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How to fix SearchProtocolHost.exe errors on Windows

The Windows system is constantly updated to correct errors or address any problems or risks that previous versions may have had. So it’s no surprise that you will get different errors from time to time when using it. These problems can come from the system itself or from third-party apps installed on the device. Most of these errors can be fixed in a few steps.

One of the problems you may encounter is the SearchProtocolHost.exe application error. If you are experiencing this issue, the following guide will provide some solutions to help you resolve it.

What is the SearchProtocolHost.exe error?

The SearchProtocolHost.exe process is part of the Windows Indexing Service, which indexes various files in the system so you can easily find them when you need them. This is an important process in the system. When you see it running in your system, do not remove or disable it.

However, this process sometimes encounters errors. This problem is usually caused by an infected, corrupted, or missing executable file, which usually occurs when you start the computer. Here are other causes of this error:

  • The SearchProtocolHost.exe registry is invalid or corrupted.
  • The malware infection corrupted the SearchProtocolHost.exe file.
  • The SearchProtocolHost.exe file was accidentally deleted or infected by a piece of software unrelated to your Windows system.
  • A third-party program conflicts with the Windows system and some of its files.
  • SearchProtocolHost.exe is corrupted due to an incomplete download or installation.

How to fix SearchProtocolHost.exe errors on Windows computers

SearchProtocolHost.exe errors come in different forms. The most common error you will get when this process crashes is “SearchProtocolHost.exe – Application Error. The exception unknown software exception (0x0241938e) occurred in the application at location 0x000000006931759E“.

However, you may also receive other error messages for the same problem, such as:

  • SearchProtocolHost.exe does not have a valid signature
  • SearchProtocolHost.exe stopped working
  • Microsoft Windows Search Protocol Host has stopped working
  • Outlook: SearchProtocolHost.exe stopped working
  • The instruction at 0x00f01e40 referenced memory at 0x00f01e40. The memory could not be written.

If you experience any of the above error messages, follow the steps below to fix the problem on your Windows PC.

1. Scan virus

In some cases, you may see several SearchProtocolHost processes running on the Task Manager. This usually indicates that your computer is infected with a virus or malware, and you must clean your computer immediately. Some viruses disguise themselves as legitimate processes or, even worse, replace them.

You can fix this problem by running a full system scan using Windows Defender or any third-party antivirus software if it’s available. If the case is serious, you need to perform a Windows Defender Offline scan when starting the computer. If the system fails to boot, you can also use the Antivirus Rescue boot media.

After scanning and cleaning the system, check if the error is still there. If so, follow these troubleshooting steps.

2. Repair files through an SFC scan

If a corrupted file is causing the SearchProtocolHost.exe error, running a System File Checker (SFC) scan usually fixes the problem. This built-in Windows troubleshooter looks for any corrupted files in the system and fixes them for you.

Note: Don’t panic if the scan takes a long time. Scanning time depends on the number of files on your computer. So if you have a lot of files, it may take longer than usual.

3. Turn on the Windows Search service

Sometimes, the Windows Search service is disabled, causing SearchProtocolHost.exe to encounter some errors. If this is the case for you, enabling the service may help fix the problem. Follow the steps below to check and enable the Windows Search service:

Step 1: Press and hold the Windows key while pressing and holding the R key. Then type services.msc and press Enter. This will open the Services window.

Step 2: In the Services window, look for the Windows Search service.

Look for the Windows Search service
Look for the Windows Search service

Step 3: Once found, right-click the service and select Start or Restart, as appropriate, from the menu.

Step 4: Then double-click the entry to open its properties.

Step 5: In the General tab, click the drop-down box next to the Startup type option and select Automatic (Delayed Start). Next, check the Service status and make sure it’s running. Then, click Apply > OK to save the changes.

Select Automatic (Delayed Start)
Select Automatic (Delayed Start)

Step 6: Close the Services window and restart the computer. Check if this fixes the problem.

3. Uninstall the recent Windows update

Some users have reported receiving this error after installing a recent Windows update. If you recently installed a new update, that could be the cause. Uninstalling it might fix the problem.

4. Reinstall Microsoft Office

If you are facing the SearchProtocolHost.exe error in a Microsoft Office application, removing it from the system and reinstalling it will usually fix the problem. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: By pressing Win + R, you can access “Run.” Then type appwiz.cpl and press Enter.

Step 2: Find Microsoft Office from the list, right-click it, and select Uninstall.

Select Uninstall
Select Uninstall

Step 3: Follow the on-screen uninstallation procedure.

Step 4: Visit the official Microsoft Office website and download it once more when it has been entirely uninstalled.

Step 5: Install the app and check if the problem persists.

SearchProtocolHost.exe is a legitimate and safe process on Windows systems. There are other processes in the system that you may encounter. If you see a strange process in Task Manager, don’t panic. Ending it right away can do more harm than good. Instead, do your research and check if it’s a legitimate process. If you discover that it is problematic, it is best to remove it and repair the system immediately.

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