How to Turn Off Search Highlights on Windows 11: A Complete Guide

The advent of Windows 11 came with a series of interesting features aimed at enhancing user experience and interaction. One of these is the Search highlights feature, a fun and informative addition to your Search pane. It decorates the pane with information like famous people’s birthdays, trending searches, Microsoft Rewards, and other visually appealing icons. While the feature is designed to provide a more engaging and informative experience, it isn’t for everyone.

Perhaps you are the kind of user who values simplicity and cleanliness in your user interface. Maybe the popping icons and extra information feel like a cluttered intrusion into your workspace. If that’s the case, you’ll be pleased to know that there are ways to disable the Search highlights and reclaim your Search pane’s simplicity. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through different methods to turn off Search highlights on your Windows 11 system, allowing you to tailor the user experience to your preferences.

What Are Search Highlights in Windows 11?

Before we delve into how to disable this feature, let’s first understand what Search highlights are. These are the content bits that show up on the right-hand pane when you access your PC’s Search function. The content can range from famous people’s birthdays to anniversaries, trending searches, Microsoft Rewards, and more. Themed icons often pop up in your search bar to match the topic.

While these Search highlights might be informative and engaging to some, not everyone finds them useful. If you’re one of those users, read on to find out how you can switch off this feature and free up your Search pane.

How to Disable Search Highlights on Windows 11

Disabling Search highlights on your Windows 11 PC is a straightforward process, and there are four different methods to achieve it. Let’s explore each of them.

Using Search Settings

One of the simplest ways to disable Search highlights is through the Search pane itself. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the Search feature by clicking on “Search” in your taskbar.
  2. In the top-right corner of the Search panel, select the three dots and choose “Search Settings.”
  3. On the page that opens, scroll down to the “More Settings” section. Here, turn off the “Show Search Highlights” option.
Turn Off Search Highlights

Voila! Your Search highlights are now disabled.

Turn Off Search Highlights From Settings

Another straightforward method to turn off Search highlights is through your PC’s Settings app. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Open Settings by pressing Windows+i.
  2. In the app’s left sidebar, click “Privacy & Security.”
  3. On the right pane, choose “Search Permissions.”
  4. Scroll down to the “More Settings” section and toggle off the “Show Search Highlights” option.

And just like that, you’ve successfully turned off Search highlights.

Using Local Group Policy Editor

If you’re running Windows 11’s Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition, you can utilize the built-in Local Group Policy Editor tool to turn off Search highlights. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your “Run” dialog box by pressing Windows+R.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” in the box and press Enter.
  3. Using the left sidebar, navigate to the following path: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
  4. On the right pane, double-click the “Allow Search Highlights” entry.
  5. In the open window, choose “Disabled” at the top. Then, click “Apply” followed by “OK.”
Turn Off Search Highlights

And there you have it. You’ve successfully disabled Search highlights on your PC.

Using Registry Editor

If the above methods don’t work, you can resort to the Registry Editor. This method should only be used as a last resort, as accidental changes in your PC’s registry can make your entire system unusable. Follow these steps with caution:

  1. Open the “Run” box using Windows+R.
  2. Type “regedit” in the box and press Enter.
  3. Click “Yes” in the “User Account Control” prompt.
  4. Navigate to the following path: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SearchSettings.
  5. On the right pane, double-click the “IsDynamicSearchBoxEnabled” entry.
  6. In the open box, click the “Value Data” field and enter “0”. Then, choose “OK.”

Once you’ve done that, close the Registry Editor. Your Search highlights feature is now disabled.

Turn Off Search Highlights

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Closing Statements

Navigating through our digital spaces should feel like a breeze, not a hurdle race. While features like Search highlights may enhance the overall user experience for some, they could be a source of distraction for others. Windows 11, understanding the diverse needs of its global user base, has made it easy to turn off such features. This guide aimed to provide a clear, step-by-step process to do just that. Whether you’re a fan of minimalistic design or you just prefer less visual noise while working, the ability to turn off Search highlights can significantly impact your user experience in Windows 11.

But the customization doesn’t stop there. As you grow more familiar with Windows 11, you’ll discover more ways to tailor your experience to your liking, making your digital environment truly your own. From privacy settings to display and sound adjustments, there’s a plethora of customization options waiting to be explored. So whether you are a tech whizz or a casual user, remember, your digital space is yours to control.

As we move forward in this digital age, the freedom to customize and adapt our technologies will become increasingly important. From disabling Search highlights on Windows 11 to adjusting privacy settings on our smartphones, every little tweak helps us create a digital world that is reflective of our individual needs and preferences. Here’s to a future where technology doesn’t dictate our experiences, but rather, enhances and complements them based on our unique choices. And remember, whether you’re an expert user or just starting your tech journey, never be afraid to make your digital space your own.

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