One of the enhancements Microsoft gave Windows 8.1 is Bing Smart Search, which includes broad and innovative search capabilities.
But you might not want every search to include the PC, the Web, OneDrive, apps, and even the Windows Store. Here’s how to take control of Win8.1/Bing searches.
Rethinking searching in the Metro/Modern UI
One of the handier features of the original Windows 8 was its ability to start a search without actually opening a search box. When in the native, tile-based UI, you simply started typing a search phrase — the Search charm automatically opened with your text in the search box, and you could narrow the search by choosing Apps, Settings, or Files. You could also tap or click an application’s icon to search within that particular app.
For example, typing “troubleshooter” returned five results in Settings, four results in Files, and nothing in App (see Figure 1). You had to click all the categories to see all search results.
Apparently more than a few Win8 users found that confusing — or at least an unnecessary step. So with Windows 8.1, Microsoft reworked the search function into what it believed to be a more intuitive process.
Win8.1 still includes the blind search entry, but it no longer opens a separate window with the list of categories shown in Figure 1. In Windows 8.1, Search opens in a much-simplified right-hand column (see Figure 2) and immediately lists the top search results — from essentially everywhere.
To narrow your search in Win8.1, click the small down arrow next to the Everywhere label. And you’ll now have at least three options: Everywhere, Settings, and Files. Depending on the search, there might be more categories listed, but you won’t see an option for applications; Win8.1 leaves that up to individual apps — each of which might or might not have its own search box.