Privacy and Security Enable or Disable Search Highlights in Windows 11


  • Staff
Search_banner.png

Starting with Windows 11 build 22572, Microsoft started rolling out an update for Search that highlights interesting moments in time. You can still type to start searching for your apps, files, settings, and quick answers on the web.

Search highlights will present notable and interesting moments—like holidays, anniversaries, and other educational moments in time both globally and in your region. You’ll find rich, bold content in search home that highlights what’s special about today.

The search box in Start and Search will periodically update with content, including fun illustrations, that help you discover more, be connected, and stay productive. These hints in the search box give you a sneak peek into what to expect in search home.

Signing in with your work or school account enables Search to be your one-stop-shop for your organization’s files and contacts through Microsoft Search. Search highlights will feature the latest updates from your organization and suggested people, files, and more. Explore files that may be of interest to you or browse through your organization’s people chart. As always, just start typing to find everything related to your organization, right at your fingertips using Search.

You have control over the search highlights experience where if you prefer not to see this, you can turn it off or back on. For organization administrators, there are additional controls available in the M365 admin center. You can learn more about those policies here: Policy CSP – Search.

See also:

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable Search Highlights for your account or all users in Windows 11.


Contents

  • Option One: Turn On or Off Search Highlights for Current User in Settings
  • Option Two: Turn On or Off Search Highlights for Current User using REG file
  • Option Three: Enable or Disable Search Highlights for All Users in Local Group Policy Editor
  • Option Four: Enable or Disable Search Highlights for All Users using REG file


LEFT EXAMPLE: Search on the taskbar showing an updated experience for Earth Day. Includes relevant content and illustration in the search box and content relevant to Earth Day in search home.

RIGHT EXAMPLE: Search on the taskbar showing an updated experience for an organization, Contoso. Includes relevant content and illustration in the search box and the organization’s people chart in search home.

Search-highlights-Consumer-final-cropped.jpg
Search-highlights-home.jpg





Option One

Turn On or Off Search Highlights for Current User in Settings


1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Privacy & security on the left side, and click/tap on Search permissions on the right side. (see screenshot below)

Open Search permissions settings

Search_Highlights_Settings-1.png

3 Turn On (default) or Off Show search highlights for what you want under More settings. (see screenshot below)

Search_Highlights_Settings-2.png

4 You can now close Settings if you like.




Option Two

Turn On or Off Search Highlights for Current User using REG file


1 Do step 2 (on) or step 3 (off) below for what you want.

2 Turn On Search Highlights for Current User

This is the default setting.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Turn_ON_Search_Highlights_for_current_user.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SearchSettings]
"IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled"=dword:00000001

3 Turn Off Search Highlights for Current User

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Turn_OFF_Search_Highlights_for_current_user.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SearchSettings]
"IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled"=dword:00000000

4 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

5 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

6 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7 You can now delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.




Option Three

Enable or Disable Search Highlights for All Users in Local Group Policy Editor


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.

The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Four to configure the same policy.


1 Open the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc).

2 Navigate to the policy location below in the left pane of the Local Group Policy Editor. (see screenshot below)

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search

Search_Highlights_gpedit-1.png

3 In the right pane of Search, double click/tap on the Allow search highlights policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4 Do step 5 (enable) or step 6 (disable) below for what you want.

5 Enable Search Highlights for All Users

This is the default setting to allow using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Not Configured, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)​

Search_Highlights_gpedit-2.png

6 Disable Search Highlights for All Users

This will disable and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Select (dot) Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)​

Search_Highlights_gpedit-3.png

7 You can now close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.




Option Four

Enable or Disable Search Highlights for All Users using REG file


You must be signed in as an administrator to use this option.


1 Do step 2 (enable) or step 3 (disable) below for what you want.


 2. Enable Search Highlights for All Users

This is the default setting to allow using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Enable_Search_Highlights_for_all_users.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search]
"EnableDynamicContentInWSB"=-


 3. Disable Search Highlights for All Users

This will disable and prevent using Option One and Option Two.


A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.​

Disable_Search_Highlights_for_all_users.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search]
"EnableDynamicContentInWSB"=dword:00000000

4 Save the REG file to your desktop.

5 Double click/tap on the downloaded REG file to merge it.

6 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

7 You can now delete the downloaded REG file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

Attachments

  • Search_Taskbar.jpg
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Last edited:

SpacemanSam

Member
Local time
6:27 AM
Posts
33
OS
Win 10 pro
Thanks for publishing this!
The description of this nuisance "feature" says it will "help you discover more, be connected, and stay productive." That's an oxymoron. If you're searching for something you need to accomplish some task, any irrelevant clutter in the search results is a distraction, and anything that distracts you from the task you're trying to accomplish makes you less productive, not more!
Once again, Micro$$$oft has found another way to show us what their design team must be smoking!
 

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