If you turn off Windows Search Indexing on hard drives, you can improve performance on Windows 10. First, let’s see why you need it. After that, we’ll explain how to do this.
Sometimes, you may not want to disable Windows search indexing. It depends on what kind of hardware you are using. Below are some prime examples of when you should or shouldn’t disable it.
Also, let’s dispel a little myth. Windows Search Indexing is still used in Windows 10 and works in much the same way as older versions of Windows. With that in mind, here’s what we suggest:
- Good CPU and standard hard drive = Continue indexing
- Slow CPU and any hard drive = Disable indexing
- Any CPU with SSD = Disable Indexing
If you have a slow hard drive and a good processor, it makes sense to leave search indexing enabled, but otherwise it’s better to disable it. This is especially true for those with SSDs because they can read your files so quickly.
For those of you curious, search indexing doesn’t harm your computer in any way. When enabled, all searches are indexed, so searches are faster, however, the search indexer uses CPU and RAM, so turning it off will save those resources.
Turn Windows Search Indexing Off Selectively
You have the option to turn off indexing for certain folders, so if you regularly browse areas on your PC, it might be worth leaving indexing for them and turning it off elsewhere.
We’ll start with this option because it’s a great compromise to save PC resources and fast search speeds. To do this, open the Start menu and type Indexing. Click Indexing Options.
On the Indexing Options page, you will see a list that shows all the included and excluded locations for indexing. This will include your Start Menu, Internet Explorer history, and most importantly, the Users folder and everything in it. That means everything like your documents, downloads, images and video folders.
These folders can contain many files that you rarely view. In this case, you should disable indexing. Click Edit, then on the new page, scroll down to the checked Users folder and uncheck it. Then click OK. Note that there can be multiple Users folders, so make sure you find the one with a checkmark.
You can go further by clicking the drop-down arrow in the Users folder and unchecking the individual folders. This can be useful, for example, if you frequently visit my documents, but rarely touch other folders.
If you keep adding files to each folder, indexing will continue, wasting more resources, so it’s best to turn this off for folders you rarely enter to conserve system resources.
Turn off search indexing in Outlook
By default, Microsoft Outlook does not appear on the Search Indexing page. Instead, we need to go through Microsoft Outlook. So, open Outlook, then click File – Options.
On the Options page, click the Search tab on the left, and then click the blue-highlighted Indexing Options button. Then you will see a menu similar to the previous one, but now you will see Microsoft Outlook in the list.
To turn off Outlook search indexing, first click Microsoft Outlook in the list to highlight it. Then click “Edit” and then uncheck the box in the new window. Finally, click OK.
Turn off Windows Search indexing for specific disks
If you want to disable Windows search indexing for specific drives, you can do so using a different process. It is recommended to disable search indexing for drives that you rarely touch, such as spare drives.
To do this, first open the Start menu, type â€œPCâ€ and click â€œThis PCâ€ when it appears in the search results.
Then right-click the drive and select Properties.
On the General tab, uncheck the Allow files on this drive to index content in addition to the file properties at the bottom. Then click â€œApplyâ€.
You will be given the option to select all files or just the drive itself. Be sure to select Apply changes to drive X: , subfolders and files. Then click OK.
The next step will take some time. Your computer will now apply this new attribute to all files on that drive. Fortunately, you can let it run in the background, and it shouldn’t have a huge impact on your performance, unless you apply it to the drive that Windows is running on.
If any access denied messages appear, just click Ignore All – these are system files or other files that are currently in use.
Disable indexing completely
If you want to completely disable search indexing in Windows 10, you must use a different method. The above methods may stop the search indexing for specific files and folders, but the search indexing service is still running.
This option is only recommended if Windows Search is down or your processor is very slow and has performance issues. Follow these steps to turn off Windows Search.
You can start by pressing Windows Key + R, typing services.msc and clicking OK.
Find Windows Search in the list of services. To make things easier, double-click the Name button to sort them in alphabetical order from Z to A. When you find it, double-click Windows Search.
In the new tab that opens, click Stop to stop the Windows Search Indexing Service, and then click the Startup Type drop-down box. In the list that appears, select Disabled. Then click Apply.
You can now restart your computer and Windows Search indexing will be completely disabled.
If you notice any problems with search performance, try turning it on again.