There’s a picture in the Windows 10 Search bar. This started after the May 2022 Windows Update, and so far, I’ve seen either owls, a swimming turtle, tennis, a tea cup with what might be mint, or a purple flower and a bee. No idea what this kiddy cartoon is called other than looking very much look a toolbar added by malware. Or a BHO, also known as a browser helper object. Maybe a widget, a gadget? Maybe it’s a distant relative of the old Clippy, the Talking Paper Clip from Office ’97? Microsoft has used so many names for extra screen clutter over the years that this is clearly a Whatever. Yes, whatever that is.
Here’s how to turn off the Whatever: Right-click the Search box, and the menu will pop up as below. Uncheck ‘Show search highlights’. Done.
If anybody knows what that setting changes beyond adding cartoons to the bar, let me know and I’ll update this.
Updated May 21st with the tea cup. And on May 22nd with the Tennis image. And so on…
Windows 10 is designed for mobile devices. All apps are background apps, by default. If that’s useful for anyone, great, but I have yet to meet that person. That’s like the early days of Windows, when most services were turned on, by default. It was a security and performance disaster, and subsequent versions of Windows have used more reasonable defaults, until now.
Mostly, Windows 10 is running on desktops and notebooks, and there is a long list of apps pre-installed by Microsoft. Some may be added by the hardware manufacturer, and they run in the background, be default. Maybe that’s a good idea if the app is working for you, providing emergency weather alerts, calendar alarms, stock alerts, anything. But all of them? Just say no.
If you don’t allow these apps to run in the background, they will still run when you start them in the usual way. To turn off these apps, click Start, Settings, type ‘run’ in the Search box, and choose the result ‘Choose which apps can run in the background’. I’ve seen from 16 to over 30 apps listed, all turned on, and none of them are needed to run Windows 10. Turn off most of them–leave them on only if you want them to do something, like gathering alerts.
The browser default for Windows 10 is Edge, and it’s not ready for use on many websites, especially sites with advanced usage of forms. Switching the browser default to Internet Explorer 11 is an easy fix, or, even better, switching to either Google Chrome or Firefox, both of which protect users from evil sites better than Microsoft browsers, which are, in fairness, target number 1 for evil website developers.
To change the default browser, go to Settings, System, Default Apps, and in the Web Browser category, click on Edge, and select from the installed browsers in the list that appears.
Sometimes, Windows 10 will argue the point. Another way to set default apps is to go to Control Panel, Programs, Default Programs, Set Default Programs, find the program in the list on the left side, and on the right, click ‘Set this program as default.’