Fix Windows Search Service Error 2 After Upgrading to Windows 8.1

When you start the Windows Search service in your Windows 8.1 computer, the following error may occur and the search service fails to start.

Windows could not start the Windows Search service on Local Computer.

Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified.

This problem happens especially after running a registry cleaner utility, which may have cleared out certain folder path references in the registry, assuming they are obsolete or invalid. Or the problem may surface only after upgrading to Windows 8.1 (and registry cleaning done prior to the upgrade). The easiest way to fix the problem is to use the "undo" feature provided by the registry cleaner utility. For example, iolo’s System Mechanic has an undo feature using which you can reverse the configuration changes:

Fix the problem manually by editing the registry

If you’re unable to reverse the registry changes (as instructed above) for some reasons, use these steps:

1. Press WinKey + R to launch the Run dialog, and type regedit.exe

2. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\FileChangeClientConfigs

3. Right-click FileChangeClientConfigs and Rename

4. Rename FileChangeClientConfigs to FileChangeClientConfigs.OLD

5. Exit the Registry Editor, and restart Windows.

Check if the Windows Search service starts correctly.

Additional Information

Under the "FileChangeClientConfigs" key there may be more than one subkey, each subkey containing a string value named "ScopeToMonitor". Certain registry cleaners wipe out the "ScopeToMonitor" value if it contains a folder location that doesn’t exist. That causes Windows Search Service Error 2.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

9 thoughts on “Fix Windows Search Service Error 2 After Upgrading to Windows 8.1”

  1. After many hours of searching , this method does work.
    I think, like others, System Mechanic is at fault. This is the first time I have had a problem with their product.



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