Windows 10: Can't type in Search field

After I had done some changes in Windows 10 to make it faster and less "chatty" to Microsoft (switch off Telemetry, switch off error reporting etc.) I could not use search any more. Symptoms were:

  • Can't type into Cortana search field
  • Can't type to search in Start Menu
  • Can't type to search in Win 10 App Store
  • Can't type in taskbar search
  • Can't type in Settings search

There are lots people with the same or similar issues as can be seen from a simple Internet search "win 10 taskbar search not working".

Unfortunately, from all the suggestions, nothing worked for me:

  • Re-install Cortana (keyboard search should also work without Cortana, so that did not help)
  • Kill the Cortana/Search process
  • Rebuild the search index
  • Re-install all default apps
  • Restart the "Windows Search" service
  • Run the "Search and Indexing" Troubleshooter
  • Run system file checker (SFC) to search for currupted files
  • Re-install the keyboard driver

After some hours of poking around, I found that I could right-click in the search field and paste the contents of the clipboard! And I saw the correct search results. So the index must have been fine. It looked like a keyboard issue, not a search issue.

But the keyboard worked in any application (e.g. Notepad, Excel etc.) just not in the searches. I started to suspect that it could be a Windows 10 "Modern Apps" issue. As I never use Modern Apps, I first had to load one (I chose "Calculator"), and - Bingo! - I could not enter any numbers via the keyboard. I could only click on the numbers, but could not type them.

I found that the keyboard did not work for any Windows 10 Modern Apps, just for the traditional desktop apps. Finally I found through some Internet searches how to solve this problem:

  1. Open Task Scheduler
  2. Go to Microsoft > Windows > TextServicesFramework
  3. On MsCtfMonitor, do a right-click and enable the task
  4. Restart your machine

That's it. All the search boxes worked again!

Update: If the task MsCtfMonitor is missing from the list of tasks, you can import it with the .XML file below:

MsCtfMonitor.xml

Thanks to Rob for the tip.

58 thoughts on “Windows 10: Can't type in Search field”

  1. I have a HP Pavilion Dv6 laptop that had migrated to Windows 10. Every other day a new problem crops up which only goes to show Microsoft was illogically (and perhaps fraudulently) pushing Windows 10 onto machines that were not equipped to use it as OS. It is only thanks to people like you that the simple people like us can still run our machines.

    Thank you very much for your wonderful solution. I will now look you up whenever I run into trouble.

    Regards.

  2. I thank you very very very very much.
    You survive me from windows reset and install all apps again!
    God bless you.
    Best wishes

  3. I’ve had this problem for about 6 months. Have tried many times to fix it but nothing worked. Periodically I’d Google it again and try to fix it but had sort of given up ever fixing it. Stumbled across this and it worked! I had to work out how to create the missing xml file (not that great with PCs) but once I’d done that it was simple. Thank you so much.

  4. Very very very tankyou!!!

    Excelent solution!!
    Can't say thank you enough times!!!!! Solved my problem!! X2 to me

    God Bless You

  5. Fantastic solution and clearly explained.
    I had been pulling my hair out and even re-installed Windows 10 without resoving this issue.
    It may originate from my deleting Cortana that I never use.
    Congrats to Rob !! Really appreciated.
    The only tiny issue was that I use a Swiss French Keyboard and I just needed to reset it to the correct layout.
    I will paste a link of your solution in another forum that provided a temporary (until restart) by entering the command: WIN+R and enter "cftmon.exe".
    Thanks again !
    best wishes,

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