Search Desktop Shortcut

How to Create a Search Desktop Shortcut on Vista
This will show you how to create a Desktop shortcut for Search. When you click on the shortcut, it will open the Search window.
How to Create a Search Desktop Shortcut on Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to create a desktop shortcut for Search. When you click on the shortcut, it will open the Search window.
Note   Note
When the Vista SP1 is installed, it will remove Search from the Start Menu and other places. For more details on this, see: Microsoft Help and Support: KB941946
Tip   Tip

EXAMPLE: Search window
You will still have to click on the Advanced Search drop down arrow though. :(
B) You can also open this window by pressing the Windows + F keys.

Download the "Search" Shortcut

1. Click on the download button below to download the file.​

2. Click Save and save it to the Desktop.​
3. Right click on the file (on desktop) and click on Open.​
4. Click on Allow in the UAC prompt.​
5. Extract the Search shortcut to the desktop.​
6. Place the shortcut where you like to use it at.​
7. When done, you can delete the file (on desktop) if you want to.​

Manually Create "Search" Shortcut

1. Right click on a empty area on desktop, and click on New and Shortcut.​
2. Copy and paste the location below into the location area, and click on the Next button. (see screenshot below)​
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe search-ms:

3. Type Search for the name, and click on the Finish button. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: You can name this anything you would like though.

4. Right click on the new Search shortcut on the Desktop and click on Properties.​
5. Click on the Shortcut tab, then click on the Change Icon button. (see screenshot below)​

6. Click on Browse and navigate to C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll. (see screenshot below)​
7. Click on the icon highlighted in blue below.​
NOTE: If you have your own icon you would rather use, then just navigate to where you have it saved. Vista needs a 256 bit icon for the best viewing results.
8. Click on OK.​

9. Click OK to apply. (see screenshot below step 5)​
10. Place or copy the new Search shortcut to wherever you like it to be for easy use.​
That's it,

Last edited:
Shawn Brink


There is an easier way to add a search shortcut to desktop. Open search with the window key + F. Left click on "Search Results" in the address bar and drag to the desktop. Click on "Create Shortcut Here" and you're done.
Thank you mistrmac. That is alot easier to do. It should be on the magnifying glass though and not "Search Results". The tutorial has been updated for this.

Thank you again,
Is there any way of restoring the "Search" icon back to the right-side of the start menu (which was removed by Microsoft in SP1 thanks to those babies at Google)?
I have SP2 installed and the Windows F shortcut has stopped working. The Windows E still works...any suggestions? It's driving me nuts. The Search box in the START menu just doesn't cut it...
Thanks Shawn,
That works a treat. Anyway of assigning a keyboard shortcut to it (like windows + F) or getting it onto the task bar?

Thanks Brink.
I just now found this tutorial. It is exactly what I wanted. I keep forgetting Windows key + F to get to advanced search.
In my Vista ultimate SP2 system, I found the magnifying glass icon here:
Option Two Step 6
Frank C