Restore the "Search…" Item to the Folder Context Menu in Windows Vista SP1

By Lowell Heddings on July 2nd, 2008

One of the unwelcome changes that Microsoft introduced in Service Pack 1 was the removal of some of the easy ways to get to the Search screen: the start menu button and folder context menu item. Thankfully we can easily add the “Search…” item back to the context menu with a simple registry tweak.

The nice thing about the folder context menu is that the search window will be already set to search only that folder.

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Manual Registry Hack

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\find

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Find the LegacyDisable key on the right-hand side and either delete it, or rename it to something else. That’s all you have to do… now you can right-click on a folder and see the Search… option again:

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This will open up the search window for that folder, which will be a lot faster than searching the entire drive.

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Of course you could just use the F3 key while you have a folder open, which will show you the same window, and is typically simpler. I primarily use the context menu for quick access to search a folders from the shortcuts I’ve added to the quick launch.

Downloadable Registry Hack

Simply download, extract, and double-click on ReEnableFolderSearchMenu.reg to enter the information into the registry. There’s also an included DisableFolderSearchMenu.reg file to put things back to the SP1 default.

Download ReEnableFolderSearchMenu Registry Hack

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/2/08
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