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How to Index Files in Windows 8.1 to Speed Up Searches

How to Index Files in Windows 8.1 to Speed Up Searches

Tuned correctly, the Windows 8.1 index service can speed up searches significantly. It can also slow down your Windows 8.1 machine, and we show you how to avoid that.

Indexing is one of the most misunderstood processes in Windows 8.1. However, investigating how indexing works works on your system may not only speed up file search, it may resolve the question: Is indexing really slowing down my computer?

MORE: How To Index Files In Windows 10 To Speed Up Searches
MORE: Windows 10 How Tos

To open up Indexing Options, press the WinKey +w, type 'index' in the search and you will see the 'Indexing Options' icon. Window 8.1 Indexing OptionsWindow 8.1 Indexing Options

Windows 8.1 Indexing Decisions And Strategies

Which folders do you want to index?Your document library locations are usually indexed by default. However, if you store data files at other locations then click on the 'Modify' button and tweak the Windows 8.1 Indexer's to-do list.

An alternative strategy is to add more locations to your 'Libraries,' as your library locations are indexed by default. If you like this tip then right-click a folder of text files and 'Include in Library' --> Documents.

Which folders don't you need to index? The key principle is don't mindlessly select 'Index all files', because this really will put an unnecessary burden on the CPU; instead actively choose folders that you regularly search. For instance, I would not bother to include the Windows system files, but I would index a local copy of my web site.

Decide if there is benefit in excluding files, for example temporary files. While there is no 'Exclude' button, you can just expand a folder and remove the tick next to the unneeded sub-folder.Advanced Windows 8.1 Indexing OptionsAdvanced Windows 8.1 Indexing Options

Helpful Tip:
If the Windows 8.1 Indexer / Search hangs, then exclude folders containing downloads, video or any files that are in-use, or could be temporarily inaccessible.

Index File Properties, and File Content,(or Index Properties Only). Give thought to the Windows 8.1 indexing process. For a particular file type ask the question, 'Do I need to index the CONTENT of the files, or would indexing properties such as name, author and date be sufficient?'

Click on the Advanced tab, then File Types, now decide how to index text-rich types such as .doc. Your options are Index Properties Only, or additionally, index the file contents.

Index Tactics: Another Drive?

Once again seek the Advanced button from the front page of the Window 8.1 Indexing Options, but this time stay on the Index Settings tab, to change the position of the index file itself, now click on 'New Location'. This tactic works best if you have the luxury of a second disk.

Searching For Windows 8.1 Files

The whole point of indexing is to speed up file searches, especially if you want a list of files matching a particular word or phrase. Here is the front-end as supplied by the Windows 8.1 Explorer Ribbon. Read: Mastering Windows 8.1 File Search

Once you launch the File Explorer click on 'Search Libraries' and note how the context-sensitive menu changes to 'Search Tools' (see above).

To refine your search click on the above sub-menus, 'Kind', 'Size' or 'Date Modified'

Speaking of Windows Explorer Ribbon, from the file option, you can also 'Change folder and search options'. What this offers in addition to tweaking the search locations, is the ability to show hidden files, folders and drives.

You may also wish to investigate Windows 8.1's Search. This has its own dialog box where you can select Apps, Settings or Files