How-To Geek

How to Rebuild the Search Index in Windows


If you are encountering problems with searching–unexpectedly slow searches, not finding things that should be indexed, or searches actually crashing–your best bet is to completely rebuild the search index.

The search index can take a while to rebuild, but it’s usually worth it. Before you rebuild the index, though, it may be worth taking the time to trim down your index locations to just what you need to make the indexing process faster.

Open up the “Indexing Options” window by hitting Start and typing “Indexing Options.”


In the “Indexing Options” window, click the “Advanced” button.


In the “Advanced Options” window, click the “Rebuild” button.


After that, it’s just a matter of waiting while Windows rebuilds the index from scratch. You can keep using your PC normally, of course, but searching will continue to be spotty until the index is fully rebuilt. Also, Windows tries to do indexing while your PC is not being used, so it may be best to rebuild the index before going to sleep and just leaving your PC on for the night to do its job. You should be back to searching by the morning.

Walter Glenn is a long time computer geek and tech writer. Though he's mostly a Windows and gadget guy, he has a fondness for anything tech. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Published 11/21/07

Comments (7)

  1. Zath

    Many thanks for this! I’ve been having problems with bringing results back when I search ever since I stopped indexing and then turned it back on again, but now I’ll try re-building it and see how I get on.


  2. mimo

    Thank you for this tip!!!
    After this, my computer it’s so faster, and now I can work better.

  3. Leiko

    Im getting a message every 10 minutes saying my indexing isnt working, and when i open the window theres nothing on the included or exclude columns and the advanced button is grey. Any tip?

  4. Rose

    I am unable to get this window indexing options to open at all, even in safe mode, any suggestions?? I am having many issues getting programs to open at all after a recovery operation :0(

  5. Sean

    I have a question about indexing. When I search for a file (that i know the name of) i keep getting no results to pop up in that start menu window. BUT the second i hit the “see more results” button, bam, it shows exactly what i was looking for. i have the location these files are at included in the index… i just dont understand why it would say there are no results until i hit “see more results”. what makes this even stranger is when i have my external hdd plugged in (which i also have indexed) and do a search for one of these files, the file on the host machine AND the backup i have on the external show up together.

  6. David Kahn

    Ditto Sean’s issue. Start menu doesn’t show the results and “See more results” does.

  7. Tatsujin

    I have a problem with my Indexing on a Vista 32bit PC. Basically, I have the indexing set to index my Outlook folders, however, every time I close Outlook or restart the PC it starts indexing from ZERO again, it never ‘remembers’ any of the indexing it has already done.

    So far, I’ve disabled and restarted the service, selected none to index and then re-chose what I wanted to index and various other options but so far it hasn’t fixed the issue . . . any ideas? :)


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