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If you really don’t use Windows Search much, you can disable indexing completely by turning off the Windows Search service. You’ll still be able to search–it will just take longer without an index.

If you’re thinking of disabling Search because it’s slowing things down, we recommend trimming down what files and folders are getting indexed and seeing if that works for you first. And if you’re experiencing crashes or inaccurate searches, try rebuilding your search index. You should also note that other apps–notably Microsoft Outlook–use Windows Search to allow searching within those apps, so you’ll have to do without fast searching in those, as well.

That said, if you’re planning on using another search app or you just don’t search often and would rather not have the service running, Windows Search is easy to disable. Hit Start, type “services,” and then click the result.

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On the right-hand side of the “Services” window, find the “Windows Search” entry and double-click it.

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In the “Startup type” drop-down menu, select the “Disabled” option. This will prevent Windows Search from loading the next time you start your computer. Click the “Stop” button to go ahead and stop the Windows Search service now. When the service has stopped, click “OK.”

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And that’s it. Windows Search is now disabled, a fact that Windows is happy to remind you about (and offer to fix) when you do perform searches.

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If you want to turn Windows Search back on, all you have to do is return to it in the Services window, change the “Startup type” option back to “Automatic,” and then click Start to start the service back up.

Walter Glenn Walter Glenn
Walter Glenn is the Editorial Director for How-To Geek and its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He's authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O'Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He's also written hundreds of white papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years.
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