Is Microsoft messing with your Win10 Search box builds?

Over the weekend, Howard Goldberg reported a startling change in his Win10 Search bar:

Running two systems side by side, both Win10 x64 1909 18363.628 (all patches, including the ones released this week). On one computer, the search bar has the text, “Type here to search,” which I believe has always been the default text in the box. On the other computer, the search bar now has the text “Start a web search”

I’ve compared the search and Cortana settings on both systems for any differences, and I can find none. The search bar is still finding my local files, etc., the behavior is the same (as far as I can tell), but the text has changed and it’s bugging me.

That sparked a discussion that culminated in a revelation that’s news to me. Apparently Microsoft updates the Search bar without asking for permission. I saw the behavior on my main machine this morning. It’s running Win10 version 1903. After rebooting, the build number for the Search box increased from 2020.02.01.6237928 to 2020.02.02.6237943 (screenshot).

search 2020.02.02.6237943Woody Leonhard/IDG

You can see the build number on your own Win10 machine by clicking once inside the Search box, then clicking the three dots in the upper right corner.

I have no idea why or how the build changed. There was no “Check for Updates,” no notification that updates had been installed, and the change doesn’t appear in any of the Update history entries (Start > Settings > Update & Security, on the right click View update history).

As you can see from the screenshot, my main machine still says “Type here to search.”

So we’re left with two unsolved mysteries. First, the Search text changes on some 1909 machines to “Start a web search” for no apparent reason. Second, the build number for the Win10 1903 and 1909 Search box changes without any interaction with the machine’s owner.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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