How To Configure Advanced Indexing Options In Windows 7

Windows 7 uses indexing to perform search functionality in your PC. Unlike Windows XP, Windows 7 search is real-time which means you will get search results as you start tying. By default, almost all files on your computer are indexed. Indexed locations include folders, and libraries. Program files and system files are excluded from indexing.

In this article, we will explain you how to configure advance indexing options so that you have a better control over the search results.

A) Rebuild Index

Sometimes when Windows 7 doesn’t give proper search results, you may need to rebuild indexing. Note that rebuilding index may take lot of time. Hence do it only if you are seriously affected by search results and you are sure that Windows is not showing results of a particular data which exists.

Note that indexing will automatically rebuild each time any of following settings are changed. This can take a long time depending on the amount of data in your hard disk, and might give incomplete search results till the process is complete.

1. Click Start—> Control Panel and make sure that you have set view by “Large icons” or “Small Icons”. Then click “Indexing Options”.


2. Click “Advanced” button.


3. Click “Rebuild” button in “Troubleshooting” section.


4. Windows will start rebuilding index process. Depending upon the contents in your PC, it may take a some time for indexing process to complete. After the indexing is complete, you will see the status as “Indexing complete” in the indexing options.


B) Index Encrypted Files

Windows 7 lets you encrypt data in a folder using BitLocker feature. By default, Windows 7 doesn’t index the encrypted data. Here is how you can enable indexing of encrypted files. Note that before you enable indexing of encrypted files, you need have BitLocker enabled in your Windows 7. Windows BitLocker is only included in Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate editions.

1. Follow steps 1 and 2 from (A).

2. In the “Advanced Options” dialog box, turn on “Index encrypted files” option in “File Settings” section.


3. Click “OK”.

C) Index words with and without diacritics as different words

If you use diacritics (such as à, ç etc added for changing pronunciation of words) in your file and folder names, you can configure the index to recognize such words differently. By default, Windows recognizes diacritics according to the language version you are using.

1. Follow steps 1 and 2 from (A).

2. In “Advanced Options” dialog box, check the box “Treat similar words with diacritics as different words”.


3. Click “OK”.

D) Change the location where the index is stored

Index files can take lots of hard disk space. By default, Windows stores the index files in the “Windows” installation folder. If you have limited space hard disk partition and would like to locate a different partition of hard disk space for index, follow these steps:

1. Follow steps 1 and 2 from (A).

2. In “Advanced Options” dialog box, click “Select new” button and browse for the location where you want Windows to save it’s index files. Note that you should use choose a location on a non-removable hard disk that is formatted using the NTFS file system. new-indexing-location

For example, in our case we made a folder “Index_Location” in “E:” partition as shown in screen-shot below.


E) Add File type to Index

By default, Windows adds almost all popular file types into index. But if you see Windows has missed something unusual file format, you can go ahead and add file type to index.

1. Follow steps 1 and 2 from (A).

2. In the Advanced Options dialog box, click on “File Types” tab.

3. In the “Add new extension to list” section, type the file extension that you want to add and then click “Add” button.


4. The extension gets added to the list as shown in below screen-shot.


5. Click “OK” to save changes.


Kiran Kumar

Hi there! Kiran Kumar is an Engineer by profession, and loves blogging primarily on Microsoft Windows operating system and also enjoys reviewing software and products. Currently, he is exploring Windows 10 and you will see a lot of articles on know-how about it. When he is not writing for TWP, he enjoys time with his Family, listens to lot of music, enjoys Biking, and occasionally plays racing games on Xbox One.

  • Silvio

    Good description of the Indexing.
    Unfortunately the status “Indexing Complete” appears after a few items only have been really indexed and the item counter seem to stop.
    This cause the user to misunderstand the real status and to exit the operation long before it is really finished, deleting the index file.

    A bug to be corrected

  • Throwaway 86

    Is there a way to index an external hard drive so that any computer that connects to it can search it immediately without waiting to re-index the whole drive?