How-To Geek

Rebuilding the Search Index in Windows Vista

If you are encountering problems with the searching engine built into Windows Vista, your best bet is to tell the indexing service to completely rebuild the index. It will take a while to rebuild, but it’s usually worth it.

It’s important to note that the search indexing in Windows Vista also handles searching in Microsoft Outlook 2007, so if you are encountering errors there you have another troubleshooting step other than disabling instant search.

Type in indexing into the start menu search box to launch Indexing Options:


Once the dialog opens, you’ll want to choose the “Advanced” button, which will give you a UAC prompt.


Now you can simply click the Rebuild button, and the search index will be wiped clean and regenerated.


This process does take a long time if you have many files being indexed, so you might want to consider trimming down the indexed locations.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • 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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