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How to Add Google or Yahoo Search Directly to the Vista Start Menu

written by: Lamar Stonecypher•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 6/14/2009

Windows Vista's "Search the Internet" option in the Start Menu defaults to using Windows Live Search if you have Windows Live components installed. You can change this to the search provider of your choice, or add one if you don't have any showing. (This tip does not apply to Vista Home versions.)

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    This tip requires a Business, Professional, or Ultimate version of Vista. We'll be using the Local Group Policy Editor to add our Instant Internet Search provider and a link to the Vista Start Menu.

    These steps are also useful as a means of preventing Windows Live from changing the default search provider.

    Ready? Let's start.

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    1. Press the Windows button, enter “gpedit.msc” and press Enter. If User Access Control (UAC) is enabled, select “Continue.”

    2. In the Group Policy Editor, select “Administrative Templates” under “User Configuration” in the left-hand pane.

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    3. Double-click “Windows Components” in the right-hand pane.

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    4. Double-click “Custom Instant Search Internet search provider” in the right-hand pane.

    5. Click “Enabled.”

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    6. Select the service that you wish to use a default provider – Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live Search – and enter the name of the service in the top field under “The string or DLL service from which to load . . .”

    7. Then pick the corresponding string from this list


    and enter the string in the field under “The URL to use when invoking the Custom Internet search . . .”

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    8. Click “OK” to close the dialog, and click File, then Exit to close the Local Group Policy Editor.

    So what do we get? As shown in the image below, if you press the Windows button on your keyboard and start to enter a search term, you now have “Google Search” (or whichever provider you selected) on the Vista Start menu.

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    What's a Quick Tip?

    Quick Tips are Bright Hub articles which are shorter than a regular article but longer than a blog posting. Quick Tips focus on a single topic or the answer to a specific question that can be simply described with images and text.

    Thank you for reading this.

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