How to remove Windows Desktop Search

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

Update to original article:
Please note, this article refers to Windows Desktop Search version 3. If you wish to remove version 4, or you are unsure which one you have, please read this newer article first.

Many thanks to those that have offered valuable feedback on the subject of Microsoft’s bizarre decision to force their Windows Desktop Search program onto unsuspecting users across the world. Whilst it appears possible to just disable this application, many want to remove it, and that is where the “fun” starts. Different computers seem to require different removal methods. So I’ve tried to bring them all together here as a handy removal summary.

  1. Start by running up Add & Remove Programs from the control panel and look for Windows Desktop Search in the list. If lucky, it’ll be there and you can just remove it.
  2. If that fails, look for MSN Search Toolbar in the Add & Remove Programs list. If there, uninstalling this ought to uninstall Windows Desktop Search too. Be warned though,it obviously uninstalls the MSN Search Toolbar too. If you use this, you’ll have to re-install it afterwards. I assume you can re-install the MSN Search Toolbar without ending up with Windows Desktop Search back on your machine, but I haven’t checked this.
  3. If neither of the above work, the next option is to try a manual delete. Start up a command window and try running

    This should start up the hidden Windows Desktop Search uninstaller and allow you to manually remove it.
  4. If that fails, then we get into the more risky solutions. If you have a second PC, you could try installing Windows Desktop Search on there and hoep you get a $NtUninstallKB917013$ folder on that machine. If you do, you can then zip it up and copy it to your first machine and then run it there to remove the application.
  5. I am a little reluctant to even suggest this last option as it is so risky. If you do not have a second PC, the $NtUninstallKB917013$ folder doesn’t exist on your machine and you really cannot live with just disabling the product, then your last option is to download the required files from the internet. My advice is do not do this. You are risking inviting the less desirable sections of humanity to trick you into downloading crap onto your machine. If you really want to though, check out this MSDN forum on this topic for a possible download file. If you go for this option and your machine ends up trashed, remember you were warned…

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57 thoughts on “How to remove Windows Desktop Search

  1. Remarkably precise instructions on how to remove WDS, the most useless and intrusive software Microsoft every desinged. You can imagine this software gets surreptitiously installed in my computer during update, without my permission and then gets to annoy me for 3 years. I just got fed up with it a decided to give it the boot out of my system. Now it is all gone.

    Thanks a million David Arno.

  2. I like the silent uninstall without reboot option
    %systemroot%\$NtUninstallKB940157$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /quiet /norestart

    I’m look for a way to hide the update in windows update. without manually selecting “Don’t show Again”

  3. just exit the program and rename folder or delete folder in program files. by the way, what a useless piece of crap. they are trying to inject brainless software from vista into xp.

  4. I installed Windows Search 4.0 over the existing Windows Search and then uninstalled 4.0. Was the only thing that worked for me and I’m glad I’m finally rid of this crap.

  5. I have Windows 7 Home premium and it appears Windows Search is causing blue screen crashes and a Critical Event id 41. See below:





    How can I uninstall Windows Search from Windows 7?


  6. I may have copy/paste the event 41 code;;here is the Windows Search error.




    Context: Application, SystemIndex Catalog Details: A server error occurred. Check that the server is available. (HRESULT : 0x80041206) (0x80041206)

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