Windows 10 search goes blank: PCs stop working properly because of strange Microsoft outage

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 05 February 2020 17:16
Windows 10 users report problems with Microsoft’s online services

PCs across the world have stopped working properly, after a bug with Windows search bar.

Users have found themselves unable to look for things as normal on their computer, apparently because of an issue with Microsoft's online services.

The company said in a tweet that it was "investigating a potential access and latency issue with multiple Microsoft 365 services". It did not make specific reference to the search bar problem, but the post could suggest that other parts of Microsoft's online services have stopped working, too.

The issue appears when Windows 10 users head to the search bar in the computer's menu, which usually can search across the computer to find specific files or other information on the computer.

But instead, users just find that search bar blank, and they are unable to see any results.

Windows 10 is used by nearly a billion people. It is unclear how many of those are affected, but the problem does not appear to be present on all Windows 10 computers.

The issue appears to be a consequence of the fact that the search bar connects to Microsoft's online services, despite being used to search the local computer. When people search, the computer communicates with Microsoft search engine Bing, and many have suggested a problem in that connection could be the cause of the problem.

Reddit users – large numbers of whom have reported the issue in recent hours – have found a workaround for the issue. Many suggest that following the steps involved does fix the problem.

But it involves making changes to the computer's registry, which can cause problems for the PC and in extreme cases cause it to break entirely, and so that fix is not recommended.

The problems come just days after Microsoft Teams – the company's online service for office workers to collaborate – went down. That problem was the consequence of Microsoft failing to renew a security certificate.

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