Windows Search lets you search from your taskbar to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s on your device, in the cloud, or on the web. Windows Search can provide results for items from:

  • Your device (including apps, settings, and files)

  • Your personal Microsoft account (including OneDrive and Outlook)

  • Your work or school account (including OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, and other Microsoft services)

If you use Windows Search for searching the web or getting search suggestions, your results will be powered by Bing.

Manage Windows Search settings

SafeSearch

SafeSearch helps keep adult content out of your web previews. Windows Search relies on Bing technology to determine if search results include sensitive content before presenting them in web previews. If Bing determines results are deemed to include adult content, the preview pane will instead display a See web results button so you can open results in your web browser instead, as shown in the following screenshot:

Screen shot of the preview pane when results include sensitive content.

To change your SafeSearch settings

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In Windows 10, go to Start  > Settings > Search > Permissions & History.

    • In Windows 11, go to Start  > Settings > Privacy & security > Search permissions.

  2. Under SafeSearch, select your preference:

    • If you select Strict, your setting will be shared with Bing in your browser. Bing will respect the Strict setting on the device regardless of your Bing SafeSearch setting on the Bing.com Settings page.

    • If you select Moderate or Off, Bing search will default to using your Bing SafeSearch setting on the Bing.com Settings page.

You can find more info about SafeSearch on Bing Help.

Cloud content search

Windows Search uses accounts you previously added for other Microsoft apps to personalize your search experiences.

To connect Windows Search with your accounts

  1. Go to Start  > Settings > Accounts  > Email & accounts.

  2. Under Accounts used by other apps, select an option:

    • To add your personal account, select Add a Microsoft account.

    • To add your organizational account, select Add a work or school account.

To see which accounts are connected to Windows Search

  • Select the search box on the taskbar in Windows 10 or the magnifying glass icon on the taskbar in Windows 11, and then, in the upper-right corner of the window that appears, select Options (). The account name and account type appear under Connected accounts.

Screen shot of the Connected accounts list.

If you turn on the Microsoft account setting for Cloud content search, Windows Search will show results from items in your personal OneDrive, Outlook, and other Microsoft services. If you search the web or get web search suggestions with Windows Search, Bing will personalize your results. You can also earn Microsoft Rewards points when you search with Bing in the Windows search box. Learn more about Microsoft Rewards points

If you turn on the Work or School account setting for Cloud content search, Windows Search will show results from OneDrive for Business, Outlook, SharePoint, and more from Microsoft Search.

Search history on this device

Windows Search saves your search history locally on your device to help you find things faster. For example, you might discover that an app is ranked higher in your results if you’ve searched for it before.

To clear the search history that’s saved on your device

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In Windows 10, go to Start  > Settings > Search > Permissions & History.

    • In Windows 11, go to Start  > Settings > Privacy & security > Search permissions.

  2. Under History, select the Clear device search history button.

Search history in the cloud

Windows Search can save and use your web search history with your Microsoft account so you can get more relevant web search results and suggestions.

To use your web search history with your Microsoft account

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to Windows with your Microsoft account.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In Windows 10, go to Start  > Settings > Search > Permissions & History.

    • In Windows 11, go to Start  > Settings > Privacy & security > Search permissions.

  3. Under Cloud content search, make sure Microsoft account is turned On.

To view and delete the search history associated with your Microsoft account, go to the Microsoft privacy dashboard.

To include or exclude your search history from search suggestions for your Microsoft account, go to the Bing Search History page and sign in using your Microsoft account.

Learn more about how Microsoft stores and maintains your search history.

Note that Windows Search saves your Microsoft Search history to your work or school account. To view the history associated with your work or school account go to the Bing Search History page and sign in using your work or school account. 

Searching Windows

Indexing the contents of your PC helps you get faster results when you're searching it for files and other things. Windows uses indexing by default. All data gathered from indexing is stored locally on your PC. None of it is sent to any other computer or to Microsoft.

You’ll find the settings that allow Windows to search your files and other content on the Searching Windows page in Windows Settings. To choose whether you want to search the contents of your Documents, Pictures, and Music folders, or if you want to search your entire PC, do one of the following:

  • In Windows 10, go to Start  > Settings > Search > Searching Windows.

  • In Windows 11, go to Start  > Settings > Privacy & security > Searching Windows.

Searching your entire PC may affect battery life and CPU consumption. You can also customize your search locations to include or exclude specific folders. To learn more about search indexing, see the Search indexing in Windows FAQ.

Need more help?

Expand your skills
Explore Training
Get new features first
Join Microsoft Insiders

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?

Thank you for your feedback!

×