Windows 10 “Type here to search” Search in Taskbar not working

This is going to be a little more unspecific than I usually like my posts, but it took me a while to fix and I didn’t document well. My apologies, I hope this still helps.

I recently had the issue that, when clicking on the “Type here to search” search box in the taskbar of Windows 10, the little window that pops up stayed completely blank. There was a small activity indicator at the top, and eventually it displayed a magnifying glass icon. That’s it.

Microsoft has broken that function in the past, but none of the workarounds – like disabling Bing integration – worked for me. It was also not a problem with the Search service itself, which seemed to be running and functioning just fine. This was clearly something else.

I tried the Windows repair commands, DISM and SFC, but to no avail. The issue would just not come back. I had almost resolved myself to not being able to fix this one without a fresh install, when I got on the right track. In my Event log, I noticed these errors:

Faulting application name: smartscreen.exe, version: 10.0.19041.264, time stamp: 0x36c2907c
Faulting module name: ucrtbase.dll, version: 10.0.19041.423, time stamp: 0xccf6a09c
Exception code: 0xc0000409
Fault offset: 0x000000000007284e
Faulting process id: 0x588
Faulting application start time: 0x01d674e5ef723b48
Faulting application path: C:\Windows\System32\smartscreen.exe
Faulting module path: C:\WINDOWS\System32\ucrtbase.dll
Report Id: 5e47b671-8ea4-47d0-b871-9df47f437410
Faulting package full name:
Faulting package-relative application ID:

It turns out that ucrtbase.dll is a “universal c runtime” library, which is installed with the Visual C++ redistributable package. Which, these days, is also installed by Windows itself.

I checked my installed Apps, and found I had not only the Windows SDK – I used some of its debug tools in the past – but about 30 different versions of the Visual C++ redistributable package. I decided this was entirely too many, uninstalled them all, reinstalled the current version.

Yet the problem still remained.

More out a habit of trial and error than anything else, I re-ran the Repair commands. This time, they found – and repaired – about three dozen files. A reboot later, my search box is working perfectly again.

I am not entirely sure if removing all the C++ packages was the thing that really helped, but appears like that’s the case. As always, since I found no real help on Google, I decided to post this. Hopefully it’ll help someone else out there, some day.

Windows 10: Microfreezes in Games

For the past few weeks, I noticed microfreezes or microstutters in games. Gameplay would “halt” for maybe half a second, then resume normally.

This affected multiple games, so I knew it was a problem with my PC. I checked everything I could – deinstalled applications, made sure nothing “weird” ran in the background, checked the logs, and tried to catch one of the freezes with resource monitors. No luck. I also ruled out thermal issues.

In the end, I found the cause by sheer luck: I noticed that every time I had one of those stutters or microfreezes, my desktop wallpaper on my off-hand screen would change. I disabled wallpaper slideshows and lo and behold: No more microfreezes.

Why this feature would cause a problem, I have no idea. It certainly hasn’t been an issue in the past. I am not sure if it’s related to the Windows 10 “May Update” – I think the freezes occurred before I installed that update.

System: AMD Ryzen 3900X, NVIDIA GTX 1080, Windows 10 Professional 64bit. All patches and drivers up-to-date.

Scrivener: Installation freezes up

I was testing the writing software Scrivener (for Windows), and ran into an issue. The installer would just freeze up completely on start. It would run, eat CPU time, and show up in the task list, but ultimately never showed any GUI.

Once it randomly worked, the application Scrivener itself had the same problem.

I then tried the Scrivener 3.0 Beta and it had the exact same issue.

Thanks to assistance from Scrivener’s support team, I was able to identify the cause: I had Wacom drivers dating from 2017 installed, as they were the latest for an old tablet I own. Uninstalling them solved the issue. The drivers for my current Wacom tablet do not interfere with Scrivener.

Hopefully, the Scrivener developers will fix this at some point, but until then: If you try to install or run Scrivener and it doesn’t work at all, make sure you do not have old Wacom drivers installed.

iOS iTunes Remote can’t find iTunes Library

The iTunes Remote software on my iPad worked flawlessly with my Macbook Air, but not with my Windows PC. I finally decided to investigate why, and after much search and trial-and-error, I found a solution.

It turns out that it gets confused by IPv6 on Windows (interestingly the same is not a problem on my MacBook, so I blame Windows). Once I disabled TCP/IPv6, iTunes remote started working.

To do so, open your Network and Sharing Center from the control panel. It looks like this:

Next, click on “Change adapter settings”, on the left-hand sidebar of that screen. You’ll get a new window, like this:

Now, most likely yours will be in English (Netzwerk = Network; LAN Verbindung = LAN Connection – Don’t ask me why my Windows insists on using some German terms) and the name of your network card will probably differ, but you want the LAN Connection that connects to the same network that your iPad or iPhone connects to. This might be a WLAN, and I suspect most people only have one network connected to their PC.

Anyway, right-click on the network card and select “Properties”. You’ll need Administrator rights. A new window pops up:

Simply uncheck the checkbox of the “Internet Protocol Version 6” item. Click OK.

One additional step is required.

Even though windows doesn’t ask you to, I found that I had to restart my PC. After that, my iTunes remote found my iTunes library flawlessly.

I hope this helps. And, no, I don’t know what we can do once TCP/IPv6 becomes indispensable – except for hoping for a fix from Apple and/or Microsoft.

How To Change Primary Display in Windows

A colleague had her Windows task bar on the wrong screen, and wanted to move the task bar to the other monitor. Seems this is a little confusing in Windows. You find the option if you right click on the desktop, then click on screen resolution. You will get this dialog:

First, you must click on the screen you want your windows start bar to appear on (blue arrow). Only then can you select the option “Make this my main display” (red arrow). If you have the wrong screen selected, the line “This is currently your main display” will appear.

Obviously, this is only applicable if you extend your desktop over multiple screens.

Keyboard Shotcut for changing Keyboard Layout in Windows

Because this happened to me several times now: In Windows, it is possible to switch between international keyboard layouts by pressing ALT+SHIFT or CTRL+SHIFT together. Since windows remembers this on a per-application basis, this can be quite confusing.

Simply pressing those shortcuts again cycles through the layouts.

Creating New Outlook .PST Files in Office 2010

Back in the good old days, I am pretty sure, all the PST related stuff was in the normal file menu. Not anymore. I wanted to create a new PST file and I had to look quite a while before I found it – Microsoft has it hidden quite well:

It’s in the Home ribbon, under “New Items -> More Items -> Outlook Data File”.

I never liked those Ribbons, but anyway, maybe this will save someone else ten minutes.