The Windows 10 Spring Update (Redstone 4) is beginning its official roll out today. While many of the platform’s new features have been previewed extensively through the Insider Program, we are learning more about some. For example, the Spring Update has made changes to searches in the Start Menu.
Firstly, Microsoft has taken a major step forward by integrating Bing search directly into the Start Menu. However, Windows 10 has always had the choice to enable web searches or turn them off in the menu. That has changed with the Spring Update as Microsoft has removed the policy conditions for disabling the features.
Basically, this means the ability to turn off web searches in the Start Menu is now removed. At the moment it seems this is a bug, or at least it is being presented as one by gHacks, which first spotted the change.
The report says the Bing web search is enabled no matter which of the three related group policy permissions are set. One point that seems to corroborate this was unintentional on Microsoft’s part is the fact the flaw appears only on specific Windows versions.
For example, it is now observed on Enterprise and Education versions running the Spring Update. The relevant policies are located under Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
They are listed as:
Do not allow web search
Don’t search the web or display web results in Search
Don’t search the web or display web results in Search over metered connections
Even setting all three policies to enabled does not stop the Bing search results from surfacing in the Start Menu. It also seems Redstone 5 Windows 10 builds are also affected. Redstone 5 is the next release of Windows 10 that will launch this fall.
Luckily, there seems to be a workaround if you don’t want search enabled on the Start Menu. You can either download the relevant registry file, or create your own:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00