Last night I was cleaning up my C drive on my Windows 10 PC, like you, and decided to reboot when I was all done. After putting off a series of Windows updates over the past few weeks because I didn’t want to go through the painful, 10-second reboot process, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get my OS up to date. But when I logged back in, I found that my Windows search bar now had these damn, unsolicited donut images hiding it.
For anyone lucky enough to be on Mac right now, the Windows search bar is a bit like the PC version of Spotlight. You can search the internet with it, but I mainly use it to find programs or files on my PC. It’s a tool that I really love because it means I don’t have to tire my desktop with a bunch of shortcuts. But because there’s that web search feature, Microsoft keeps trying to cram it into everything.
Hovering over or clicking on my search bar’s new pastry paraphernalia finally told me what the hell it was doing in my otherwise clean, Final Fantasy-ified desktop. Apparently it’s National Donut Day, a holiday so important that Microsoft has been kind jammed some tiles leading to donut-related Bing search results in the results pane of my beloved search bar.
take to Twitter quickly told me I wasn’t the only one with this problem, but I couldn’t find any of my esteemed colleagues in the press reporting about it. I don’t even know how long this attempt at copying Google’s doodles has been going on since I was late to the update party. A March post Microsoft’s forums indicate that a phased roll-out of this “highlight search” feature started last month, but judging by social media, I’m not the only person dealing with it right now.
So here I am throwing in my power as Deputy Consumer Tech Editor to blow off some steam and represent all my fellow be-doughnut PC users. There is a way to get rid of these unwanted virtual temptations, so let’s start there.
How To Get Rid Of The Windows Search Bar Images
To send those donuts — or other emoji-style future threats — into the shadowy realm, you’ll need to: right click on your taskbar. Then move over Searchand switch off show search highlights† You can also disable the search bar feature here completely and relegate it to a simple icon that can access the same functionality with a click or quick tap of the Windows key. I tend to forget the feature unless the box is actually there, so I left mine on.
Removing the emoji-style images in your search bar also won’t show Bing search tiles in your search window, and your most used apps will appear there, along with some less obtrusive text-based Bing search prompts.
It’s an easy fix, and you can repeat a similar process to clear any stock market or weather warnings if you received them too (only right click your taskbar, go to news and interestsand click turn off† But you would hope that now, after the debacle of the live tiles it was introduced with Windows 8.
While these shortcuts may be useful or fun to some, they also take up a lot of screen space and can be distracting, which isn’t ideal for a productivity-focused operating system. Windows 10 still has live tile capabilities, but I leave as many of their features disabled at all times. In general, Microsoft’s recent updates have respected these preferences much better than Windows 8 or Vista, which is why I was surprised to see this kind of cuteness returning to my desktop without permission.
Maybe this is Microsoft’s way of letting me know it’s time to upgrade to Windows 11† The company may keep trying to make the retrieval possible until I do, though that March post from earlier says Windows 11 users will soon be feeling my donut pain. Come with me to hell, fellow Homer Simpsons.
For more tips and tricks in Windows 10 – and guides to the inevitable upgrade to Windows 11 – check out Gizmodo’s How section.
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