How to disable Bing search in Windows 10 start menu for a non-admin account

Date written: 2022.01.18

Windows used to be a better operating system. Nikita noted that Windows 95 was 30MB while Windows 10 is 4GB, roughly 100 times as large, so Windows 10 is at least 100 times better than Windows 95, right? Surely in Windows 10 you could not be in the middle of playing a game when your computer shuts down without warning (and it surely wouldn't do the same in an app for which peoples' health and safety depend, right?). And surely it could not be the case that after upgrading to Windows 11 you cannot make the taskbar vertical despite it being vertical before you upgraded.

These infuriating aspects aside, in terms of documentation, backwards compatibility, and just straight up stability, Windows is currently better than the alternatives (even if that isn't saying much).

But we don't have to be stuck with all of its default functionality. One of the most annoying defaults for me is the following: I press the windows key and type the name of a program or folder I want to launch, and Windows does a Bing search in the start menu.

I have something which does internet searches, called a web browser. I don't want or need a bloody web browser in the start menu.

Naturally, there is no switch to turn it off, but luckily it still can be turned off, and it is not too difficult to do so. It can be done in two main steps:

Step 1: Determine your SID

  1. Log in to the account you want to disable the search on
  2. Open Powershell
  3. Get-LocalUser -Name $env:USERNAME | Select sid

Step 2: Edit / Create a specific Registry value

  1. Open Registry Editor as administrator
  2. Substituting --SID-- for the SID fetched in Step 1, navigate to Computer\HKEY_USERS\--SID--\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer Note that you may have to create Explorer
  3. Add DWORD DisableSearchBoxSuggestions with value 1
  4. Restart computer

For a more detailed explanation of Step 2 (with pictures!), see this How-To Geek article. I highly recommend skimming through the article if you haven't edited the registry before.

I couldn't find a concise description of the steps above in once place before, so hopefully whoever is reading this finds it helpful.