How to Fix the Windows Search Indexer


Windows Search returns results immediately, as soon as you type a search on Windows 7 and Vista. Windows Search Indexer constantly scans your hard drives, watching for new files and changes to existing files. While the indexer generally requires no maintenance, it may sometimes malfunction. If the Windows Search Indexer makes your computer too slow or it can't find files on your computer, fix it using the Windows "Search and Indexing" troubleshooting wizard.

  • Open the Windows Control Panel. Click the "Start" button in the lower-left corner of your screen, then click "Control Panel."

  • Navigate to the Troubleshooting section. Click the search box in the upper-right corner of the Control Panel window, then type "troubleshooter." Click "Troubleshooting" in the main window pane, then click "View All" in the sidebar near the upper-left corner of the window.

  • Open the Search and Indexing troubleshooting wizard. Click "Search and Indexing" in the "Troubleshoot Computer Problems" list.

  • Detect problems. Click "Next" at the bottom of the "Search and Indexing" troubleshooter wizard window.

  • Select Search Indexer problems. Click the check box to the left of the problems that apply. Report another problem if required by clicking "My Problem Isn't Listed Above," clicking "Next," then typing your problem into the box in the "Please Describe Your Problem" window.

  • Start the automatic troubleshooting process. Begin by clicking "Next" at the bottom of the window.

  • Troubleshoot as an administrator if your problem persists. Click "Try Troubleshooting as an Administrator" in the "Issues Might Be Found Troubleshooting with Administrator Permissions" window.

  • Select Search and Indexing Problems to fix as an administrator. Select the applicable problems by checking the boxes to their left.

  • Start the automatic troubleshooting process as an administrator. Begin by clicking "Next" in the lower-right corner of the troubleshooting window.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the Search and Indexing troubleshooting wizard did not fix Windows Search Indexer, click "Explore Additional Options" on the last page of the troubleshooting wizard. Contact Microsoft Customer Support online, run the System Restore recovery wizard or get help from a friend by using Remote Assistance from this window. This window also searches Windows Help and Support or Windows Communities for solutions.
  • Windows Search Indexer does not index system file locations such as the "Program Files" and "Windows" folders for performance reasons. It's normal if Windows Search doesn't show files that are in system locations.

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