OneDrive Out, Speed In: Microsoft’s Search Surprise in KB5033372

According to a report by WindowsLatest, Microsoft integrated a cloud search feature into Windows 10 Explorer when it released an update in November 2019. This function allowed Explorer to search for relevant files in OneDrive when keywords were entered.

While this feature might not have been a detriment to OneDrive users, it proved to be less advantageous for most users. The integration of cloud search resulted in a decline in actual search performance, necessitating longer times to complete searches.

In the cumulative update KB5033372 released in December 2023, Microsoft unexpectedly removed this feature. No explanation for this removal was provided in the update log; users only discovered the change upon actual usage.

This means that after installing the December update, users utilizing the search function in Windows 10 Explorer should experience improved performance. Now, searches are conducted solely on local files. Coupled with the pre-established index of the Windows Indexer, the speed of searches is significantly faster.

File Explorer’s search bar’s web integration was turned off after the December 2023 update | Image Courtesy:

Sources from WindowsLatest suggest that this alteration was not an error but may be related to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. This act could involve issues of privacy and monopolization, necessitating Microsoft’s removal of the cloud search feature.

For Microsoft, integrating cloud search was a gradual process to cultivate user habits, encouraging increased and long-term use of OneDrive. Considering these benefits, it seems likely that Microsoft’s decision to remove this feature was not entirely voluntary, but rather a response to legal provisions set forth by the European Union.

Currently, this change applies to all global markets. It remains uncertain whether Microsoft will later restrict this alteration to users in the European Economic Area only.

Additionally, if users still wish to search cloud files, they can restore this option using the ViveTool: executing the command `vivetool /enable/id:18755234` and then rebooting the system to effect the change.