Nov 052012
 

It is possible to add a ‘Search the Internet’ link to the Windows 7 Start Menu. Windows Vista included this feature (and Windows 8 has a similar option) but for some reason it was omitted from Windows 7.

In Vista, you can search the internet direct from the Start Menu – click Start (or press the Windows key) then type your search into the Search box and press ‘Search the Internet’ – this automatically opens your default browser with search results from the default search engine.

To add the same ‘Search the Internet’ link to the Windows 7 Start Menu, follow these steps:

Caution: this process involves editing the Windows registry – it is always recommended to create a System Restore point first in case you need to revert back.

1. Click Start then type regedit into the Search box and press Enter to open the Registry Editor – accept the User Account Control confirmation message if it appears.

2. Navigate through the registry to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows

win7search1

3. If the Explorer sub-folder is already present within the Windows folder, skip to step 4. If it isn’t (as show above) you need to create it:

  • Right click the Windows folder and choose the option New > Key. Overwrite the default name of New Key #1 with Explorer.

4. Right-click the new sub-folder Explorer and choose the option New > DWORD (32-bit) Value as shown below:

win7search2

  • Overwrite the default name of New Value #1 with AddSearchInternetLinkInStartMenu then press Enter to create the new entry.

5. Double click the AddSearchInternetLinkInStartMenu entry and change the value to 1 as shown below then press OK to confirm:

win7search3

6. Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

The new command ‘Search the Internet’ should now appear whenever you start typing into the Start Menu’s Search box:

win7search4

Clicking ‘Search the Internet’ will open your default browser with search results from the default search engine – if the browser was already open the search results will appear in a new window, not a new tab.

Conclusion

The fact that searching the internet directly from the Search box appeared in Vista, and that Windows 8 includes a similar option, suggests that Microsoft have recognized that removing it from Windows 7 was an error.

Fortunately it is fairly easy to add back the ‘Search the Internet’ link to the Windows 7 Start Menu.

  One Response to “How To Add Search Internet Link To Windows 7 Start Menu”

  1. Thanks, fine tip. On side note might do a piece of the registry hack to be certain Win 8 has its UAC feature
    turned off. Seems maybe just pulling slider to very bottom Never notify might not be enough. Used to be a command string too that made sure it never threw a nag in some Win versions. Haven’t read of any for W 8 yet..A google search shows a possibility that turning off UAC in W 8 might prevent certain apps from working showing MS wants it kept on? So a write up would be helpful.