Last Updated on September 22, 2017
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!