What is windowssearch.com and why is it rated HM by Covenant Eyes?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
Access to the above site happens several times per day and my wife is wondering what it is. Why I go to this site, it simply redirects me to www.bing.com. I have tried a number of ways to remove it including malware bytes and various removal how-to's from google and it keeps showing up.

Any thoughts?
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Jason Knight

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Posted 6 years ago

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Patrick Smith, Alum

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Good morning, Jason.

windowssearch.com is called when you enter a search term from the metro screen of Windows 8 or 8.1. It essentially represents the Bing search results that populate part of your screen. The URL is only ever visible to the Covenant Eyes software as windowssearch.com. Theoretically, you could search for something questionable and have image results immediately populate your screen. Meanwhile, Covenant Eyes merely sees windowssearch.com instead of the typical searchengine.com/search?q=objectionable+content.

In order to make sure we're fulfilling our ethical obligation to you (and others) to hold you accountable, we met with the Rating Team here to discuss what it should be rated. After a thorough round table, we decided that we'd rate it HM with a URL note. Our thinking is that we don't want to falsely impugn, but neither do we want an unreported circumvention loophole.

We're working on a way to solve the windowssearch.com issue programmatically. Presently, though, it's proving prickly. In the meantime, you can go here to learn how to disable that feature on Windows 8 or 8.1. That way, you can keep your report clear of all HM entries.

I can't waive a wand and fix the programming end, but I can control the URL note. I am going to do some work on the URL note that accompanies windowssearch.com to increase its clarity a bit. That won't help much in your situation, as you've already dealt with it. Hopefully, though, it'll make things clearer for others who follow you. Thanks for raising it here, and please let us know if you have additional questions.

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Okay, here we are now, 2 years later. Windows 10 is out for over a year. It is on 400 million devices. It's default browser is Edge. It's default search engine is Bing (also used by Cortana). So, in two years you have not solved this. It still reports this as HM. Are you saying those of us who use Bing and Edge are out of luck, or is the information you need not made available to CE by these tools, so activities done with these tools are a black hole? Solutions? Because HM is NOT helpful.