Finally Fix Cortana Search Crashing after Two Characters Typed on Windows 10

Yesterday my computer started exhibiting this bizarre behavior where typing two characters in the Cortana Search would crash the entire Taskbar – typing in the start button area would have the same behavior. I immediately tried the basic things first like restarting Cortana, Windows Explorer. I checked Services to make sure the Search service was running. Nothing helped.

(Pro Tip: In order to use the search feature to quickly open apps while this problem persists, type elsewhere and then cut/paste it into Cortana and press enter.)

Fruitless Attempts to Fix Cortana Search Crashing after Two Characters Typed

So like any sane person I immediately did a malware/virus scan with Windows Defender, SuperAntiSpyware, and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, as well as searched Google for answers when the scans were done. I ended up at this page first and ended up running SFC to no avail, which is why I hadn’t already done it.

However, DISM initially wouldn’t run due to an “Access Denied” error and after more Google searching I ended up here, which said an antivirus’ real-time protection could be blocking access to System32. However, I generally rely on good judgment, a firewall, and weekly virus scans rather than real-time protection so I didn’t think that was my case but I decided to check the Event Viewer. There were tons of “Unable to start a DCOM Server: The error: “740” Happened while starting this command” Errors. I decided to check Windows Firewall – Windows Firewall wouldn’t open.

Now I was suspicious. I decided to see if Windows Update had ran recently – it too would not open. So, it had definitely ran and screwed up my PC, which is a windows 7 “upgraded” to Windows 10 machine that’s been up and running for 4-5 years without a clean re-install, a recipe for disaster.. It’s good that I had not tried the other suggestions in the first Google searches for “Cortana Crashes Two Characters Typed” which told me that I needed to run Powershell to reinstall Cortana, or basically just start over and make a new Windows User account.

Cortana Search Crashing after Two Characters Typed because SearchUI.exe 0xc0000005

Event Viewer also showed me a few “Faulting application name: SearchUI.exe, Faulting module name: ConstraintIndex.Search.dll, Exception code: 0xc0000005” errors and after searching google I ended up at this Sysnative post that suggested Tweaking.com’s Repair Tool to fix the issue. Aside from CCleaner I generally stay away from “Repair Tools”, especially unknown registry cleaners and other tools that mess with system files like DLLs.. However, because my PC was screwed and I was losing hope, plus I remembered using Tweaking.com’s repair tool a time before to fix a small issue like thumbnails or context menus, I relented and tried it.

I ran the Preset Repairs for “Windows Update” with two extra options enabled, “27.02 – Repair windows 8/10 App Store (Completely Rest App Store)” and “28 – Repair windows 8/10 Component Store”, all free options. After 20 minutess of watching DOS windows check files and reset permissions and restarting my PC, all was well except Search was still crashing. Back to square one, sort of. At least now I just have one problem to deal with and not a dozen.

ConstraintIndex.Search.dll Key to Cortana Search Crashing – Solved with Regedit and Blind Faith

I did one more Google search for just “Faulting module name: ConstraintIndex.Search.dll, Exception code: 0xc0000005” and ended up at this Microsoft Answers post that suggested making a backup of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search in the registry and then deleting the whole entry to reset Windows Search. I tried it, and it worked. So far, so good!

Moral of the story… Use Google Search, as many times as it takes! Oh, and Tweaking.com saved the day again, part of it at least.


Setup Steps for Single NIC Hetzner Root Server, ESXi, and pfSense.

  1. Order a Hetzner Dedicated Root Server with no operating system, called a “Rescue Server”.
    1. Purchase an add-on IP address for the server and request a separate MAC address for it.
    2. Request a LARA Console session from Hetzner with a VMWare ESXi installer USB inserted in the server.
    3. Once LARA Console is started and you are connected, set up RAID on your hard drives if you are going to use it.

  2. Install ESXi to Hetzner root server, in ESXi Developer Tools enable SFTP or SSH.
    1. Transfer your pfSense installation image and other guest operating system images to the server datastore.
    2. Login to the ESXi host control panel using the vSphere Client or Web UI.
    3. On the Configuration tab of the ESXi host, go into the Networking settings.
    4. Create a new Standard Switch, name it “vSwitch1” by default with it’s network named “VM Network 2”.
      (So now you should have a vSwitch0 on VM Network and vSwitch1 on VM Network 2.)

  3. Create a virtual machine named “Router” on the ESXi host with 2 NICS, 1 Core, 1GB RAM, 8GB HDD, OS set to “Other”, and choose FreeBSD OS.
    1. Assign one of the Router virtual machine NICs to “VM Network” and the other to “VM Network 2”.
    2. Assign a CD/DVD Drive to the Router virtual machine and point it to the pfSense image transfered to the datastore.
    3. Power on the Router Virtual Machine and install pfSense with all the default settings.
      (You will end up with one NIC acting as WAN using your Hetzner main IP and one NIC acting as LAN with no IP.)

  4. Create another virtual machine on the ESXi host with your desired main operating system and NIC on VM Network 2.
    1. Install your operating system to the “Main VM” and start it, you should have local network access but no internet access.
    2. Open the Main VM’s web browser and go to the pfSense UI url, which is http://192.168.1.1. by default.
    3. Login to pfSense with the default credenital “admin” and “pfSense”, start the pfSense setup wizard/walkthrough.
    4. When setting up LAN, choose the option to Spoof MAC Address and enter the MAC from the Add-on IP bought from Hetzner.
      1. (Do NOT manually set Static IP, use MAC Address Spoofing and ONLY enter the MAC Address… learn from my mistakes.)
  5. Restart the Router VM – the Main VM should now have a local IP, an external IP, and internet access!

That’s it! The process really is simple, the main bulk of time spent will be waiting on OS iso’s to transfer to the ESXi datastore plus a bit of time for the actual OS installations.

Please comment below with any questions, suggestions, or anything else!

Hetzner VMWare ESXi Install Over Lara Console Drive Redirection Error

I rented a rescue/root server from Hetzner and was attempting to install VMWare ESXi to it via LARA Console. After Waiting 45+ minutes for the .iso to transfer and load via Drive Redirection, the ESXi image booted successfully and the install process started.

Hetzner Root Server - ESXi Install Over LARA Console
Hetzner Root Server – ESXi Install Over LARA Console

Then, as my luck would have it, an error occurred with a crazy purple screen I had never seen before:

Hetzner Root Server - ESXi Install Over LARA Console Error
Hetzner Root Server – ESXi Install Over LARA Console Error

So what was the solution? Ask Hetzner to put a ESXi image on usb for you to use. 😀

How I Learned That Not All Hetzner Root Servers Are the Same!

A while back I installed VMWare ESXi 6.5 on some Root Servers from Hetzner. The majority that I setup were Hetzner EX41S-SSD builds but I also did a Hetzner PX91-SSD build.

The first few EX41S-SSD servers took VMWare ESXi 6.5 fine without problem – the only thing I’d suggest is having Hetzner put a 6.5 image on usb for you to use since loading a remote image through LARA Console doesn’t work too well.

Then I did a PX91-SSD server and had to downgrade to 5.5 in order to solve a Datastore connection issue. The PX91-SSD servers are in a different datacenter than the EX41S-SSD servers that I was used to, so this really isn’t surprising.

Hetzner PX91-SSD VMWare Lost Connection to Volume on Datastore
Hetzner PX91-SSD VMWare Lost Connection to Volume on Datastore
Hetzner PX91-SSD VMWare Lost Connection to Volume - Windows Performance
Hetzner PX91-SSD VMWare Lost Connection to Volume – Windows Performance
Hetzner PX91-SSD VMWare Lost Connection to Volume - pfSense Performance
Hetzner PX91-SSD VMWare Lost Connection to Volume – pfSense Performance

The surprise came when I was setting up another EX41S-SSD server and I had to downgrade to 6.0 from the usual 6.5 because the NIC card in this EX41S-SSD wasn’t supported by 6.5 even though other EX41S-SSD servers run 6.5 just fine. I should note that I couldn’t get 6.0, or even 5.5, to work myself and was about to just install Windows and run VMWare Workstation when a Hetzner support specialist offered to get 6.0 working for me. I assume he used a custom ESXi 6.0 image that had the missing NIC drivers that the regular image was missing.

Hetzner EX41S-SSD VMWare ESXi 6.5 Unsupported NIC
Hetzner EX41S-SSD VMWare ESXi 6.5 Unsupported NIC

So.. in conclusion.. even though you may order two servers with the same name from Hetzner, you may not be getting two physically identical servers with the same hardware – especially with the EX server packages running residential grade hardware and Skylake/Haswell CPUs.

How use Python, or Any Program, via CMD Prompt without Full Path

For Windows 7/8/8.1/10:

  1. Right-click on “My Computer” or “This PC”.
  2. Select “Properties”.
  3. Click “Advanced System Settings”.
  4. Click “Environment Variables”.
  5. Under the “System Variables” sub-section select the Variable Path and click “Edit”.
  6. Append “;C:\Python27” to the existing path, click “Ok”, and “Ok” again.
  7. Restart CMD Prompt for the new path setting to take effect.

Source: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11287597/how-to-make-python-accessible-via-cmd-prompt-without-full-path