Understanding Indexed Search

by Barry Dysert
(last updated August 7, 2017)

There are basically two kinds of searches that can be performed in Windows. There's the "Windows Search," where you type a string into Windows Explorer's search box (File Explorer in Windows 10) and it finds the documents in that folder containing your search string.

Then there's the "Indexed Search" which uses the search box on the Start menu to search for the names of files themselves. This tip introduces you to the Indexed Search. (By the way, the terms "Windows Search" and "Indexed Search" aren't official Microsoft terms—I just use them as a convenient way to distinguish the two types of searches.)

The Indexed Search, as the name implies, uses an index to point to files so that when you search for a file that's in the index, it is very fast. You invoke the search by either clicking the Start button or by pressing the Windows key. You can then immediately start typing, and the characters you type will be echoed at the bottom of the Start menu, which is the Search box.

The key to using the index optimally is to strike a balance between having a large enough index that it will contain the files you're likely to look for, while keeping the index small enough so that going through a huge index doesn't require a long time. Modifying the index is covered under separate tips.

 This tip (12884) applies to Windows 7 and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Changing Regional Settings

Windows makes it easy to set your system to accurately reflect your regional settings. This tip sets you well on your way.

Discover More

Using Robocopy to Mirror Directories

It's simple to use Robocopy when dealing with entire directories. Dealing with directories is what it does best! This top ...

Discover More

Switching Between Command Line and File Explorer

Sometimes you can be more effective in a command window, and other times you can be more effective using File Explorer. ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Checking the Size of Apps

Need to know how much disk space is consumed by the small applications (apps) installed on your system? Windows makes it ...

Discover More

Understanding File Types and Extensions

File types (or extensions) are key to using Windows effectively. When you double-click a file in Windows Explorer or File ...

Discover More

Saving Search Queries

Windows Explorer has a good search utility built into it. As you use it, you may wish to save your commonly typed ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.