What Is SearchApp.exe? Is It A Virus? Can I Disable It?

Details tab on Task Manager. SearchApp.exe selected

Windows runs dozens of processes in the background to give you a fast and smooth experience. But as many processes are running in the background, are all of them safe? If you’re concerned about what is SearchApp.exe process or if this process is taking up most of your CPU and RAM, read this guide to know if it’s safe. And if not, how to fix it or disable it.

What Is SearchApp.exe?

The SearchApp.exe is a Microsoft Windows process used for the search functionality in the taskbar and start menu. In the past builds of Windows, this process was integrated with Cortana, and its name was SearchUI.exe.

So, whenever you use the search functionality from the taskbar or the start menu, this process is triggered, and you get your search results.

Is the SearchApp.exe Process a Virus?

If it is the actual SearchApp.exe process from Microsoft, it’s harmless. As explained, it handles the search queries made by the user.

But it’s a common practice by hackers to name their viruses, worms, and trojans as trusted processes to avoid detection from antivirus and antimalware programs.

So, it’s possible that a harmful malware or virus can mask itself as SearchApp.exe and damage your data or system files.

How To Find Out If SearchApp.exe is Harmless or a Virus?

  1. Check the Folder Location of SearchApp.exe
  2. Make Sure Its Digital Signatures Are from Microsoft
  3. Use Command Prompt (CMD) to Check the Digital Signature of SearchApp.exe
  4. Check the Resources It’s Consuming

1. Check the Folder Location of SearchApp.exe

The first thing you should check to determine if the SearchApp.exe process running on your Windows 10 or 11 is a standard Windows process or a virus is its location.

The correct location of the Microsoft process SearchApp.exe is:

This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy

The chances of this file being harmless are high when it’s in its correct location. But if you find that the location of SearchApp.exe is any other folder such as This PC > Local Disk C > Program Files, then it’s highly likely a virus or malware.

Here’s how to check the location of the Search process:

  • Right-click the taskbar and choose ‘Task Manager or press Ctrl + Shift + Esc buttons together.
  • When the Task Manager opens, type ‘Search.’ This will take you to the ‘Search’ process.
  • Double-click the ‘Search’ to open its processes. Its process is also named ‘Search.’
  • Right-click it and select ‘Open file location.’
Task Manager processes tab. Search selected
  • If it’s a genuine Microsoft file, its location will be shown in the image. If the location is different, it may be a virus.
SystemApps folder on Windows 10

2. Make Sure It’s Digital Signatures Are from Microsoft

Most legit files and programs have digital signatures. This enables Windows to spot trusted files easily. Similarly, Microsoft also includes its digital signature on all of its files and programs. You can check the properties of the Search application to see if it has a Microsoft signature or not. Use these steps:

  • Open File Explorer and go to This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy 
Microsoft Search system folder open on Windows 10
  • Or right-click the taskbar and choose Task Manager. Then, type on Task Manager ‘Search’. Double-click it to open its process. Right-click the process and choose ‘Open file location.’
Task Manager processes tab. Search selected.
  • Find ‘SearchApp.exe’, right-click it, and choose ‘Properties’.
SearchApp system folder. Right-click options of SearchApp.
  • Switch to the ‘Digital Signature’ tab.
  • Find out if it has a Microsoft Windows signature.
SearchApp.exe properties. Checking digital signatures.
  • If it has, it’s the open file. If not, it may be a virus or malware.

3. Use Command Prompt (CMD) to Check the Digital Signature of SearchApp.exe

Some files don’t have the properties option. Furthermore, if you can’t see the ‘Digital Signature’ tab in the file’s properties window, you can use this method to check the digital signature of SearchApp.exe or any other application (exe file).

Signcheck utility on Microsoft website
  • Open the file. Right-click sigcheck.exe and select ‘Copy.’
Sigcheck utility files
  • Now, open the file location of SearchApp.exe (This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy)
  • Right-click the window and select ‘Paste’ to paste the sigcheck.exe file in the SearchApp.exe folder. It may ask for admin permission to be pasted. 
  • After this, click the folder location bar at the top, type.’cmd‘, and press enter.
SearchApp.exe system folder
  • It’ll open the command prompt window.
  • Type or copy-paste sigcheck.exe SearchApp.exe And press enter.
  • It may open a license agreement; click ‘Agree.’
  • You’ll then see the digital signature of the file SearchApp.exe
  • The Publisher should be Microsoft Windows, and the Company should be Microsoft Corporation.
Sigcheck command for SearchApp.exe on command prompt

4. Check the Resources It’s Consuming

When the search on the taskbar, start menu, or file explorer is used, the SearchApp.exe process uses some resources to process the searches.

But if you notice that this process uses more than 50% of your system resources even when you aren’t searching for anything, the file may be a virus, malware, a coin miner, or anything harmful.

Some harmful files directly corrupt your data, while others only use your system resources to perform their tasks like crypto mining. Moreover, in many cases, your antivirus gets corrupted, and it doesn’t open or respond. 

  • Right-click the taskbar and select ‘Task Manager.’
  • On Task Manager, type ‘Search.’
  • This will take you to the process thread of ‘Search.’
  • Check the resources it’s using. If they are less to none, the file is fine, but if the usage of resources is high or more than 50%, it may be a harmful file, or the SearchApp.exe process is corrupted.

How To Disable SearchApp.exe?

In the case you suspect that the SearchApp.exe is a virus, you have the option to disable it. But be notified that the search functionality on the taskbar, start menu, and file explorer won’t be usable after disabling the process. Use these methods:

  1. Delete the SearchApp.exe Folder (Temporary Method)
  2. Delete it Using the Command Prompt (Permanent Method)

1. Delete the SearchApp.exe Folder (Temporary Method)

If you only want to check out what happens when you disable or delete the SearchApp.exe process, use this temporary method. This is also helpful in fixing any minor bugs related to the process. 

When you’re done, SearchApp.exe will be disabled for the existing session. However, it will be enabled automatically on a restart of Windows.

Follow below to perform the required steps:

  • Right-click the taskbar or the Start menu and pick ‘Task Manager from the list.
  • When it opens, type.’Search.’
  • This will take you to the thread ‘Search.’ Double-click to open its process. Its process is also called ‘Search.’
  • Right-click it and choose ‘Open file location.’
  • Keep the folder open, and go back to the Task Manager window.
  • Right-click the ‘Search’ process again and select ‘End task.’
Task Manager processes tab. Search selected.
  • Wait. The process will show up again. End it again.
  • Keep performing this until the process doesn’t show up at all.
  • Now, go to the folder location of the process we opened. Right-click the selected folder and choose ‘Delete.’
SystemApps folder on Windows 10
  • It’ll ask for admin permission to delete the file. If you’re the admin, click ‘Yes.’ If not, select the admin account and enter its password to allow the operation.
  • Once deleted, go to Recycle Bin and delete the folder from there.
  • The search process will be disabled if you don’t shut down or restart your computer.

2. Delete it Using the Command Prompt (Permanent Method)

You can permanently delete the SearchApp.exe file and its components, which will also disable the search functionality on your Windows. Go ahead only if you’re sure the SearchApp process is a virus or uses a lot of CPU and RAM. Once you’ve made up your mind, duplicate the steps below:

  • Open the Start menu, type.’ cmd’ and select ‘Run as administrator.’
  • If your search is not responding or disabled, go to This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > system32. Find cmd.exe. Right-click it and select ‘Run as administrator.’
cmd system folder. Running cmd as administrator.
  • Copy-paste this command and press enter: cd %windir%\SystemApps
  • After this, open the Task Manager, and type ‘Search’ to find the Search process. Keep it open.
  • On the command prompt, copy-paste taskkill /f /im SearchApp.exe and press enter.
  • This will end the search process but will start again after a few seconds. Keep entering the above command until you don’t see the Search process on Task Manager.
  • Once you’re sure that the Search process is completely ended, copy-paste this command and press enter:
  • move Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy.old
  • This will permanently disable the Search processes on your Windows.

How To Fix SearchApp.exe Errors and High Usage of Resources

If you want to keep the search feature and are looking for a way to fix SerchApp.exe, try the solutions below:

  1. Delete the Registry Entries of Search
  2. Fix Search Crashes by Resetting Windows Search Through PowerShell
  3. Disable Search Indexing
  4. Perform DISM Scan and SFC Scan to Repair Windows System Files
  5. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter
  6. Rebuild the Search Index
  7. Run a Full System Scan with an Antivirus
  8. Update Windows

1. Delete the Registry Entries of Search

A corrupted search registry is a common cause of SearchApp.exe error messages and high CPU usage. If you delete the registry, it will automatically create a new registry which we need for the search functionality to work properly. But before deleting, we will save the registry in case we need to use it later.

Use these steps to save the search registry and then delete the real registry using Registry Editor:

  • Press the Windows key + R, type.’regedit‘, and press enter.
  • The Registry Editor will open.
  • On the space below the menu bar, copy-paste this command and press enter: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search
  • Right-click ‘Search’ on the left pane and choose ‘Export.’
Search registries on Registry Editor
  • Save the registry to any location.
  • After this, right-click ‘Search’ again and select ‘Delete.’
Search registries on Registry Editor
  • Select ‘Yes’ if prompted.
  • Restart your PC.
  • Then, click the search on the taskbar and search for something. It will not produce any results. Perform searches a few times, and it will begin working.

2. Fix Search Crashes by Resetting Windows Search Through PowerShell

If your Search feature on Windows crashes, stops responding or uses a lot of resources, reset it using the Windows PowerShell.

Reset Windows Search PowerShell script file in file explorer
  • This will open Windows PowerShell. It will ask you to confirm Execution Policy Change. Type Y and press enter. (If you get an error, follow instructions in the next section to fix that error before proceeding.)
Execution policy change permission on Windows PowerShell
  • It’ll ask for admin permission. Click ‘Yes.’
  • It will begin the process of resetting. This will take some time.
  • Once it’s done, you’ll see ‘Press any key to continue.’
  • Restart your computer.
  • Check the search feature.

If you confirm Execution Policy Change and see an error, use these steps to fix it and then try the above method steps again.

  • Press the Windows key + R, type.’powershell‘, and press enter.
  • Copy-paste this command on PowerShell:
  • Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
  • It’ll ask if you want to perform Execution Policy Change. Type Y and hit enter.
  • Once the policy change progress is completed, close PowerShell.
  • Now perform the steps shown in the above section for resetting Windows search.
  • When it’s done, we’ll restrict scripts on PowerShell by copy-pasting this command:
  • Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser -ExecutionPolicy Restricted
  • Type Y and press enter.

3. Disable Search Indexing

The Windows search feature indexes selected folders and subfolders to show faster search results. But it also runs in the background to index the selected folders. If you have indexed many folders, it may use many resources for indexing. So, disable indexing for most folders.

  • Open the Start menu, type.’indexing options,’ and open the app or go to Settings > Search > Searching Windows > Advanced Search Indexer Settings
  • On the new window, click ‘Modify’ to select and deselect indexed locations.
Indexing Options on Windows 10
  • Uncheck all the boxes in the upper section and click OK.
Indexing locations selection
  • Restart your computer.

After this process, searches on File Explorer may take longer because indexing is disabled.

4. Perform DISM Scan and SFC Scan to Repair Windows System Files

When the Windows system files are corrupted, they show unexpected errors, and some features won’t work properly. The reasons for the SearchApp.exe using CPU resources or showing errors could be corrupted system files. Try repairing them by running a DISM scan and SFC scan.

Both of these scans repair system files. But the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scan uses Windows Updates to find a new replacement for the corrupted files, while the SFC (System File Checker) scans and repairs files by finding a cached file on the system.

Follow these steps to run these scans:

  • Open File Explorer and go to This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > system32
  • Right-click cmd and choose ‘Run as administrator.
  • Copy-paste DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press enter.
  • When the scan and repairs are done, run the SFC scan by copy-pasting this command and pressing enter. sfc /scannow
  • This will scan your system and find the correct replacements for corrupted files.
  • After the completion of the process, restart your PC.

5. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

Windows comes with various troubleshooters for different features. These troubleshooters can diagnose, detect, and fix many issues. So, to fix SearchApp.exe problems, run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.

  • Click the Start button to open the Start menu and go to Settings.
  • Select ‘Update & Security.
  • Choose ‘Troubleshoot.’
  • Click ‘Additional troubleshooters.’
Troubleshoot settings on Windows 10
  • Scroll down and select ‘Search and Indexing.’ Then, press the ‘Run the troubleshooter button.
Additional troubleshooters on Windows 10
  • This will open the troubleshooter, which will detect problems. It may also ask you what you want to be fixed. Follow the instructions and fix search issues.

6. Rebuild the Search Index

In Method 3, we disabled indexing. But it also slows down the search results when searching on File Explorer. If you don’t want to disable it, try rebuilding the search index.

Instead of switching off, it only deletes the search index and rebuilds it. This is useful in case the index is corrupted. You’ll get rid of the corrupted search index and build it again.

  • Open the Start menu and go to Settings.
  • Navigate to Search > Searching Windows.
  • Scroll down and select ‘Advanced Search Indexer Settings.’
  • On the new ‘Indexing Options’ window, click ‘Advanced.’
Indexing Options on Windows 10
  • Next to ‘Delete and rebuild the index,’ select ‘Rebuild.’
select 'Rebuild.'
  • Wait while the rebuilding process completes.
  • Restart your computer.

7. Run a Full System Scan with an Antivirus

Perform a full system scan of your computer through an antivirus to detect and clean (or delete) viruses and malware. You can use any trusted antivirus. If you don’t have any antivirus installed, use Windows Defender Antivirus that’s preinstalled on Windows.

  • Open Windows Security by clicking the shield icon in the notification area at the far-right end of the taskbar. If it’s not visible, click the arrow and select the shield icon.
  • When Windows Security opens, select ‘Virus & threat protection.’
  • Under the ‘Current threats’ section, click ‘Scan options.’
  • Select ‘Full scan’ and click the ‘Scan’ button.
  • It may take a long time, so start the scan after completing your day’s work.

8. Update Windows

Windows updates fix issues and problems with different features. So, you can also try updating Windows to fix SearchApp.exe issues.

  • Open the Start menu and go to Settings.
  • Choose ‘Update & Security’.
  • Click the ‘Check for updates button.
  • Some updates take time to download and may require you to restart your computer.

How to Enable SearchApp.exe on Windows 10 and 11?

The steps for enabling the search feature are easy, but ensure not to attempt this right after disabling the search feature. If you want to enable it after the disabling process, perform a restart first.

  • As the search feature is disabled, we need to launch the command prompt from File Explorer. Go to This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > system32.
  • Right-click ‘cmd’ or ‘cmd.exe’ and choose ‘Run as administrator.
  • Copy and paste this command and press enter: cd %windir%\SystemApps
  • Then, copy-paste the following command and hit enter:
  • move Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy.old Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy
  • To confirm that the search functionality is enabled, click the search icon on the taskbar and search anything. It will return results.

Conclusion

SearchApp.exe is a Microsoft Windows process for Windows search functions. It enables you to search using the search option on the taskbar, through the Start menu, and in File Explorer. If SearchApp.exe uses a high percentage of CPU and RAM, check its location, run an antivirus scan, and disable it.

FAQs

Is SearchApp Exe Malware?

In 99% of cases, SearchApp exe is not malware. It’s a Windows process that handles the search feature of Windows. If you’re concerned, scan your local disk C or the drive where Windows is installed with a trusted antivirus.

Why Is The Search App Exe Suspended?

Usually, the SearchApp Exe suspended is not an issue; rather, it’s the normal behavior of the app when it’s not processing any search. If you’re seeing SearchApp Exe suspended on Task Manager, keep the Task Manager open and search something through the search on the taskbar. If it works, everything is fine, but if it doesn’t, update Windows, disable your antivirus, and run the Search and Index troubleshooter.

Is It Safe To Disable SearchApp Exe?

SearchApp exe is an essential Windows process used to search anything on the system. If you disable it, the search functionality will be disabled. You should disable SearchApp exe only if you’re sure it’s a virus.

Should I Delete SearchApp Exe?

Search App exe is a Windows system process for search-related tasks. It’s not recommended to delete it. But if you suspect that it’s a virus, check its location. If it’s location is This PC > Local Disk C > Windows > SystemApps > Microsoft.Windows.Search_cw5n1h2txyewy it’s the open file. But if its location is anywhere else, it’s a virus.