Windows Search indexer is a core component of Windows OS. It’s responsible for searching your files, apps, and websites as well as providing search suggestions when you type something in the Start menu or on any of your desktop apps. But it can become very sluggish when you have several gigabytes of indexed content. The way Windows Search works is it continuously crawls your PC for files, apps, and websites to add them to its index. It does this in the background so you don’t see any change; however, if there are several gigabytes of indexed content, then you might start noticing an impact on performance. To speed up the Windows Search indexer, follow these steps:
- 1 Clear the indexing history
- 2 Limit Cortana’s access to your files and network
- 3 Turn on file previewing in File Explorer
- 4 Use search providers for your apps
- 5 Set offline files cache for faster search results
- 6 Use cached ranking for your website
- 7 Use differential updates for better search results
- 8 Wrap-up
Clear the indexing history
The first way to speed up Windows Search is to clear the indexing history. Windows Store apps will automatically store the indexing history so it can be used to give better suggestions when you search. Microsoft Office apps, on the other hand, don’t automatically store the indexing history. In order to speed up Windows Search, you can manually clear the indexing history from the Index Filter section of File Explorer. Open File Explorer and navigate to the “Indexing” tab. Under Index Filter, uncheck the boxes next to the apps you don’t want to see in the indexing history. You can also uncheck “Show all files” so unindexed files show up in the indexing history.
Limit Cortana’s access to your files and network
Search is powered by Bing, so the more you use it the more data it will consume on your hard drive. To speed up Windows Search, you can limit Cortana’s access to your files and network and disable background updates. Windows 10 Home editions don’t have the option to disable Cortana’s background updates. You can turn off updates and access to your files through Cortana by disabling the “Access files and settings” option in Cortana’s Preferences. If you’re using the Pro edition, you can also turn off the “Let me access my devices” option under Cortana’s Privacy section to stop the OS from accessing your files and network.
Turn on file previewing in File Explorer
Another useful option to speed up Windows Search is turning on file previewing in File Explorer. When you preview a file in File Explorer, it previews the file as you see it in the app without indexing it. Many times, users don’t know that they can turn on file previewing in File Explorer. It can be found under the View tab in File Explorer settings. When file previewing is turned on, it will use preview indexing instead of real indexing. It saves RAM as well as disk space as it doesn’t index the files as Windows does. It’s a great option to use when searching for a file in File Explorer because you don’t have to wait for the indexer to finish and get a result.
Use search providers for your apps
Windows Search indexes apps and files. You can use the same search providers that are used by Bing to improve the results from your apps. This will allow Windows Search to access the same data used by Bing so it can provide better search results. This can be done by opening the “Indexing” section of the Windows Registry. In this section, you can add the search provider keys for your apps. After adding the keys, if you search for items in File Explorer, you’ll see the results from Bing and your apps. To add a search provider key, navigate to the following key and you can set the key path for each app. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search
Set offline files cache for faster search results
Windows Search indexes your apps and files and uses the same data source used by Bing to deliver search results. If there is no internet connection, Windows Search tries to connect to Bing to provide results. Since Bing has to crawl the internet to fetch results, it can take a while to give you the results. You can set Windows Search to cache the results to reduce the impact of Bing without an internet connection Windows indexer. This can be done by opening the following key in Windows Registry: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search\CachedSearchSettings By enabling “Use a cached search provider”, Windows Search will use the cached data instead of connecting to Bing. When this option is enabled, Windows Search will store the index of your apps and files instead of connecting to Bing. It will work only when there is no internet connection and when you launch it from the Start menu.
Use cached ranking for your website
Windows Search can also use the cached ranking to provide better search results for your website. It uses the same data source for Bing that is used for apps and files. When it crawls your website, it will look for terms in the index. It will also use the cached ranking to show the most popular results from your website. When you’re setting up a new website, you can enable “Cache website ranking results” to speed up search results from your website. This can be enabled by opening the following key in Windows Registry: enabling “Cache website ranking results”, Windows Search will use the cached data instead of crawling your website. It will work only when there is no internet connection and when you launch it from the Start menu. To see if your website is crawled, open the following key in Windows Registry:
Use differential updates for better search results
Windows Search indexes apps and files and use the same data source for Bing that is used for apps and files. If there is no internet connection, it will connect to Bing to provide search results. Bing, however, sometimes has issues with crawling the internet. In this case, Windows Search will still work without connecting to Bing. It will use differential updates to get the results from your PC. Differential updates are incremental changes to the index that are saved by the operating system. This can be enabled by opening the following key in Windows Registry: enabling “Enable differential updates”, Windows Search will use the cached data instead of connecting to Bing. They don’t change the index, they’re just incremental changes to the index that are saved by the OS. To see if your PC is downloading updates, open the following key in Windows Registry:
If you’re having issues with Windows Search, you can try these tips to speed up the indexing process and get better search results. They can help you find your files and apps faster. We also recommend optimizing your PC by updating your antivirus software and installing all the latest updates from Microsoft. If these tips don’t help, you can try disabling Bing while your computer is connected to the internet.