How-To Geek

Adding Indexing Locations in Windows Vista

Windows Vista has a new built-in searching engine that is completely integrated into the operating system, but not all directories are indexed by default. To add a new directory to be indexed, you just have to follow a couple of steps.

To get to the indexing service panel, just type index into the start menu search box, and hit enter.

In the Indexing Options window, click the Modify button

On the next screen, click Show all Locations

Now we can actually figure out which folders we want to index. Just put a checkbox next to the locations you want to index.

Note that you should NOT index your entire computer, because it will make indexing slow. Only index locations where you actually store data files. An example of a location you shouldn’t index… program files. There’s just no need to index that.

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 01/9/07

Comments (10)

  1. Tony Skelding

    In Vista Indexing, my “Show all locations” button is grayed out.

  2. SutroStyle

    In my Indexed Locations (screenshot above), C:\Users folder does not appear. So I cannot index my Desktop! How do I add \Users\username in there???

  3. Steven Buckle

    To Tom Skelding: The “show all locations” button gets grayed out when Vista believes that all locations have been selected. To add more locations such as a network drive you will need to install an add-on for Windows Desktop Search. Go to to do this. See Windows Desktop Search homepage on for more add ons.

    To SutroStyle: Once you have clicked the Modify button you should see Local Disk (C:) at the top of the list. Next to the checkbox there should be a small plus (+) symbol in a box. Use this to expand C: and check your Users folder.


  4. Samantha


    I have installed this and it works! however I have 1 network drive that it is not picking up any clues?

    Kind regards,

  5. Ian Armstrong

    Just a heads up – this no longer access indexer options in SP1. At least, this is the case if you have Google Desktop Search installed. I’ve only got the upgrade on one test box so I remain a little vague on what just happned to my search functions.

    The KB article from MS is infomative but dry and somewhat unhelpful, considering I can no longer find my Windows options for index locations.

    On the other hand, I am looking forward to the ability to index delegate inboxes in Exchange – an often requested feature around the office. That is, when I figure it out.

  6. Ian Armstrong

    Ah my bad, I didn’t link the MS KB for you —

  7. Robert Waters

    There is a *great* reason to index Program Files – it makes them searchable.
    Just like adding a folder to %PATH%, adding Program Files to your search index will allow you to run any app by name from the Start Menu. And *better* than adding a folder to %PATH%, the index allows word completion.

    Ex: Say you want to run Sysinternals Process Explorer, which lives in Program Files\Sysinternals\
    type ‘proc’ and press enter (assuming nothing else starts w/ ‘proc’).

    It can’t get any easier!!

  8. Johnny

    I did it but I don’t know it work?
    anybody with clue please help

  9. cammie

    keeps freezing up and restarting in the programs sometimes I can’t get my windows live and qwest is my internet provider keeps refering me to the freeze page?

  10. Christopher Ryan

    The problem I’m having with my Vista and indexing issues is that every few times I log on to the computer, say, every 3 or 4 days, the SAVED index location(s) stay intact. But then it disappears and I have to keep RE-adding back my D drive and the specific folders & subfolders I want. Again, the problem is that Vista keeps “letting go” of my index location every few days. It stays intact for, say 3 or 4 days, then when I’m ready to do searching I discover the D drive is not there. Can anyone help me, please?

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