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Perform faster searches using indexing options in Windows 7

Windows 7 uses the index to perform very fast searches on your computer. Here are some advanced indexing settings you can change.

To add a file type to the index

If you use an unusual file type that's not currently recognized by the index, you can add it to the index so you can search in Windows by that file type.

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. In the Search box type 'Indexing Options' and select it when it appears.
  3. Click Advanced. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Advanced Options dialog box, click the File Types tab.
  5. In the Add new extension to list box, type the file name extension (for example, "txt"), and then click Add.
  6. Click Index Properties Only or Index Properties and File Contents, and then click OK.

To rebuild the index

The index requires almost no maintenance. However, if the index can't find a file that you know exists in an indexed location, you might need to rebuild the index. Rebuilding the index can take several hours, and searches might be incomplete until the index is fully rebuilt.

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. In the Search box type 'Indexing Options' and select it when it appears.
  3. Click Advanced. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Advanced Options dialog box, click the Index Settings tab, and then click Rebuild. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To index encrypted files

Before you add encrypted files to the index, we recommend that you have Windows BitLocker (or a non-Microsoft encryption program) enabled on your system drive (the drive that Windows is installed on).

Note:
Windows BitLocker is only included in Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate.

Note that the index will automatically rebuild each time this setting is changed. This can take a long time, and might cause searches to be incomplete until the process is complete.

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. In the Search box type 'Indexing Options' and select it when it appears.
  3. Click Advanced. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Advanced Options dialog box, click the Index Settings tab, select the Index encrypted files check box, and then click OK. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Notes

  • Although you can use a non-Microsoft program to encrypt your system drive, non-Microsoft file encryption programs are not supported. Windows only supports files encrypted using Encrypting File System (EFS).
  • EFS is only included in Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate.
  • If you add encrypted files to the index and you're not using full-volume encryption for the location of the index, encrypted data from your files for example, text from an encrypted Microsoft Word document will be added to the index. The index is obscured so that it's not easily readable if someone tries to open the index files, but it doesn't have strong data encryption. If someone were to gain access to your computer, they could extract your data from the index. Therefore, the location of the index should also be encrypted to help protect your indexed data.

To index words with and without diacritics as different words

If you commonly use diacritics (small signs added to letters to change the pronunciation of words) in your file and folder names, you can configure the index to recognize words with diacritics differently. By default, Windows recognizes diacritics according to the language version you are using. If you change this setting, all diacritics will be recognized.

The index will automatically be rebuilt each time this setting is changed. This can take a long time and might cause searches to be incomplete until the process is complete.

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. In the Search box type 'Indexing Options' and select it when it appears.
  3. Click Advanced. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Advanced Options dialog box, click the Index Settings tab.
  5. Under File Settings, select the Treat similar words with diacritics as different words check box, click OK, and then click OK again.

To change the location where the index is stored

If you need to free up space on a hard disk, you can change the location of the index. If you change this location, the Windows Search service will automatically be restarted, and the change will not go into effect until the restart is complete.

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. In the Search box type 'Indexing Options' and select it when it appears.
  3. Click Advanced. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. In the Advanced Options dialog box, click the Index Settings tab.
  5. Under Index location, click Select new, click a new location, click OK, and then click OK again.

Note:
When you change the index location, you should choose a location on a non-removable hard disk that is formatted using the NTFS file system.

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