Search Deflector makes Windows 10 search better

The “Type here to search” box in the lower left corner of Windows 10 is handy for searching all kinds of things. Except the Internet. Windows forces you to use their Bing search engine inside of their Edge browser. But I’d rather use Firefox as my browser and use Shortmarks (see this blog post) as my search engine.

Thanks to the $1.99 Search Deflector available from the Microsoft Store, now I can. [Shout out to Ashwin at ghacks.net!] (There is an identical free version available via GitHub, but for such a useful tool, I’m happy to pony up a couple bucks.)

After installing and running Search Deflector, set your preferred browser. These days I’m primarily using Firefox.

Next, set your preferred search engine. It comes with several common and not-so-common ones to choose from. I use Shortmarks, so I’m going to tell Search Deflector to use a “Custom Search Engine URL”: shortmarks.com/s.php?q={{query}}

After clicking “Apply,” I’m good to go.

On my keyboard, I hit WINDOWS + S (for “search”) and my cursor goes to the “Type here to search” box. Then I type “web: {search term}”. Search Deflector launches Firefox. If Firefox is already open, Search Deflector will open a new tab. The search term is sent to my preferred search engine, Shortmarks. If my search term matches a Shortmarks shortcut, the corresponding webpage will open. If my search term does not match a corresponding Shortmarks shortcut, then Shortmarks searches the web using the default search engine I have set up with Shortmarks.

Example 1. The single letter h is the Shortmarks shortcut I have for my college’s homepage: highline.edu. WINDOWS + s directs my cursor to the “Type here to search box.” I type “web: h” and press enter. Firefox opens a new tab and loads my college’s homepage.

Example 2. I want to search for Betty White’s birthday. WINDOWS + s directs my cursor to the “Type here to search box.” I type “web: betty white’s birthday” and press enter. Firefox opens a new tab where Google, in large font, tells me that Ms. White’s birthday is January 17, 1922.

Happy searching!

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