Disable the little drawing (known as search highlights) in the Windows 10/11 search bar

After deploying new Windows 10/11 images with the latest updates, Microsoft has included Search highlights. You can see if you have search highlights enabled when having a little drawing in the search bar. When clicking on the search bar it extends with graphics and more crap.

So what are search highlights?

Designed to help Windows users discover more information and related content, search highlights present noteworthy, informative, and interesting information of what’s special about each day—like holidays, anniversaries, and other moments in time both globally and in your region

This new feature can be nice for home users but not for most enterprise environments. So I disable this feature for all the Windows 10/11 deployments.

Disable search highlights by using a Group Policy Object (GPO) 

  • Make sure you have at least the Administrative Templates (admx) for Windows 10 November 2021 Update (21H2) – v2.0 (link).
  • Copy the ADMX files to the Group Policy Central Store in the sysvol folder (example: \\<fqd domain name>\SYSVOL\<fqd domain name>\policies\PolicyDefinitions)
  • Create or edit a Group Policy Object (GPO) to the OU where the computer objects are placed
  • Browse to Computer Configuration – Policies – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Search
  • Open the “Allow search highlights” setting and select Disable
  • Perform a “gpupdate /force”  on the Windows client

 

Disable search highlights by registry setting

Another method is by creating a registry key on the Windows 10/11 machine.

  • Execute the following command as administrator:
REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" /v "EnableDynamicContentInWSB" /t REG_DWORD /d "0" /f

Disabling this setting turns off search highlights in the taskbar search box and in search home.

Quick Tip: Download the latest Windows 10 ISO file

Today on May 18, 2021, Windows 10 21H1 is released (May 2021 Update). This 21H1 version is a minor release version and the 21H2 version (later this year) will be a major release version. I use the latest Windows 10 versions in my lab environment for creating and testing golden images for VDI environments.

To download the latest Windows 10 ISO file I use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This is a Windows-based tool. When starting the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool it opens a Graphical User Interface and you are able to download Windows 10 Home (N), Education (N) and the Pro (N) ISO. To download the Enterprise version you need to enter the command line. Here are the steps explained to download a Windows 10 Enterprise ISO:

  • Download the Media Creation Tool (MediaCreationTool21H1.exe), link
  • Select: “Download Tool now”
  • Open the command line
  • Use the following command to download the English 64-bits Windows 10 Enterprise ISO:
MediaCreationTool21H1.exe /Eula Accept /Retail /MediaArch x64 /MediaLangCode en-US /MediaEdition Enterprise
  • To download the Dutch 64-bits Windows 10 Enterprise ISO use the following command:
MediaCreationTool21H1.exe /Eula Accept /Retail /MediaArch x64 /MediaLangCode nl-NL /MediaEdition Enterprise
  • Enter the product key “NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43”.  The KMS client keys can be found here: link

  • Select: Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC

  • Select “Iso file” and browse to a location to store the ISO. You need at least 8GB free on the C-drive and the ISO size is between 4 and 5 GB.

  • The download of the Windows 10 ISO starts.

Once the downloading of the ISO is completed it’s ready for use.

Quick Tip: The local Windows 10 taskbar is in front during an RDP session

Sometimes it happens to me that the local taskbar of my Windows 10 laptop is in front and you don’t have access to the remote toolbar during a full-screen RDP session. This is quite annoying. In the picture below you see the local toolbar of my Windows 10 laptop is in front during a full-screen RDP session.

Accessing the remote taskbar from the server is only possible when you don’t run RDP in full-screen mode. The fix for this is to reboot the local Windows 10 device or kill the “explorer.exe” process.  You can do this manually using the Windows task manager or automated using the command line. The syntax is as follows:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c "C:\Windows\System32\taskkill.exe /F /IM explorer.exe & start explorer"