How to Use Search Box in Internet Explorer 9 (IE9)

Where'd the search bar box go to in IE9?
by Updated April 19, 2011

You may be wondering where the search box went to in Internet Explorer 9.  If you were previously using IE8, or Firefox, you're probably accustomed to seeing the search box in the upper right-hand side of the browser window.  Well that's all changed in IE9, now the search box is integrated into the address bar / URL box, which is similiar to how Google Chrome's browser works currently.  So instead of having both an address bar/box and a search box, there is now just one box used for both searching and URL addresses. 

IE9 Combined Search Bar and URL Address box

So to search in IE9, simply type your search keywords directly into the address bar box, and hit Enter.

Microsoft is calling this combination of the address bar and the search box in IE9 a Private OneBox. Bing is the default search engine in IE9, but you can easily change this to a different search engine using the Manage Search provider settings from the drop down Private OneBox. 

Also if you have Bing suggestions turned on, the address bar will sort through your favorites, history, and live search results as you type a search or url in the box.

Currently, the IE9 Beta (Private OneBox) search box has a number of issues, which will hopefully be worked out by IE9's final release.  For instance, using a colon or certain special characters in your search may throw errors.

All in all, IE9 should be a vast improvement over previous versions of Internet Explorer, and put a much bigger emphasis on the web viewing experience.




anonymous by AlanRose on 3/22/2011
So by making it the same as G.Chrome it is better? If so, why bother making a browser at all, just tell us all to use Chrome. If I wanted Chrome, I would have Dl'd Chrome, not IE. Why just do a hard change, why not do the change but give us an interface so we can select the layout we want? Most boxes are just simple x,y co-ordinates on the screen so just give us the option to adjust these ourselves - no one could complain about the layout then as it would be our own layout!
anonymous by FushigiMigi on 3/27/2011
I liked the search box in the upper right better than the integrated into address bar version. For example: I like what I typed to stay there untill I erase it or type another search into it (it would also stay there across multiple tabs). So if my search yeilded something usefull but not enough, I could keep the first search, go to a new tab, and part of what i wanted to search for would already be typed out. it was very useful. Now I am going to have to figure out different ways to do things. I think the inovation is great, but I wish it would give an option to change the layout to previous versions.
anonymous by Jay on 3/27/2011
I totally agree with FushigiMigi. I used IE8 the exact same way and it worked perfect for me. I do like some of the added features in IE9, such as the ability to drag tabs out of the IE window. Why couldn't Microsoft allow users to enable the old search box? Would that have been so difficult? I doubt it. They seem think they know what everyone wants. I plan to go back to IE8 or find another browser that works the way I want it to.
anonymous by S Murad on 3/29/2011
Tools, Internet Options....and all relevant tabs are same as the one from IE 5 (Windows 95 days!)
Not sure if this was built from ground up. A few paint jobs, more like it.
Check out Avant browser, many years ahead on IE, technically speaking!
anonymous by Ryan on 4/1/2011
IE9 one-up's Chrome in that it retains your last query just like in previous IE versions, but only if you use the Search button or keyboard shortcut (CTRL+E) which everyone SHOULD be using anyway.

I wish I could understand the new philosophy that's becomiing rampant in software devolopment; promoting the use of implicit searches is a very stupid thing to do. One-boxes, single-click mice/users, what's next, two-key keyboards? (two index-finger based keyboards?). They're supposed to be supporting the robustness of computing, not encouraging laziness, the lack of a feature as a feature, or an 'unlearning process'.

In the name of [over]simplicity!!!
anonymous by Agent X on 4/2/2011
@Ryan but what else do you expect from M$ there whole search engine is marketed on the premise of you not having to think anymore.

Personally i don't mind with the exception that I cant remove the search buttons from the bottom of the url drop down. I've always used the google tool bar anyway so they could completely do away with any kind of built in search and it wouldn't bother me. To me it seems that M$ copied firefox a bit, but they didnt include the option to move all teh buttons around like FF does which is a shame.
anonymous by Dupont on 4/5/2011
Hard to find words for such stupidity to remove the search box. Untill we get it back I will not install the IE9. Otherwise the beta seemed ok.
anonymous by tp on 4/6/2011
Just had to endure a high importance windows update. Turned out to be IE9 upgrade. The elimination of the search box must be an attempt by microsoft to get everyone to give up on internet explorer altogether. I'm rolling back to IE8 until I can decide which of the alternate browers I will download and default to. Now I have to endure a system restore. UTTERLY IDIOTIC MICROSOFT!! May it is time to start thinking about a Mac!
anonymous by Chris on 4/6/2011
In my version of IE9 on Windows 7 when I type in the address bar and hit enter it converts the text to an http url?
Doug by Doug on 4/6/2011
@Chris IE9 will convert text while you type into an http URL automatically when it finds a similiarly worded URL bookmarked in your favorites.
anonymous by Harry on 4/7/2011
Instead of continuing to find a way to have IE9 do what I want, I'm just going to sack it off and keep using FF which does exactly what I want without having to google it!!
anonymous by Paradox on 4/10/2011
These guys are smoking or what ? Everybodys trying to mimic Chrome. IE9 is going to be a big failure. I unlike it.
anonymous by Meems on 4/15/2011
BRING BACK THE SEARCH BOX - I agree with those who said "if we wanted Chrome we'd get Chrome" - Search Box Search box RAH RAH RAH!!
anonymous by Meems on 4/15/2011
Oh yeah, but the way, obviously IE has no idea how it's customers use their product. . . .
anonymous by MalcF on 4/15/2011
The search facility would have been better if it worked straight from installation. "Page not available" is not an option. So its back to IE8 as default (at least System Restore still works) for those sites that insist on IE, and Chrome for most stuff. At least their search facility exists and works.
Meems is right - most of the people who will use it want to do just that - use it. Not wrestle with it.
anonymous by Dick Fitzwell on 4/19/2011
Does Firefox 4 still have the little search box?
Yes, Firefox 4 still has the search box integrated into the browser (just to the right of the URL box).
anonymous by T. Phaneuf on 4/19/2011

I completely agree with FushigiMigi. I often would use the in exactly the way he described, with the same search (or with variations) on multiple tabs. Also, it was nice to see when I am a couple clicks away from the search results.
Another issue for me is that sometimes it converts the string AS I'm typing! I can't even tell if I spelled things correctly, forgot words, etc.

I also really liked being able to pick which search engine I wanted to use from the text box too.
I don't want to Install a separate toolbar (don't want to make the header even bigger).
Nice that IE 9 does all the pretty page stuff. But actually use the internet for research and to help with my work. Am uninstalling IE 9 until they separate the search box back out. If I can't revert back to IE8, will just use Firefox instead.

Doug by Doug on 4/19/2011

@T. Phaneuf... You can actually change which search engines to use in the IE9's search box.

To change search engines, just click the down arrow (at the end of the URL box), then in the drop down box (at the bottom), click on the search engine icon (google, bing, yahoo) to make it your default search engine. Here's an image to see what I mean:  

Also, you can add more search providers by clicking the Add button in the drop down menu. Or go here:

anonymous by Not Happy on 4/20/2011
I hate IE9 and I hate it even worse that Microsoft Has screwed my OS7 so that I can't return to IE8. I used RECOVERY to dump IE9, but when I tried to install IE8 I was informed that THIS SYSTEM DOES NOT SUPPORT IE8. How is that for crap?
anonymous by Vince on 4/27/2011
How about you try Firefox version 4, add flagfox and morning coffee
anonymous by SH*T on 5/4/2011
I want my search box back. Stupid M$
anonymous by Gretep on 5/6/2011
I lasted 1.5 days with IE9...HATED it! How stupid to get rid of the search box. Of all the things they could correct about IE8, and they decide to mess with something that works. Real intelligent!
anonymous by TheBarnes on 5/8/2011
I've got troubles reaching my printer at - now IE9 searches with Google for pages with that string instead of displaying the error and let me try again... Prutsers!
Disabling the "search from the address-bar" makes me to go to the Google page by hand when I want to find something, SO 1995.
Put the box back!
anonymous by No to IE9 on 5/9/2011
Bring back the search box. I found this page by trying to figure out WTH had happened. No Search box, me no use IE9!!
anonymous by IE9 needs help on 5/11/2011
Bring back the search box!!!
anonymous by FM on 5/14/2011

I use it the same as FushigiMigi. Plus I could quickly (2 clicks) change the search to Ebay, or one of several different search engines. Now to change where you want to search it takes a minimum of 5 clicks.

You can turn off the search part of the onebox & move the tabs to there own line, so when you do that, why don't they put back the searchbox???

Some program manager at MS probably used Crome, and wanted IE to be like it. Probably never even use a SearchBox, so had no idea how much easier it made searching the web using multiple tabs and search providers.
There also could be a business motivation. Bing(MS) with IE9 gets all those searches (and advertising opts) that usually went to ISP when novices typed in invalid URL syntax in the address box.
You usually think of an upgrade as making things better. This one blind sided me.
I also say, BRING BACK THE SEARCH BOX (at least as an option)!!!!!!!!

anonymous by was on 5/17/2011
Bring back the search box
anonymous by z on 5/17/2011
Please bring back the search box
anonymous by beelza on 5/23/2011
My god, it's just astonishing how Microsoft can manage to make the most stupid design decisions, over and over. I used to work there, and it just leaves me shaking my head. I cannot magine what perceived benefit there is to remove the search box. Unbelievable. Everything they touch is just crap!
anonymous by IE 9 - what a shame on 5/26/2011
I was really impressed with i.e. 9 i kept thinking something bound to not work or crash but it was fast and seemed to work well. Then i tried to search, what moron decided to take away the search box and put it in the address bar. I mean it’s a real rubbish unnatural thing to do . I’ve converted to Firefox as i just couldn’t get to grips with no search box in i.e.9 I’ve noticed at work since they’ve upgraded to i.e.9 there have been more people going over to Firefox. Stupid Microsoft!
anonymous by bob on 5/30/2011
I agree, the old search box was great and the new system stinks. I am downloading fireflox now.
anonymous by Jm1000 on 6/1/2011
no search box is a deal breaker for me..change just for the sake of change is M$ motto...
anonymous by lr on 6/8/2011
I also want to keep my search criteria -bring back the search box
anonymous by pissed of customer on 6/9/2011
no search box? screw microsoft! - I have now gone to linux...
anonymous by Lakay on 6/12/2011
The ie 9 interface is so neat, but it is quite confusing as the search box is gone. And the search functionality is not enabled by default or after you finished installing this. You need to enable it yourself. You need to go to the tool icon to do this. Step by step and screen shots to do this at
anonymous by Just passing here on 6/18/2011
Apart from URL search, the search box was really usefull for in-page text search... no similar function found in IE9 so far, so I wonder if IE9 devs/designers even knew this was a multi-purpose search box.
anonymous by Migrations on 6/18/2011
Do we realy have to install the Google Toolbar to bring back that good old IE8 search box!? Url box search is stupid (for keyboard fans like i am) :( Is thare a way or downgrade to IE8?
anonymous by Emjoe on 6/26/2011
Innovation should be about making things simpler and easier. IE9 seem seem to be hiding features that were so visible and easy to use. For instance, all my favourite files just disappeared in the name of migrating to IE9. I am tempted to switch to !E8 or even IE7
anonymous by backtofirefox on 7/1/2011
when I type in an address, I don't want to waste time on a search. When I search, I don't want to waste time retyping it. Might be nice if the people who design this stuff would think it through. Sometimes the dog just catches his tail--but he doesn't know what to do with it. Change is not always better.
anonymous by littlestotty on 7/4/2011
using vista on bootcamp macbook so already familiar with ffox - I liked ie8 over ffox, but that search was the most intuitive way of finding things on the web - firefox is now getting installed on vista here - hope ffox doesn't ditch it too. just a simple 'turn it back on' option would have me using IE9. Ah well.
anonymous by Ozzi666 on 7/22/2011
the dumbassess in microsoft's IE 9 design team didn't figure out that once you search with one set of key words using a search engine option, you can't use another search engine to look up the same keywords, like u cud with the old search box, and have to type the goddam words again. This is abslute bullshit!!
anonymous by Gumpy37 on 7/28/2011
Another vote that says removing the search box was a dumb plan.

What's worse, if you have intranet sites that people can access by typing a single word, you can't access then anymore. Typing the single word just invokes the search!

See the kb article:
anonymous by nick on 8/23/2011
another one for the record. I want the search box back. Or actually I'm not going to wait, Fire Fox here we come. Bloody twats at M$
anonymous by PissMyAss on 9/23/2011
I to want back the search box in IE9
anonymous by T. Phaneuf on 10/27/2011
I used/use the search box exactly in the same way as FushigiMigi Bring back the search box, or at the very LEAST, let us turn it on! I will admit that the search in the Address bar is nice sometimes -- but only for casual/quick searching. When I am really trying to find stuff or dig into an issue, I have to use Firefox because it still has a dedicated search box.
Bottom line is that I avoid using IE 9 most of the time because of the silly lack of a dedicated search box. Is amazing how ANNOYING its absence is!
anonymous by Walter on 11/29/2011
In my IE9 (just updated - finally gave in), the address bar never acts like a search box - it always says "Sorry, we can't find "<<Search words>>". Please check the spelling of the web address." The options that are supposed to be there when I drop down the field are not - only history and favorites. Is there an option somewhere that is turned off? With this functionality, I have to do all searches with another browser.
anonymous by Jennifer on 12/19/2011
I DO NOT use Cooglew Chrome because of it's COMPLETE inflexability and googles refusal to listen to the users needs. It seems that Internet Explorer is becoming just like Google- completely unresponsive to the users needs. If this keeps up I will be doing the same thing that I did with chrome, uninstalling it or not usong it at all!!
anonymous by Peter on 12/22/2011
IE9 is just plain horrible. Too many reason to list here but just a few: search bar gone absorbs tab, must shut off most bloat after install, addons - too many stupid things here (all the messages to 'disable' something they wanted me to install to use , "but browsing will be faster if you disable, then enable, then disable .......... Amazing. I have been with Opera for 12 years or more and always will be. Advice to ALL ( ONLY USE IE XXX for WINDOWS UPDATES!!! Life will be good.
anonymous by search box on 1/10/2012
bring me back
anonymous by OleZinck on 3/19/2012
I also want the abilty to enable the search box in ie9. I use it all the time for repeated search.
anonymous by zrace on 3/21/2012
Just uninstalled IE9 after 1 hour. NO SEARCH BOX!!!! I have always liked and used IE, BUT, this is the sort of thing that will eventually drive me away.
anonymous by How to go back to IE8 on 5/11/2012
windows 7; Open the control panel, clk programs, clk installed updates then uninstall ie9 to get ie8 back. L just did it, there is no need for a restore.

The strange thing is I removed the check from the IE9 when updating and it installed anyway. I already knew it sucks and didn't want it installed. I bought and paid for my PC and I will decide what programs are installed.
anonymous by dave on 6/11/2012
I promptly installed IE 9 when it came out. Upon discovering that there was no longer a separate search field, which I used in the same fashion as described in these posts, I backed it out. I liked being able to type in search criteria into the search field as I viewed my current tab. Then, I would open up a new tab, hit my enter key, and, voila, a new tab with a new list - and sometimes I did this numerous times, all in the same IE session. What a helpful feature. I accidentally installed IE 9 a second time after I had reset Windows Update to install everything automatically. I reverted promptly to IE 8 after first turning off the auto install feature. (I would note that the option allowing the app to automatically download apps in the background and then notify me that there were udpates to be installed doesn't seem to work too well. In fact, it's never worked for me. So, every once in a while, I just run the update app.) If I don't get a separate search field back, I'll probably go back to using Firefox or Safari. (By the way, while I like Bing's pretty pictures on my Mango phone and appreciate the icon that displays text about the image, it has often returned nothing when I do a search and it typically fails to display a map when I type in an address. I keep an IE tile with Google as the default page on the phone because Bing just doesn't cut it. And I resent Microsoft for not allowing me to use Google Maps with GPS activated on my Mango. Sometimes, I just miss my old Tilt.)
anonymous by IE9Hater on 1/12/2013
I absolutely don't like IE9. My search box stays right under the address bar, my menu bar sits under that--wrong position altogether, I've tried to correct the layout but it is stubborn and useless. My viewing experience now takes a lot of work and time as well as performing a search, etc. In comparison to IE7, this one makes me feel like I've slid back into the cavedweller days and the cave door shut on me
anonymous by are you that stupid on 2/3/2013
with all these comments you would think that this would be fixed by now. i am so sick and tired of these computer nerds shoving this stuff down our throats without any reguards to our likes and so many of the above, i will try to get back to 8 and if not i will go back to fire fox or something else, i know it won't make a difference to this company...they don't have to please the customer just themselves, unlike the rest of us in the business world where every customer counts.
anonymous by Potgar on 3/8/2013
Insulting! Removing the search field box is abusive ALSO in Chrome. Why not let us, the users, to decide when to use the search box or not??? Even more agravation is not being able to reverse IE9 back to IE8.
anonymous by AW on 4/5/2013
I use the search box the same way and cannot use a browser without it so I will be switching from IE. I finally found a place to submit feedback to Microsoft and after a painful process of trying to get to the right form, I told them the same thing.

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