What Is Search Indexing And How Does It Affect Search In Windows 11

the Windows Search makes finding files and folders on your Windows PC incredibly fast, but sometimes the feature may not work as you expect. Many believe that this mainly happens when Windows starts indexing files. Is it true? So what is indexing in Windows 11/10 and how does it affect search function?

Indexation Windows 10

What is Search Indexing in Windows 11/10

In the Windows operating system, the process of examining files, email messages, and other content on your PC and cataloging their information, such as the words and metadata they contain, is called indexing. Indexing content stored on your PC helps you get results faster by consulting an index of terms. Initially, when the indexing process runs, the process may take up to a few hours. Thereafter, it runs silently in the background of your PC and simply reindexes the updated data. Let’s look at the following aspects:

  1. How does indexing affect search in Windows 10?
  2. File types that can be indexed
  3. How much information in a file is indexed?
  4. How much space is used by the index?
  5. Where is index information stored?
  6. Why does indexing always run on a PC?

Much like the index in a book, a well-made numeric index can help direct the user quickly to the information they are looking for by looking for common properties. Also, it will come back with the most valid results within seconds. In the absence of indexing, the process can take a few minutes, for the same operation. Thus, indexing speeds up search results!

On the other hand, many Microsoft Store apps also depend on the index to provide up-to-date search results for your files and other content. Disabling indexing for Microsoft Store may cause apps to run slowly or not at all. It depends on the extent to which these applications rely on the indexing function.

Choosing not to index file contents can reduce the size of the index. However, this can complicate the process of finding files.

A report: SearchIndexer.exe prevents shutdown of this device

2]Types of files that can be indexed

Indexing Search in Windows 10

In addition to files with names, files showing certain properties or metadata present in a binary format such as DOC or PDF can be indexed. The ‘File types‘tab’Advanced indexing options‘ can be used to include or exclude certain file types from search along with their contents and properties. To see how it’s done, see our article on Windows Search Indexer and Indexing Tips & Tricks.

Additionally, applications you choose to install on your PC can add their own information to the index to speed up the search. Services such as Outlook add all email synced to a machine to the index by default. It uses the same index for searching in the application.

All of your file properties, including filenames and full file paths, are indexed by default.

3]How much information in a file is indexed?

There are two ways to decide how much of a file can be indexed –

  • Properties only
  • Properties and content

For the first, the indexing will not relate to the contents of the file. It will simply allow searching by filename.

4]How much space is used by the index?

The indexing process may take up free space if there are a lot of small files. The index size will increase dramatically in proportion to the size of the files.

In a typical scenario, the index will be less than 10% of the size of the indexed files. For example, if you have 1 GB of text files, the index of these files will be less than 100 MB.

5]Where is the index information stored?

All information or data gathered through indexing is stored locally on your PC at the following location:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Research

If necessary, you can change the location of the Windows search index.

None of the information is sent to Microsoft or outside of your computer. However, applications you choose to install on your PC may have access to your PC’s index data. It is therefore necessary to be careful when installing something from the outside. Best to make sure the source is reliable.

Windows.edb is the Windows Search service database file, which provides content indexing, property caching, and search results for files, emails, and other content.

6]Why does indexing always run on a PC?

The purpose of indexing is to continuously track changes to files and keep up to date with the latest information. As such, it can open recently modified files, identify changes made to them, if any, and update the index with the latest information. But sometimes the search indexer is reported as consuming high disk or CPU usage.

POINTE: Check this article if Windows Search Indexer is not working.

Indexing

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