back to article Breaking, literally: Microsoft's fix for CPU-hogging Windows bug wrecks desktop search

Microsoft's build 18362.356 (KB4515384​​​​​) for its Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) rolled out on Tuesday with security improvements for Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, networking tech and input devices – and a CPU usage fix that, for some, has broken desktop search. The security tweaks address a variety of …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    It seems to me

    It seems to me that desktop search has been broken since Windows 8. At least, it has yet to work properly for me.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: It seems to me

      Ohh buddy, desktop search in Windows has never worked.

      Check out Everything Search. That is a search that works, and takes less than a millisecond to produce results.

      You know, like a search should on computers that are a million times more powerful than when Windows came out.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: It seems to me

        Eh, it worked OK in Win 7. I already use a different utility to search under Windows. It's mandatory, because Windows fails at it.

        1. Blackjack

          Re: It seems to me

          Is NTFS-Search any good?

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: It seems to me

            I've never used it, so I don't know.

      2. beep54
        Happy

        Re: It seems to me

        Thank you.

      3. casinowilhelm

        Re: It seems to me

        +1 for Everything Search. It's amazing and it's one of the first things I install on any new pc. Boggles the mind that Microsoft can't produce something as good on its own platform.

      4. beecee

        Pigs and troughs

        Everything: I use it on all ou PCs, I'm not sayimg it finds everything, buy a load more than Explorer. BC

    2. tcmonkey

      Re: It seems to me

      Came here to make the same comment. It’s routinely unable to locate things that are right under its nose.

      About as much use as a chocolate fire guard really.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: It seems to me

        At least you can eat a chocolate fire guard.

    3. ecarats
      Flame

      Re: It seems to me

      Pretty much this.

      'Windows Search is broken' - how would you notice the difference?!

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: It seems to me

        When broken, it returns no useful results immediately, instead of returning no useful results after a bafflingly long wait.

        See also "Outlook search".

    4. Hubert Cumberdale

      Re: It seems to me

      After the CPU-hog issue and numerous workaround attempts, I ended up just giving up on it. Removed Cortana (which involved a fun, click-speed-testing task kill and folder rename before it self-restarted) and installed Open-Shell. It's a breath of (old-style) fresh air, to be honest.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: It seems to me

        Removed Cortana (which involved a fun, click-speed-testing task kill and folder rename before it self-restarted) and installed Open-Shell. It's a breath of (old-style) fresh air, to be honest.

        That's one of the purposes of having a dual-boot setup with Linux on a MSWin system; management of the MSWin system. Just make sure you've set hibernation off on MSWin.

    5. Jou (Mxyzptlk)

      Re: It seems to me

      My search, quite often faster: Windows+R, cmd.

      cd /d (drag and drop path from Exlorer into CMD).

      Dir *abcd*ef*.tx* /b /s /a

      1. Mint Sauce

        Re: It seems to me

        Updooted, as I came to say something very similar. Dir searches the disk in seconds. Windows search.. well I think it's still 'indexing'....

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: It seems to me

        Install Linux's mlocate and grep.

        dir is short for dire :)

  2. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    Huh. My Windows search was broken a month ago by an update. I eventually got it going again by stopping the service and restarting it. Wonder if it'll happen again?

  3. find users who cut cat tail
    Coat

    Fixed

    If SearchUI.exe cannot launch, that prevents it from using too much CPU. Problem solved. What are you complaining about?

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Fixed

      Well, that depends how many times it retries to launch, and how many parallel instances it spawns while it does so...

    2. stiine Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Fixed

      Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead!!!

    3. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

      A better fix

      Kill windows 10

  4. cjcox

    They did respond!

    Microsoft has been trying to respond, but the latest update has prevented them from doing so. Please be patient.

    1. seven of five

      Re: They did respond!

      That is what they want you to believe. In fact, they are still trying to search for an answer...

  5. jason_derp

    "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

    I've had this wracking, awful chest cough accompanied by blood and mucus. I've been seeing the same doctor for years, but all he's done recently is prescribe leaches and essential mint oil. As a result, I no longer see that doctor.

    Ipso facto, my chest problem must have improved.

    1. batfink Bronze badge

      Re: "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

      They've dropped because nobody can be bothered anymore trying to get these fuckers to fix things.

      1. matt 83

        Re: "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

        They dropped because no one can search for a number to call.

      2. Keith Langmead

        Re: "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

        Too right, the quality of their updates has become so bad that it's hardly news worthy when they go wrong, and everyone just resigns themselves to dealing with the aftermath, or doing everything possible to delay updates and hoping the glitches are fixed by the time your PC forces them to install. IMHO the main selling point of Pro vs Home edition on a home setup is the extra time you can delay updates! I'll pay the extra just to avoid my PC being used as a test lab for their updates.

        I didn't even realise there was a worthwhile call/chat option available! Always found the best option was to head to the forums, see if anyone else has the same thing, and if not post. Then wait and hope for an MVP or similar to answer, cos if it's a MSFT response you just know it'll be useless... lots of "I understand", while clearly not reading the information you've provided, and suggesting reinstalling Windows or something equally useless.

    2. ST Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

      > I've had this wracking, awful chest cough accompanied by blood and mucus.

      So SearchUI.exe is the mucus here? I'm just trying to visualize your metaphor. It's all about the experience you know. :-)

    3. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

      <quote>Despite the problematic release, Fortin maintained that the quality of Windows releases has been improving. "Over the last three years one of our key indicators of product quality – customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped even as the number of machines running Windows 10 increased," he said.</quote>

      When I read that, I laughed so dammed hard that I both shat and pissed on myself.

      Excuse me while I take a shower.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: "customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped"

        My sympathies. Whilst you are hosing yourself down, I'll enlighten this Fortin chappie.

        Customer service calls are only available to those with service contracts. MS hasn't had free telephone support since ... well who knows? (Certainly not this century.) A reduction in call volumes is probably an indication that your customers are giving up on you. (That's either "your support option" or "your products generally".)

  6. FatGerman

    Fortin maintained that the quality of Windows releases has been improving

    I agree with him. The last one I installed ran perfectly for almost 20 full seconds.

  7. tempemeaty

    Sometimes I don't even know what to say.

    ┐(・ε・)┌

  8. eldakka Silver badge
    Coat

    One step forward, er, one step back. Nobody gets too far like that

    You mean my FitBit has been lying to me?!

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      I thought that everyone knew that FitBits lie about pretty much everything.

  9. Jou (Mxyzptlk)

    They used my fix!

    Both laptops under my supervision have / had that problem. Not much slowdown, but constantly blowing fans. They seem to use my fix?

    :start

    taskkill /f /im searchui.exe

    ping 127.1

    goto start

    That's the reason why it doesn't work any more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They used my fix!

      Well bugger me sideways.. today I learnt that you can ping without entering the zero octets inbetween an address!

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Despite the problematic release, Fortin maintained that the quality of Windows releases has been improving. "Over the last three years one of our key indicators of product quality – customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped even as the number of machines running Windows 10 increased," he said.

    Coming soon : Cortana - the Fortin project. Not to be confused with Colossus - the Forbin project. Although they will have the same outcome.

    1. druck Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      The reduction in call volumes suggest to me, people have given up reporting bugs in the ever shifting mess, and are just resigned to waiting for the next update.

      1. Usermane

        Or using dual boot.

  11. cookieMonster
    FAIL

    Hmmmm...

    Over the last three years one of our key indicators of product quality – customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped even as the number of machines running Windows 10 increased

    Maybe your "customers" have just given up??

    1. ivan5

      Re: Hmmmm...

      Maybe your "customers" have just given up?? Or even moved on to an operating system that just works. I pity those that think windows is the 'be all and end all' of computing.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Hmmmm...

        I'm still trying to come up with the Linux equivalent of sfc /scannow so I can look like a proper twat on support forums.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Hmmmm...

          I think that "fsck -A" roughly approximates that.

    2. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: Hmmmm..GIVING UP

      Have you never noticed how easy it is to make pain and irritation go away by simply ceasing the activity which is causing them. Tis is exactly what I found about eight years ago when I -GAVE UP_on MS WINDOWS and migrated to a totally Linux environment. YES, I did have some early MINOR Issues, easily redolved by seeking help from the highly supportive LINUX COMMUNITY. I am now a very happy bunny, doing CAD work, and corresponding frrely with colleagues. (Libre office)

      NEVER AGAIN WILL I EVER PAY THE MICROSOFT TAX FOR THE " PRIVILEDGE OF RUNNING (OR TRYING TO RUN...)"SECOND RATE SOFTWARE

  12. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    Obligatory

    If this update breaks the creepy little search doll you can't get rid of.

    Then install it really quickly and don't let the morons at Redmond install the fix afterwards?

  13. DrXym Silver badge

    What would Windows be without a CPU hogging search?

    For years I've battled with that damned searchindexer.exe. Some genius in Microsoft thought it would be a brilliant idea to run something in the background that slaughtered CPU / disk IO without providing some simple and visible way of seeing if it was running and being able to pause, stop or configure it, e.g. a taskbar icon. Instead you have to go trawling through control panel and services to stop that thing.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

      Re: What would Windows be without a CPU hogging search?

      The one laptop here with windows pretty much runs disk at 100%. Yip it's search.

      1. JJKing Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: What would Windows be without a CPU hogging search?

        The one laptop here with windows pretty much runs disk at 100%. Yip it's search.

        Reminds me of Office 97 and the "minor" Indexing issue it had with the CPU and wasn't that fun.

        It must be time for some real clever Start-up to write a totally new and revolutionary operating system so Microsoft can buy them out innovate and publish something that will actually work as advertised.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: What would Windows be without a CPU hogging search?

          "publish something that will actually work as advertised."

          ...until they decide to "improve" it and/or integrate into some other part of Windows and not only mange to remove all the most popular and useful features, but break it beyond repair.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: What would Windows be without a CPU hogging search?

      searchindexer - the blighter was hogging cpu back in the days of NT4 - that's going back 20 years

      "[Expletive] Bill [Expletive] Gates" as I disabled the service whenever I spotted that running haywire on a user's PC

  14. Tom 7 Silver badge

    So desktop search is the CPU problem.

    I'm guessing that its just trying to make massive easily searched databases from massive amounts of data (probably including the massive database) simply takes up a shitload of cycles and moving files really fucks it up.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So desktop search is the CPU problem.

      "and moving files really fucks it up."

      I wonder if that's why since Windows 8 MS have been trying to hide explorer from the users and dumping files into Pictures, Music etc folders by default. They don't want you moving stuff into your own filing system.

    2. Andi McDonald

      Re: So desktop search is the CPU problem.

      Can't they just fork Solr and use that, never had a problem using Solr on websites, it can't be beyond them to get it working on Windows

  15. Lazlo Woodbine

    Now who'd have thought an update could be so annoying

    This is causing so many issues because we're having computers were Cortana is currently consuming 80% of CPU cycles for no reason as the search box just isn't working.

    On my desktop if I log in as a user the search is broke, but if I log in as Admin everything is fine, but I don't really want to be working with Admin credentials...

  16. phuzz Silver badge

    Windows has search? I've just got into the habit of putting files where I can find them again, and almost never touching the search.

  17. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Whut?

    a small number of users who disabled searching the web via Windows Desktop Search

    Why would anyone attempt to search the web from Windows Desktop search?

  18. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    You can't polish *that* turd

    Seriously, Window Search has NEVER been reliable. The latest one won't find things like 'Word' after installing MS Office, unless you wait a bit. What kind of fuckery is that?!

    Windows is full of so many stupid little bugs. Even right now, I'm working on a laptop, and it's running just on the mains with no battery until I put the case back together. The battery indicator has a cross on it. That's fine, it means there's no battery. But the % indicator says 255% available. Seriously? It's minor and unlikely to be seen too frequently but it's a schoolboy error!

    I haven't written a line of code for nigh-on 30 years, so I don't know the ins and outs of this, but it's clear to me that the quality of the code coming out of that company is just not as high as it could be.

    1. keith_w

      Re: You can't polish *that* turd

      really? the first thing that comes up when I type a "W" into the search box is Word.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: You can't polish *that* turd

        Yes, really. Your experience may differ, but I've certainly seen the start menu fail in the manner described.

        I can also confirm the tip mentioned earlier about using DIR instead of Windows search. It is at least an order of magnitude faster on my machines. On the other hand, that is probably because I have removed the "make this searchable" attribute from C:\-and-all-subs. Back on the first hand, that's because if I don't do that then the indexing service makes a brute force estimate of drive C:'s MTBF.

        I imagine everyone at Microsoft has an SSD now, so the utterly dire performance of (default-configured) Windows on spinning rust simply doesn't show up in testing anymore.

  19. Timo

    And lots of bluescreens

    Our company pushed out the updates and it more or less stopped us from working. Had an hour or two of reboot, patch, reboot, and then a couple hours of blue screen crashes.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: And lots of bluescreens

      In such times, productive work can still be done "around the watercooler", or as they say in blighty "down the pub".

  20. simonlb Silver badge
    Joke

    Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment

    Because all their PCs have hung with the fans running at full speed

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment

      Except the new AMD machines which were running at 5% slower than they'd been advertised...

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment

        Downvotes? Someone's salty. I'm just annoyed that my 3700X only boosts to 4.25MHz...

  21. BGatez Bronze badge

    Customers not calling isn't an indication of quality increase as MS claims, it's the knowledge that MS will do nothing and it's a waste of the time they could spend trying to roll back the latest "improvement" or re-loading their machine.

  22. BugabooSue
    FAIL

    Searching?

    Gave up with Windows Search and Windows Explorer about ten years ago.

    Been using Directory Opus ever since.

    Trouble is with Dopus, it’s a real culture-shock when I have to use a WinPC that does not have Dopus installed.

    The good news is that every year I have to use Windows for less and less programs. I just hope I get to use Linux for everything before I die. Time is running out for me, but I continue to live in hope..!! :D

  23. OldSoCalCoder

    How'd they do that?

    Somehow the update 'broke' chrome on my desktop. I click on the chrome icon, it loads, spawns other chrome tasks, and...no chrome window drawn. I've wasted an hour and a half this morning uninstalling, re-booting in between, waiting for the cleanup forced update to finish, etc.

    I've battled ms's forced update for years. I sincerely, truly hate the idiot that thought this was a good idea. The previous forced update (July 2019) happened on a work pc 120 miles away. Cost me 36 hours of work Fri AM to Mon PM, 460 miles of driving, 8 hours travel. Wound up just buying a new pc. What bothers me - a lot - is this was a perfectly functioning pc before the update was forced upon it and which I had no say whatever in applying. (The person using this pc called me up and said 'the pc just sits and reboots itself over and over.')

    The only "feature" Win 10 (all versions) needs is an 'I'll decide when and if I want to install this patch' option. Period. There is nothing else the OS "needs". No cute almost-like-a-phone icon charms, no 'search from anywhere', no windows app market crap. I don't want my pc to be almost like something else - I just want it to work.

    1. CrysTalK

      Re: How'd they do that?

      You should've read the EULA. With Win10 it's not your PC anymore, MS can modify and download anything at will. Yes, including your private stuff.

      If you can't find the EULA, just use windows search. Oh, wait...

  24. sisk Silver badge

    So the update fixed both the high cpu usage and unnecessary disk thrashing behavior of SearchUI by disabling it? This sounds like the correct solution to the problem to me.

  25. TheRealRoland

    Anecdotal: BSODs and bricked laptops

    Anecdotal, and havent found a pattern yet: a number of laptops that received one or more of the latest updates are now bricked. Apparently during the upgrade a BSOD happened, and somehow killed something important, thus the user no longer able to reboot, safe mode, etc. and undo the latest installs.

    I've put updating my laptop on hold for a month, until i hear/read about the all-clear...

  26. Doctor Huh?

    Call and chat volumes down? Indicator of product's quality or of support's lack thereof

    "Over the last three years one of our key indicators of product quality – customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped even as the number of machines running Windows 10 increased,"

    Perhaps decreasing numbers of requests for support are an indication of the increasing quality of Microsoft's products, but from my personal experience, it is more likely an indicator of the pain, frustration, and lack of helpfulness of Microsoft's support organization. The members of the support team with whom I've spoken are uniformly polite, almost to an irksome degree. But as a native of New Jersey, I would be more than willing to trade politeness for the ability to solve problems.

    "Now listen here, ya stupid jag-off. Right click on file while pressing the f'ing shift key to activate the secret menu. Then select 'Repair Files', let it work for 10 minutes, and then don't ever do anything stupid like that again! Capeesh?"

  27. J. Cook Silver badge

    We had a little tiny problem when rolling out win10 in our corporate environment where the 'new' calculator app would stop working, along with the photo app.

    After spending rather a good deal of time with Premier support, the best we got out of it was 're-image the machine', 're-build your master image', and 'pray that the process that builds those apps works correctly this time'. We couldn't get a root cause from them either as to why it would just fail out of the blue.

    We were not impressed.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      For the longest time - and maybe to this day, I haven’t bothered checking lately - all Store apps would be totally buggered and refuse to run if you disabled UAC. I’m not entirely sure why MS put a connection between the two, but there you go.

  28. Reginald Onway

    More beta testing on live users?

    I uninstalled build 18362 because on the desktop it became impossible to RDP into it. Simply, nothing happened. Meanwhile, on the laptop I had to sign in TWICE in a row to login (once for me, once for them?). Now this.

    Very sloppy.

  29. joShu1

    No Problems for Me

    Strange. I am not seeing any problems and KB4514384 is installed: Desktop Search is lighting fast, Cortana Search works fine, no weird CPU drains or memory bloats.

    Windows Search has been dependable for me (my library's index has over 250,000 items in it), been using it for years, but it doesn't have lots of frills. Still, there are some nice features:

    - Being able to drag a search string to a folder and have it create shortcut to that search is a handy feature.

    - Dynamically constructing a desktop search hyperlink in Excel is easy and really useful.

    I do recommend installing TET's free iFilter for indexing your PDFs.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: No Problems for Me

      "Windows Search has been dependable for me"

      I'm jealous. Windows search hasn't worked acceptably well for me since Win 8. Oh, it'll find some stuff, but it will leave out a lot, too -- which is worse than if it just didn't work at all.

      I've given up on Windows entirely now. I mean, I have to use it at work, but I no longer use any of the utilities (except Notepad and the calculator) that comes with it unless absolutely necessary. It's burned the last of my trust.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: No Problems for Me

      No surprise there. The Windows team can't even break things consistently.

  30. Douglas Wardle

    I'll write M$ a thank you card

    I can live without Cortana and Bing for, like, ever. I disable them with every update. I was also oblivious to desktop search. No harm, no foul.

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