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Home / Tips and Tricks / Troubleshoot Windows Search Indexes in Windows 10

Troubleshoot Windows Search Indexes in Windows 10



Icon for Microsoft Indexer Diagnostics tool on a Windows 10 desktop.

Problems with the search function in the Windows 10 Start menu or File Explorer? Whether Windows is not finding your files, indexing is using too much CPU, or searching is not working, Microsoft̵

7;s Indexer Diagnostics tool can help troubleshoot.

This tool provides insight into the internal functionality of the Windows Search indexing service, and can help you identify problems and fixes. It’s similar to Diagnostic Data Viewer – a power tool that provides extra information you would not normally see about Windows 10’s internal devices.

To get started, download the Microsoft Indexer Diagnostics tool from the Microsoft Store. Launch it and give it administrator privileges – it needs these privileges to access and update Windows search indexes.

Click between the tabs in the left pane to see information about the indexing service, its status, which files it is indexed and what it is looking for. There are also various troubleshooting tools in this box. The main window is “Service Status”, which shows how many objects the indexer has in its database and how many files it has indexed in the last hour, day and week.

Service Status box in Indexer Diagnostics.

If the Windows search does not work at all, click “Search does not work” in the left window. Use the “Restart” button to quickly restart the search service to resolve issues.

If that does not help, click the “Reset” button to restore the state of the indexing service. It takes several minutes. As the interface points out, a reset “will help if the Search Indexer is stuck in poor condition.”

Troubleshooting Windows search does not work in Indexer Diagnostics.

If the search cannot find a file, click “Is my file indexed?”, Browse to the file you want Windows to find, and click “Verify.”

Windows will tell you if the file is in the search index and, if not, it will explain why the search index ignores it so that you can resolve issues.

Test if a file is indexed and why in Microsoft's Indexer Diagnostics.

Other tools available in Indexer Diagnostics include:

  • What is indexed? – Shows the paths that are indexed and all excluded paths that are not indexed. You can add and remove included and excluded paths here.
  • Search for roots – Shows where Windows starts searching – for example at the root of the C: directory.
  • Content Viewer – View the files that the indexer is indexing, and the exact time it indexed them. For example, if the search index used a lot of CPU at a given time, you can see which files it indexed at that time and consider excluding them from “What is indexed?”.
  • Ask Viewer – Monitor which search queries are sent to the Windows search indexes. You can click “Start Listening”, perform searches and see exactly what is happening in the background.
  • Index Object Statistics – See how many objects are indexed for each app on your system. You can also export index details to a CSV file.
  • Response – This tab allows you to collect tracks and logs that monitor the indexer’s resource usage and functions. There is a “File Bug” button here that allows you to file reports on indexer issues with Microsoft.

Many of these features are only useful for search index developers or for people who send bug reports to these developers, but it’s still good to have such insight into the internal functionality of Windows 10.

Microsoft has addressed resource usage issues with the indexer – look at the fixes made in the Windows 10 May 2020 update – and this tool suggests that Microsoft developers are hard at work on optimizing the search feature, reducing resource usage, and fixing bugs.

RELATED: This is how you search all your computer’s files in the Windows 10 start menu




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