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Windows 8.1 Start Menu Search could get alot better.

Windows 8.1 Start Menu Search Not Working Right

Windows 8.1 start menu search has got a lot better than Windows8. That is in Windows 8 Search really did not accommodate certain sub-entities. By that I mean in Windows 8 sometimes you could search for the term “rename” but nothing would show up. But on Windows 8.1 if you search for the term “rename this computer” or simply “rename” the system as shown in figure1 would show the right option. If you click on the suggested icon you would be taken to Windows Desktop’ System Properties which is a program by the name of “SystemPropertiesComputerName.exe” as shown on Figure2.

Figure1: Rename Windows Computer on Start Menu Search

Rename Windows Computer on Start Menu Search

Figure 2: Windows 8.1 System Properties on Windows Desktop Environment

Windows 8.1 System Properties on Windows Desktop Environment

But How Does Microsoft Windows know that the “Computer Name” Tab on System Properties should be associated to a term “Rename this Computer”? That’s because That Term is mapped under the Control panel to System Properties’ Computer Name Tab. See Figure 3.

Figure3: Windows 8.1 Control Panel Showing the Option Rename This Computer Under System Options.

Windows 8.1 Control Panel Showing the Option Rename This Computer Under System Options

Yet some obvious Things that Worked Fine under Windows 7 refuse to work on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. As you can see in Figure 4, in windows 7 you could have typed in “Computer Management” in to Start Menu Search Box you could have seen that the right program showed up under the search. This program is actually named compmgmt.msc which is located under Administrative Tools of Control Panel. Unfortunately under Windows 8.1 searching for “Computer Management” does not really yield the program that would bring up the Computer Management Console. But under Windows 8.1 if you search for compmgmt.msc the System brings up the right program to bring up Computer Management Console.

Figure 4: Bringing up Computer Management under Windows 7.

Bringing up Computer Management under Windows 7

Figure 5: Windows 8.1 Searching for Computer Management brings up no relevant Results.

Windows 8.1 Searching for Computer Management brings up no relevant Results

Figure6: Bringing up Computer Management Console by typing compmgmt.msc

Bringing up Computer Management Console by typing compmgmt.msc

Basically if you try to search for any of the Consoles or Programs that appear under Control Panel\System and Security\Administrative Tools.

For instance if you try to bring up “Disk Cleanup” by typing that into start menu search it won’t work. Trying to bring up Disk Cleanup program by searching cleanmgr.exe brings up Disk clean up just fine.

Basically it appears that if the program appears under control panel or Start Menu\Programs\ it will show up on the search.

But the picture gets more mixed. If you try to bring up Microsoft Word (2013). You have two options you can type in the executable name “winword.exe” or you can simply type in “Word” to bring up Microsoft Word. See Figure 7 for how to bring up Word. The issue is a lot of us came up with calling that program “Microsoft Office Word” or Perhaps “Microsoft Word”. But if you type in “Microsoft Office” or “Microsoft Word” it does not bring up your expected program (in fact it brings up no program).

See Figure 8 and Figure 9.

Figure 7: Word 2003 Program being invoked.

Invoking Word 2013 on Windows 8.1

Figure 8: Typing Microsoft Word does not bring up the expected result on Windows 8.1

Typing Microsoft Word does not bring up the expected result on Windows 8.1

Figure 9: Typing Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office Word does not show the right program.

Typing Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office Word does not show the right program.

Yet Windows 8.1 Still has some annoying issue when it comes to search.

Let’s you download Process Explorer from SysInternals. All SysInternalsTools like many windows programs come with no Installer. They ship as a simple Zipfile and you are suppose to Extract it out and put it somewhere on your system. So I normally put it under C:\sysinternals\ProcessExplorer\procexp.exe. Well Then I create a Shortcut to that Program and Call it “Process Explorer” on the Windows Desktop. The issue is Searching for Process Explorer or searching for Procexp.exe does not yield the result you are looking for.

Conclusion: It seems like Microsoft has focused way too much on Touch and gestures on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 platforms.

Wish List: I wish Windows looked in more places to bring up Windows Programs to Execute. But perhaps more importantly I wished Microsoft introduced a notion of Synonyms. That is I might call a renaming my computer “Rename this Computer”, “Rename this box” or “rename this pc” or perhaps “Computer Rename”. Microsoft Should be able to recognize that all these search intentions are all pointing to System Properties’ Computer Name Tab. The issue is that doing this right in Tens of Locales That Windows Ships is not easy Task.