Improve Windows Searches

 Improve Windows searches using the index: frequently asked questions

Windows uses the index to perform very fast searches of the most common files on your computer. Here are answers to some common questions about the index.

What files are indexed?
By default, all of the most common files on your computer are indexed. Indexed locations include all folders included in libraries (anything you see in the Documents library, for example), e‑mail, and offline files. Files that aren’t indexed include program files and system files—files that most people rarely need to search.

How do I add or remove index locations?
The easiest way to add something to the index is to include a folder in a library. When you do that, the content in that folder is automatically indexed. For more information, see Include folders in a library.

You can also add something to the index without using libraries. To add or remove an index location:

Click to open Indexing Options.

Click Modify.

To add or remove a location, select or clear its check box in the Change selected locations list, and then click OK.

If you don’t see all locations on your computer in the list, click Show all locations. (If all locations are listed, Show all locations won’t be available.)  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If you want to include a folder but not all of its subfolders, click the folder, and then clear the check box next to any subfolder that you don’t want to index. These folders will appear in the Exclude column of the Summary of selected locations list.

Can I pause the Windows search index?
The Windows search index improves the efficiency of searches by keeping track of file names and other information for most of the files stored on your computer. It’s best to let the index run uninterrupted in the background, but you can pause it for 15 minutes at a time.

To pause the index

Click to open Indexing Options.

Click Pause.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. (The index must be running in order for the Pause button to be available.)

Can I index my entire computer so all searches are fast?
You shouldn’t do this. If you make the index too large, or if you include system file locations (such as the Program Files folder), your routine searches will slow down. For best results, we recommend that you only add folders that you search frequently.

How do I troubleshoot problems with search and indexing?
If you are experiencing problems with searching, such as unusually slow searches or incomplete search results, run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter to see if it can diagnose the problem.

Click to open the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.

Depending on the severity of the problem, the Search and Indexing troubleshooter might need to restart the Windows Search service.

What if I’m using Windows Server 2008 R2?

You might need to install the File Services role on your computer before all search and indexing options are available. You can do this from the Server Manager console. To open the console, click Start, type Server Manager into the search box, and then click Server Manager.

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