How to bring back legacy File Explorer search on Windows 10

File Explorer has a new search experience, but if it's not for you, it's still possible to switch back to the old search box– Here's how.

File Explorer old search on Windows 10 version 1909
File Explorer old search on Windows 10 version 1909

On Windows 10, starting with version 1909, November 2019 Update, File Explorer introduced a new search box experience that is controlled by Windows Search. This also means that the search box in File Explorer integrates with OneDrive content online, just like when using search from the taskbar.

Although the new search brings a better and more consistent experience between File Explorer and the taskbar, it’s not a feature for everyone.

If you prefer the old search box experience, you can bring it back using a third-party tool called “mach2” created by Rafael Rivera in GitHub.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps disable the new search to bring backup the classic search box to File Explorer on Windows 10 version 1909 or later.

How to enable legacy search box in File Explorer

Enable the legacy File Explorer search:

Warning: This is a third-party application, and it’s offered without any warranty. Although it should work as advertised, you should use it only at your own risk. Also, there’s a chance that Windows Defender Antivirus may identify this app as malicious, but according to the author, it’s a false positive.
  1. Open this GitHub website.

  2. Download the latest mach2 zip folder.

  3. Double-click the zip folder.

    Quick tip: You’ll need to download the zip folder that correspond to your system architecture (x86 or x64), you can check the version of Windows 10 that you’re running on Settings > System > About.
  4. Click the Extract all button from the “Compressed Folder Tools” ribbon.

  5. Click the Extract button.

    Extract zip files on Windows 10
    Extract zip files on Windows 10
  6. Copy the path to the folder.

  7. Open Start.

  8. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  9. Type the following command to navigate to the mach2 folder and press Enter:

    cd C:\YOUR\FOLDER\PATH\Downloads\mach2_0.3.0.0_x64

    In the command remember to change the path to the folder with your path.

  10. Type the following command to enable old search box in File Explorer and press Enter:

    mach2 disable 18755234

    Enable legacy search in File Explorer
    Enable legacy search in File Explorer
  11. Restart your device.

Once you complete the steps, File Explorer should now have the old search box experience back in the top-right corner.

If you change your mind, you can revert the changes with the same instructions, but on step No. 10, make sure to use this command: mach2 enable 18755234.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].