How to Turn Off Search Highlights in Windows 11 & 10

Don’t like the new annoying search highlights feature? Here is how to disable or turn off search highlights in Windows 10 & 11.

With the recent updates, Microsoft added a new search feature to Windows 11 and 10 operating systems. Now, before you get too excited and think it improves the overall search accuracy and speed, it is not. The new feature is called Search Highlights, mainly intended to improve web results in the Start menu.

To reflect that, you will see web results by default regarding a specific top as soon as you open the Search window (Win + S). In addition to that, you will also see a small image icon in the Windows search bar. Whenever you search for something in the Start menu, Windows shows web and local results. Predictability, the Search Highlights feature uses Bing as its primary search. You cannot change the search engine.

search highlights

Now, the new search highlights feature is helpful if you want to search the web via the Start menu. However, it is still a distracting feature for many and seldom do Windows users use the Start menu to search the web.

If you don’t like the new Search Highlights feature or want to remove the image icon in the Start menu search, you can disable Search Highlights in Windows 10 and 11 operating systems. It is pretty simple too. There are three ways to turn off Search Highlights in Windows.

I will show all three methods. Follow the one easy for you.

Table of contents:

Turn off Search Highlights from Settings

You can turn off the Search Highlights from the Settings app. However, it can be difficult for beginners to find the option. That being said, it is in a reasonably predictable location and easy to configure. Let me show you how.

  1. Use the “Start + I” shortcut to open Settings.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” tab on the sidebar.
  3. Click on the “Search Permissions” option.
  4. Turn off the “Show search highlights” option.
  5. With that, the Search Highlights feature is turned off.

Steps with more details:

First, launch the Settings app. Use the “Start + I” shortcut key or search for the same in the Start menu. Go to the “Privacy & Security” tab after opening the Settings app.

Once you are here, scroll down and click the “Search Permissions” option. As you can tell from the name, this is where you can manage all the privacy-related options for the Search feature.

Scroll down on this page and turn off the “Show search highlights” option under the “More Settings” section.

turn off search highlights from settings

The Search Highlights feature is immediately turned off or disabled. You can verify it by opening the Search menu with the “Win + S” shortcut–more Windows 11 shortcuts.

Use Group Policy to turn off Search Highlights

If using Windows Pro, Education, or Enterprise edition, you can use the Group Policy to turn off Search Highlights. This method is helpful to disable Search Highlights on multiple computers at once or stop users from enabling it back. Here’s how.

  1. Press the Start key on your keyboard.
  2. Search and open “Edit Group Policy.”
  3. Go to the “Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search” folder.
  4. Open the “Allow search highlights” policy.
  5. Select the “Disabled” option.
  6. Press the “Ok” button.
  7. Close the Group Policy Editor.
  8. Reboot the computer.
  9. After rebooting, the Search Highlights feature is disabled.

Steps with more details:

Open the Group Policy Editor with “gpedit.msc” Run command (Win + R). You can also search for “Edit Group Policy” in the Start menu and open it.

open group policy

Go to the “Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search” folder in the Group Policy. Find and double-click the “Allow search highlights” policy to open it.

open allow search highlights policy

Choose the “Disabled” radio option and click the “Ok” button to save policy changes.

disable search highlights from group policy

Now, close the Group Policy Editor and reboot the computer. Rebooting applies the policy. Once the policy is applied, the Search Highlights is disabled in Windows.

search highlights disabled

Modify Registry Editor to disable Search Highlights

You can turn off Search Highlights by modifying the “IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled” registry value. It is pretty easy to do. In addition, if you are using Windows Home edition, this is an alternate method to Group Policy. Here is how to do it.

  1. Press the “Start” key.
  2. Search and open “Registry Editor.”
  3. Go to the following folder.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SearchSettings
  4. Double-click the “IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled” value.
  5. Type “0” in the “Value Data” field.
  6. Click “Ok” to save modifications.
  7. Close the Registry Editor.
  8. Reboot Windows.
  9. After rebooting, the Search Highlights feature is disabled.

Steps with more details:

Launch the Registry Editor application. You either use the “regedit” Run command (Win + R) or search for “Registry Editor” in the Start menu.

open registry editor

Go to the following folder in the Registry Editor. You can paste the below path into the address bar and press “Enter.”

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SearchSettings

Find and double-click the “IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled” policy.

go to searchsettings folder in registry

Next, type “0” in the “Value Data” field and press the “Ok” button to save changes. As you can guess, the value “0” turns off Search Highlights, and “1” turns it back on.

turn off search highlights from registry

Close the Registry Editor and reboot Windows. After rebooting, the Search Highlights feature is disabled and you will no longer see it. You can verify it by opening the Start menu search with the “Win + S” shortcut.

search highlights disabled

That is all. It is that simple to turn off Search Highlights in Windows 11 and 10.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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