New Windows 10 20H1 test build brings Microsoft Search to File Explorer

Microsoft is making its cross-product unified search capability available inside File Explorer starting with the Windows 10 20H1 test build 18894.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is making available to Fast Ring Insider testers a new Windows 10 20H1 build today, May 8. That build, No. 18894, includes some changes to File Explorer, plus general fixes and updates. 

Microsoft is switching up the search capability inside File Explorer so that it will now be powered by Microsoft's new unified search experience. It is starting to test this feature with a subset of  20H1 Insider Fast Ring testers.

Microsoft has been working to unify its search experience across Windows, Office, Bing and more for past couple of years. At Ignite last year, Microsoft officials outlined a plan to put the search box "in a consistent, prominent place across Edge, Bing, Windows and Office apps, so that search is always one click away." The new unified Microsoft Search is meant to help users more easily find people, related content, commands for apps and more before they actually start typing in the search box, as it will be contextually aware and offer proactive search results and suggestions. 

At Build 2019 this week, Microsoft announced that the new unified search capability is now generally available and will be available across Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, Bing and Windows. Microsoft officials are calling it a "search experience that evolves the definition of search in the enterprise." 

Today's blog post about the newest Windows 10 20H1 test build notes: 

"Over the next few days we'll be starting to roll out a new File Explorer search experience - now powered by Windows Search. This change will help integrate your OneDrive content online with the traditional indexed results. This rollout will start with a small percent, and then we'll increase the rollout to more Insiders as we validate the quality of the experience." 

Once the new Search is live in File Explorer, testers will see a dropdown populated with suggested files. Users can still get results that aren't automatically surfaced by the new Search and look inside non-indexed locations by pressing enter to see more traditional search results or to use commands, the blog post says. Microsoft also is making search history available via a drop down list as part of the new design.

Beyond the new search functionality in File Explorer, there aren't many new features in today's test build. There are a number of fixes and updates, which Microsoft details in its blog post.