What is Microsoft Windows Search Index?.
The Microsoft Windows Search Indexer, which appears in Task Manager as SearchIndexer.exe, does a pretty useful job. This makes Windows searches much faster. However, you probably entered the name of the executable on Google, because the program seems to consume CPU and RAM resources, which is a concern.
If you are worried that SearchIndexer.exe is behaving incorrectly or affecting the performance of your computer, stay until the end of this article and we will dispel all your doubts.
What Does The Windows Search Indexer Do?
Windows 10 has a pretty powerful search utility. All you have to do is start typing what you are looking for and the results will appear almost instantly. This is only possible because the Windows Search Indexer always runs in the background.
It monitors changes to shared file locations, installed applications, and other activities that are likely to be what the user will be looking for. It then creates an index of all these elements to give you results quickly.
Search Indexer Is a Windows Service
The executable that you sometimes see in Task Manager is part of a Windows service called WSearch. If you go to the list of services in the Task Manager, you will see that it sits there in the background and performs its task. This means you have nothing to worry about in terms of security.
The Windows Search Indexer is not malware and fulfills its function. You should, of course, always have a good antivirus installed and run regular scans, but in this case, this is not a rogue program sneaking through the back door.
Customizing the Windows Search Indexer
While most users will never have a reason to mess with the search indexer, you can actually change what it indexes and how it behaves.
1. To access these options, open the Start menu and search for indexing options. You can also find this option in Control Panel, but (ironically) the quickest way to get there is by using Windows Search.
After opening the Indexing Options window, you have several different ways to change the way the indexer does its work.
The “Pause” button will be available only while the indexer is running. This is useful in situations where the Indexer interferes with your computer at inconvenient times and you just want it to cool down for a while.
The Edit button allows you to add or remove indexing locations. Perhaps you have an external drive with documents that you need to search frequently. If you add it to the list of places the indexer should track, you can quickly search for it in the future.
Finally, the Advanced button takes you to more fine-tuned options that can have a big impact on how annoying you are with the search indexer. There’s a lot to unpack here, so we’ll go over the options and what they do in turn.
Customizations That Reduce Search Indexer’s Footprint
The first thing you might want to visit when trying to reduce the amount of RAM, CPU, and hard disk bandwidth used by a program is the Change button under Indexing Options. This will show you the locations that are currently being indexed. By deleting locations that you are not interested in finding, Indexer will complete its processing faster.
For obvious reasons, it can also be helpful to unselect places on slow drives.
In the Advanced Options section of the Indexing Options section, we can change even more aspects of how the indexer works.
One interesting option is to change the location of the search index. Moving it to a secondary drive or a fast SSD can put it out of competition with the rest of the operating system. This is unlikely to make a big difference in most cases, but you can try it to see if this is the reason for the poor performance for you.
Another area that can help reduce the time and resources used by the search indexer is file types. By limiting the file types that are important to the indexer, you can skip most of the work.
If your indexer is configured to index file content as well as file properties, you can try changing it to index file properties only. This should significantly affect how quickly Indexer gets the job done and gets out of the way.
Manually Rebuilding Your Search Index
In some cases, Search Indexer is not the problem. Instead, the index itself was somehow corrupted. In this case, you can force Search Indexer to completely rebuild the index. Just click the Rebuild button shown below and confirm that you want to rebuild the index. This may take a long time, but you can see the progress in the main Indexing Options window.
Recovery makes sense if you’ve recently made a lot of changes to files on your drives. Since this can take a long time, you can start your recovery before bed and start it overnight.
Disable Search Indexer for Better Performance
So you don’t bother looking for things in Windows and just want the best possible performance out of your system all the time. While we do not recommend disabling the search indexer completely, you should be aware of the options available to you.
Check out the “Turn off indexing on Windows for better performance” section where we show you how to turn off search indexing and advise you in specific situations in which it is recommended.
Can You Remove Windows Search Indexer?
The short answer is that you cannot completely remove the search indexer. As a Windows component, you can only disable the search index, as we described in the previous section. In any case, there is no reason to remove it entirely. If you disable it, the only effect it will have is to consume a small amount of disk space. So even if you could remove it completely, it wouldn’t be worth the effort.
We do not recommend disabling Windows search entirely. It is best to configure the service so that its impact is reduced in the rare event that it is consuming too many resources.
There are several situations where the search indexer might be disabled for valid reasons. For example, if you have a home media server running something like Plex and no one uses it as a day to day computer, you can also turn off the search indexer because it serves no purpose on that computer.
The same goes for low-spec Windows devices that are used in embedded systems, or any situation where you are absolutely sure no one will search.
To summarize, Windows Search Indexer is not a virus, your computer is fine and the software is doing important work. It’s up to you whether you want to shrink it or disable it entirely, but Windows is much faster and more convenient with a handy index of your files.
What is Microsoft Windows Search Index?
What is Microsoft Windows Search Index?