How to Remove the Icons in Search Box in Windows 10/11

You may have noticed new, and ever-changing, little icons in the Search box on Windows 10’s Taskbar. That’s a “search highlight.” If you are like us, we found these icons very annoying.

Windows 10-11 Header

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
July 23, 2022

You may have noticed new, and ever-changing, little icons in the Search box on Windows 10’s Taskbar. That’s a “search highlight.” If you are like us, we found these icons very annoying. Here’s what it is and how to remove it.

This is for Windows 10 and 11. Screenshots are from Windows 10

Dilbert and Pills
Copyright Scott Adams, Inc./Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

Why the Icons

The icons are a part of a new feature rolled out to Windows 10 and Windows 11 as part of an April 2022 update.

The particular feature is called Search Highlights and it integrates a rotating set of icons into the right-hand side of the toolbar Search box. Depending on the day, the icons are specific; such as to celebrate the U.S. Open golf tournament, or more generic with suggested backgrounds, like photos of U.S. national parks.

In addition to placing the icons in the Search box, the Search Highlights feature also puts “highlighted” content into the Search menu on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. The highlights include news, trending stories, word and quote of the day tiles (presumably rolled out on slow news days,) as well as a trending searches tile.

If you like Microsoft’s bid to mimic a sort of Google daily doodle combined with a little news showcase in your Search menu then you can, naturally, just leave things how they are.

But if you had a less than positive reaction to the change, it’s thankfully very simple to turn off. Yea!

Remove the Icons

First, on Windows 10, you will see the icons in the Search box. Refer to the below image:

Icons 1
The icons in the Search box

Next, right-click on a blank area in your Taskbar to pull up the menu, select Search and uncheck Show search highlights option to get rid of these silly icons. Refer to the below image:

Icons 2
Remove the icons by unchecking Show search highlights

Although there’s no Search box (and thus no new icons) on Windows 11, you can still turn off the highlights in the Search menu. Just head to:

Settings > Privacy & Security > Search Permissions > More Settings

In the More Settings section just toggle OFF the switch Show Search Highlights.

With that simple change, there will not be any more icons in the Search box or news highlights in the Search menu.

Quote For the Day

The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Author’s E-book

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The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong Vietnam: Events and Aftermath

Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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