use the process on the Trish Tech site to reverse the process?  Here's the directions to reverse the process from the Trish Tech site (link in the article if you'd rather get them from there):

How to Restore SearchUI.exe Back?
Many people have asked how can they restore SearchUI.exe back. In order to restore it, you have to rename the SearchUI.exe file back to it’s original name.

  1. Start elevated command prompt. In order to do so, press the Win+X key combination and then choose Command prompt (Admin) from the menu that shows up on your screen.
  2. In the command prompt window type this command and press Enter:
    cd %windir%\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy
    rename SearchUI.exe.001 SearchUI.exe
  3. Restart Windows and SearchUI.exe will begin working again.

 

Hmmmm. I'm not sure what that's about.
I have this in place on my desktop and laptop and any searches from the Start Menu are unchanged, pressing the Windows key opens the Start menu. Searches from Windows File Explorer are intact, searches using the Win + R keyboard shortcut are working....all that occurs at the moment is to make sure Search is running in Task Manager or Services. That's the only thing I know of that would cause this, but there could be other causes I don't know about.

Yeah, search works for me as well.

Thanks, rhiannon.
You hit another one out of the park!

You're very welcome, I'm glad you like it. :)

Permanent might be too much to hope for. I ran the batch file last year, but I checked today after reading your article and found the old renamed file but also a new instance of searchui.exe. I am guessing that it is something that is reinstalled occasionally when Windows is updated. I have a script that I run at start up and will add a line to check if the file exists. Thank you much for the reminder, and thank you much for the many helpful hints that you have shared over the years.

john

Oh thank you for your kind words. :)

I would not be at all surprised if this surfaces again after updates. Other things pop up after updates that I thought I'd disabled so one more wouldn't be a shock. :) I keep batch and reg files in a folder, ready for reuse. ¯\(°_o)/¯

@rhiannon,

How could you say such a thing! To think that M$...I mean MS would ever dare to counter it's Windows users with such tactics...HAHAHAH! And then we all woke up, right!

Yeah, I thought the same thing as soon as I read the article. All we can do, I guess, is hope!

Lol yep we can hope, move to Linux, join the Apple universe, opt to use Android/Apple mobile devices instead of a desktop or laptop, or keep a close eye on our computers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I still have the mindset that "it's my computer, I built it, don't mess with it".
 

I agree!