Fed up with Windows 10 search being slow, wonky, or crashing? Microsoft’s fixed search with its latest update

Windows 10 has received a new optional update and it comes with some much-needed fixing to cure problems some users have been experiencing with the search function in the OS.

Windows Latest noticed that in the latest preview update just released for Windows 10 (KB5036979), there’s been some work to improve the search functionality.

Microsoft tells us that: “This update makes some changes to Windows Search. It is now more reliable, and it is easier to find an app after you install it. This update also gives you a personalized app search experience.”

As Windows Latest describes, for some Windows 10 users, search has become a somewhat hit or miss affair particularly around trying to quickly fire up an app. Such as, for example, searching for the ‘Recycle Bin’ and not getting the icon for that returned, but other functions instead.

On social media, there have been a number of reports about wonky search experiences, too, such as this one on Reddit where Windows 10 refused to find a commonly-used app.

In more extreme cases, search is locking up and crashing, which is the pinnacle of irritation for this part of the UI.


Analysis: Wait a little longer

Hopefully, this kind of behavior should be a thing of the past when this update is applied. However, note that this is just an optional update at this point, so it’s officially still in testing – meaning there’s a slight chance the fix may not be fully working. Or that the KB5036979 update might cause unwelcome side-effects elsewhere in Windows 10 (it wouldn’t be the first time, certainly).

The safest bet is to wait it out, let early adopters test this preview update, and install the finished cumulative update when it arrives in May (on Patch Tuesday, which will be May 14).

At least we know this piece of smoothing over is now incoming, so those who’ve been frustrated with iffy search results now know that – with any luck – their woes should soon be over. Or at least, they’ll face spanners in the search works with less regularity.

Elsewhere with this update, Microsoft has also improved the reliability of widgets on the lock screen, with a more “customized experience” and more visuals available, so these should be better all-round, too.

The downside with KB5036979? That’s a new initiative to introduce notifications about your Microsoft Account in the Start menu and Settings app, which will doubtless consist of various prompts to sign up for an account, or to finish that process.

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Microsoft can be slow to cure bugs at times – but you won’t believe how long it took to fix a CPU-related glitch preventing Windows 11 upgrades

After over two years of waiting, Microsoft has finally lifted a block on some Windows 10 PCs with Intel Rocket Lake CPUs that prevented users from upgrading to Windows 11 – so those folks should now be free to migrate (should they wish).

We’re all by now familiar with Windows 11’s more onerous system requirements – which includes a stipulation for having TPM, and rules out older CPUs to boot, but Rocket Lake is contemporary silicon and officially supported by Microsoft’s newest OS. Rocket Lake is, in fact, Intel’s 11th generation, so it’s only three generations back from current 14th-gen chips (Raptor Lake Refresh).

However, as mentioned, some of those PC owners who have a Rocket Lake processor were prevented from upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, and this was due to a compatibility issue with 11th-gen CPUs and some driver versions for Intel Smart Sound Technology (SST).

The problem is that older SST drivers could cause the PC to crash with a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) when using Rocket Lake.

What’s really odd here is that the bug was discovered a long, long time ago – in November 2021 – and as Tom’s Hardware, which spotted this, points out, for those who had upgraded to Windows 11 and were hit by these BSoD crashes, a fix was offered up within weeks.

However, as is the case when a software or hardware compatibility issue is discovered, PCs that might run into the pinpointed gremlin are blocked from upgrading to prevent that from happening.

The trouble is Microsoft has only just lifted that block now, and finally marked the bug as resolved, almost two and a half years after this glitch was first discovered.


Analysis: Definitely not as fast as a speeding rocket

That’s not exactly moving fast, is it? And yes, the cure in this case did depend on an external source – an Intel driver update – but that was delivered in a relatively timely manner by Team Blue. As mentioned, the fix for those who’d already upgraded to Windows 11 on a Rocket Lake PC, and had run into the BSoD error, was provided not long after the issue was discovered.

So, why did it take Microsoft so long to actually get this fix delivered to Rocket Lake PCs via Windows Update, so the Windows 11 upgrade block could be removed? Well, we don’t know the answer, and the whole episode is very odd indeed. Until now, Microsoft just left the solution to this bug as pointing users to the Intel website to obtain the correct and updated drivers (rather than actually delivering them as part of Windows 10’s updates).

In case you wondering about the specifics here, the affected Intel SST driver versions are 10.29.0.5152 or 10.30.0.5152. If you’re running a PC with Rocket Lake on either of those versions, you need to upgrade to version 10.29.00.5714 or later, or 10.30.00.5714 or better, respectively.

You can now grab those versions via Windows Update – simply head there in Windows 10 and check for updates. Once installed, you should be free to upgrade to Windows 11, though not in every case – and not immediately.

Microsoft clarifies: “If your device still encounters this safeguard hold [block on upgrading to Windows 11] 48 hours after updating your drivers, it’s possible drivers for this Audio Controller [Intel SST] haven’t been developed for your specific device hardware configuration.”

So, bear in mind that even after installing the drivers, it could take up to 48 hours before you get offered the Windows 11 upgrade. However, if you aren’t offered it once you’ve waited out those two days, then you need to contact the manufacturer of your device and get them to help you on how best to proceed.

This is rather an anomaly, it has to be said – Microsoft taking such a ridiculously long time to get its house in order with a fix – and hopefully, we won’t be treated to any hold-ups quite this bad going forward.

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Firefox will no longer be so slow to boot up

Mozilla has released the latest version of its browser and Firefox 97 includes several new features and fixes across Windows, Mac, and Android.

The first fix will likely be a welcome addition to all Firefox for Android users as Mozilla has improved the performance of its browser when cold starting it. This means that the browser will now load up even faster when being launched after restarting your Android smartphone.

Another big fix is the fact that desktop users can now set a default app to open specific file types. By heading to Firefox's settings, users can choose the application they want to use when opening files such as images, documents and more.

In Firefox 97's release notes, Mozilla also revealed that 18 colorways were recently removed from its browser. For those unfamiliar, colorways allow Firefox users to personalize their browsing experience with a number of themes that were created in partnership with an industry color specialist. It's also worth noting that each new Firefox release will include its own set of colorways that are available within the browser's add-ons menu.

Firefox 97

Mozilla has also updated its browser to work better with Windows 11 and Firefox now supports and displays the new style of scrollbars in the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. 

Meanwhile, on macOS, the company has made improvements to system font loading which makes opening and switching to new tabs faster in certain situations. On the Linux front, Mozilla has removed support for directly generating PostScript for printing. However, printing to PostScript printers still remains a supported option.

In addition to improved performance when launching Firefox from a cold start on Android, the browser now displays a prompt when users attempt to leave private browsing with active downloads so they don't lose any important information.

At the same time, Firefox Focus for Android now has a setting for HTTPS-Only Mode and Mozilla has added the option to give your shortcuts a name.

If you haven't used Mozilla's browser in a while, there's never been a better time to give Firefox another shot especially with its new redesign that launched last summer.

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Windows 11 running slow? Microsoft’s ongoing SSD problems could be to blame

Windows 11 continues to suffer from a problem where some NVMe SSDs are running more than 50% slower, and Microsoft still hasn’t fixed it. The issue has been plaguing some Windows 11 users since the operating system was in beta earlier this year, so the fact that several months later the problem persists has led many people to wonder when Microsoft will release a fix.

As MSPoweruser reports, a user ran CrystalDiskMark benchmark tests for the Samsung 980 Pro SSD and found that random write speeds are drastically cut.

So, if your Windows 11 PC appears to be running slowly and you are using an NVMe SSD, this could be the culprit.


Analysis: Where’s the fix?

When this issue was first identified in the Windows 11 beta, Microsoft acknowledged the problem. However, no fix has been released, and it’s not entirely clear what’s causing the problem, though some people suggest it’s the virtualization-based security of Windows 11 that’s to blame.

Whatever the cause, this is one of the more serious Windows 11 problem we’ve seen, and the fact that there has yet to be a fix around three months after it was discovered is concerning. It could mean that a fix is harder to implement. This won’t be welcome news for anyone affected by this problem.

It’s not a good look for Windows 11, either. Microsoft wants more people to upgrade to the new operating system, but ongoing problems like this are just going to put people off. Microsoft will need to come up with a fix, and fast.

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Windows 10 updates could now slow down your PC – here’s how to fix them

Several recent Windows 10 updates are seriously impacting the speeds of PCs they are installed on.

According to Windows Latest, Windows 10 updates KB4535996, KB4540673 and KB4551762 could all make your PC slower to boot.

While KB4535996 is an optional update, and has been accused of introducing various problems into Windows 10 since its launch on February 27, Windows 10 KB4540673 and KB4551762 are standard updates, which means they are more likely to have been installed on your PC.

Not only are these updates making PCs slower to boot, when Windows 10 does load up, some people have noticed that their computers act more slowly than before – for example taking longer to load up apps or open folders.

Not everyone will be affected by these issues, but in its testing, Windows Latest found that Windows 10 KB4535996 was particularly bad at slowing down various PCs.

New Windows 10 KB4551762 issues

Windows Latest is also reporting on performance issues with the Windows 10 KB4551762 update. This update, which is for people running Windows 10 1903 and 1909 versions (the two latest major Windows 10 releases) is causing people to notice abnormal processor and disk usage – which can seriously impact the performance of the computer.

One of our biggest concerns is that Windows 10 KB4551762 is billed as an important update that is supposed to bring a number of fixes. That means Windows 10 users are being encouraged to install it.

People in Windows Latest’s comment section, as well as Microsoft’s support forums and on Reddit, have been complaining about issues their PCs are having after installing the update, including slow boot times, system crashes and the dreaded Blue Screen of Death.

Some people are also stating that the update itself fails to install, instead throwing up an error message. This might be a blessing in disguise.

How to fix these problems

For each of these faulty Windows 10 updates, the easiest way of fixing the problems they have brought is to uninstall the updates themselves. Once uninstalled, users have reported that the issues have cleared up.

Thankfully, the process of uninstalling a Windows 10 update is pretty simple. Open up the Settings app (the cog icon in the Start menu, or by pressing Windows + I on the keyboard), then click 'Update & security'.

From the window that appears, click 'Windows Update' on the left-hand menu, then 'View update history'. Click 'Uninstall updates' then select the name of the troublesome update to uninstall it. The problems should now be fixed.

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