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  • App synonyms in Cortana search feature in Windows 10 that will make you smile!

    Posted on May 23rd, 2017 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    Ever wondered why the search feature in Windows 10 list the results as it does? Today I found a really interesting text file that shed more light on how some search results are listed.

    One of my favorite tools in Windows is “Resource Monitor“. I use it all the time, basically every day to figure out what is going on in Windows, most of the times at the disk activity tab and watching what is going on (if things are installing, if something is being downloaded or what log files things are written to etc).

    What I found today made me laugh and smile for quite some time. I found a text file containing app synonyms, and in there lies some explanation to why and how the search feature in Windows 10 lists search results as it does when searching for applications, apps and settings.

    The funny thing is that it lists all common misspelling of some common applications. For instance, did you know that you can do a search for “exell” and it will display “Excel 2016” in the search results? You can also type “npo” to find “Notepad“, or type “c prompt” that will list “command prompt”, or “exx” that will find “Internet Explorer” or if you search for “ie” and it will list “Edge”.

    The file where all these synonyms are gathered is named appssynonyms.txt and is located in C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\ Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\ ConstraintIndex\Input_{3fe4e30f-3de5-44d2-b081-e763cc324698}

    This is just hilarious, and it made my day 😊 Now I know another reason why Microsoft need to collect whatever the user types (when telemetry is set to “full”); To gather more misspellings and intel for this synonyms list.

    Note: Also see settingssynonyms.txt in the same directory as the one above, where all aliases for finding control panels and settings are listed!

  • URL and LNK files now searchable in Windows 10 search (Cortana / Start menu search)

    Posted on February 8th, 2017 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    After filing this as a bug the first time in November 2015, as of February 6th 2017 the fix for searching for Internet shortcuts (LNK and URL files) placed in the start menu is here at last! Now when doing a search in all Windows 10 editions (1511, 1607 and the latest and upcoming Red Stone 2 build a.k.a. “Creators Update”) internet shortcuts (i.e. links to web applications) are returned in the search results as one would expect.

    There are a few things to note though:

    1. The change is done by the Bing team and it is a server side update. This means the search components are updated in the background automatically, unless you are blocking silent updates.
    2. Only LNK and URL files that are placed in the start menu are returned in search. That is C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs or C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.
    3. You must make sure the GPO “Don’t search the web or display the web results in Search” is set to “Disabled” or “Not configured” (located in Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search).

    Thank you Microsoft!