Understanding the new unified search in Windows 8.1

aNewDomain.net – The new unified search option in Windows 8.1 is actually quite remarkable compared to earlier versions. Keeping with the search-as-you-type feature of Windows 8, you can use search to launch apps, find web-based searches, files and folders, content on your SkyDrive, and a lot more. The unified search is powered by Bing, which demonstrates that under the hood, Bing is much more than just a web search engine.

How to Use Windows 8.1 Search

To perform a search, just start typing your query on the Start screen, or bring up the Charms bar and select the Search button – just like in Windows 8. But, now it’s easier to use and better organized than it was in the first iteration of Windows 8.

1 Windows 8.1 Search

For example, here’s a look at a search of Minneapolis, MN. Notice if you scroll or swipe the screen to the right, you’ll find even more results including maps, local newspapers, related search results, related apps in the Windows Store, images, news articles, and a lot more.

2 minneapolis Search

If you want to narrow down the search category, select the dropdown menu and choose a more specific category. This is most helpful when you need to find something specific on your local system and you don’t want to get sucked into the other web results.

3 Search Locations

You can also change the search dropdown to just search individual sections. For instance, here’s an example of searching Windows Homegroup in Settings.

4 Search Settings

The other cool thing about the new Search feature is when you select a file, it will open automatically in the appropriate app. For example, if you click on the weather of a city it opens the Weather app. Or if you want to view a location on the map, it opens the Maps app. If you’re searching for a music or any other digital media — it opens it in Xbox Music, Video, or the Photos app.

5 Xbox Search Results

If you’re currently using Windows 8, you’ll find the new unified search feature in Windows 8.1 much more useful and easier to find what you need. The search feature is intuitive and easy to use, so if you’re coming from Windows 7 or earlier, it won’t take long to get used to.


Brian Burgess
Brian Burgess resides in Minnesota. A technology enthusiast his entire life, he worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. In addition to contributing to Tech Page One, he’s the Editor in Chief at groovyPost.com, a contributor to Gizmag, and has written for other notable tech sites Byte, InformationWeek, and How-To Geek.
Brian Burgess
Tags: Productivity,Software,Technology