General Enable or Disable Search Indexing in Windows 11

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Search_indexer_banner.png

Indexing the content of your PC helps you get faster results when your searching it for files, emails, or other local content.

The search index only includes your selected locations by default. These locations can be filtered for what file types (extensions), file properties, and file contents you want indexed.

You can choose to use Classic or Enhanced search indexing mode for where your PC will search for files.

The index uses the Windows Search service and runs as the Searchindexer.exe process in the background. The index will automatically rebuild and update for changes made to the included locations since the last index rebuild to increase search result accuracy.

By default, the search indexer backoff feature will reduce indexing speed while rebuilding the index when there is user activity, and will automatically continue at full speed when no user activity is detected.

See also:

If you prefer to search without using the index, then you could completely disable search indexing. If you disable search indexing, searches will take longer to finish, but search results will always be up to date and accurate.

If you do a lot of file content searching, then you may not want to disable search indexing since it will take a lot longer to search file contents without the index.

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable search indexing for all users in Windows 10 and Windows 11.


You must be signed in as an administrator to enable or disable search indexing.



Contents

  • Option One: Enable Search Indexing in Services Console
  • Option Two: Disable Search Indexing in Services Console
  • Option Three: Enable or Disable Search Indexing in Command Prompt


EXAMPLE: Search indexing disabled

Indexing_Settings.png

Windows_Search.jpg
Indexing_Options.png

Libraries.png






OPTION ONE

Enable Search Indexing in Services Console


This is the default setting.


1 Open Services (services.msc).

2 Double click/tap on the Windows Search service to open its properties page. (see screenshot below)

Enable_search_indexing_in_Services-1.png

3 Select Automatic (Delayed Start) in the Startup type drop menu, and click/tap on Apply. (see screenshot below)

Enable_search_indexing_in_Services-2.png

4 Click/tap on Start. (see screenshot below)

Enable_search_indexing_in_Services-3.png

5 When "Servicing status" shows as Running, click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Enable_search_indexing_in_Services-4.png





OPTION TWO

Disable Search Indexing in Services Console


1 Open Services (services.msc).

2 Double click/tap on the Windows Search service to open its properties page. (see screenshot below)

Disable_search_indexing_in_Services-1.png

3 Select Disabled in the Startup type drop menu, and click/tap on Apply. (see screenshot below)

Disable_search_indexing_in_Services-2.png

4 Click/tap on Stop. (see screenshot below)

Disable_search_indexing_in_Services-3.png

5 When "Servicing status" shows as Stopped, click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Disable_search_indexing_in_Services-4.png





OPTION THREE

Enable or Disable Search Indexing in Command Prompt


1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select Command Prompt.

2 Do step 3 (enable) or step 4 (disable) below for what you want.


3 Enable Search Indexing

This is the default setting.


A) Copy and paste the command below into the elevated command prompt, press Enter, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)​

sc config "wsearch" start=delayed-auto && sc start "wsearch"

Enable_search_indexing_command.png


4 Disable Search Indexing

A) Copy and paste the command below into the elevated command prompt, press Enter, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)​

sc stop "wsearch" && sc config "wsearch" start=disabled

Disable_search_indexing_command.png

5 You can now close Windows Terminal (Admin) if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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Last edited:

unifex

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Great, thanks! This is one of the first things I do after installing Windows (as well as after some updates that insist on restarting all those pesky services that I don't need).
 

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System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10
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    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-10600K
    Motherboard
    Asus Rog Strix Z490-A Gaming
    Memory
    16 GB
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    GeForce GTX 1650
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jvickers

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I was always (probably erroneously) under the impression that indexing didn't help all that much if you have SSDs. So, I shut off indexing. Is there much benefit to using indexing with a SSD, or was I misled by a tall tale?

Also, will indexing won't degrade your SSD faster?

EDIT: You can see this page, #5, for why I think indexing will degrade your SSD quicker because of the writing it's doing to it:

EDIT 2: Well, here's an opinion on not disabling indexing:
  • Disable Indexing or the Windows Search Service: Some guides say you should disable search indexing–a feature that makes search work faster. They claim that, with an SSD, search is already fast enough. But this isn’t really true. Indexing builds a list of the files on your drive and looks inside your documents so you can perform instant full-text search. With indexing enabled, you can search and almost instantly find any file on your PC. With indexing disabled, Windows will have to crawl your entire drive and look inside files–that still takes some time and CPU resources. People argue Indexing is bad because Windows writes to the drive when it creates an index, but once again, that isn’t a concern.
 
Last edited:

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System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro (22000.184)
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    Home built
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    Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
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    ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB
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    Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case, Gaming Case with Blue LED for Desktop
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    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    120MB/s Download/ 10MB/s Upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
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    Home Built
    CPU
    AMD FX Black Edition
    Motherboard
    Asus M5A97 LE R2.0
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    16MB DDR
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    I forget, but it's old.
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    Propietary
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    ACER LED 24"
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    1920X1080
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    1TB Samsung SSD 3.5"
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    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.

unifex

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@jvickers The key words in the second edit are "instant full-text search". I don't know much about degrading SSDs - I certainly change them faster than they degrade ;) - but what I know about search is that it's mostly useful for going through text files, just like the old-days grep. While I do have some text files on my computer (LaTeX files are basically plain text, for example), very few of them are *.txt and so I'm not sure search can look into them (not that I need that). On the other hand I have lots of pdfs, various Office files, photos, etc. I don't think Search can look inside Excel files or inside pdfs, definitely not the non-OCRed ones. If I am looking for a photo, how would the search even begin to look for some image of which I have only a vague recollection (try searching for an image of a yellow tree on a riverbank)? All that makes search useless to me, that's why I disable it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-10600K
    Motherboard
    Asus Rog Strix Z490-A Gaming
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce GTX 1650
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung U32J59x 32" 4K
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160
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