Understanding Indexed Search

by Barry Dysert
(last updated January 13, 2014)

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 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.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Removing a Desktop Gadget

Gadgets can be fun and/or useful. If you want to free up a little desktop real estate, though, this tip tells you how to ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of a Built-in Windows Library

Most people like the Library feature of Windows, but for those who don't, this tip explains how to get rid of a built-in ...

Discover More

Removing Locations from the Search Index

You can fine-tune Indexed Searches by removing locations from the search index. This tip tells you how.

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Combining Drives in Storage Spaces

Need to add some addition drive space to your system? Why not consider adding what Windows calls a 'storage space?' This tip ...

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 searches. ...

Discover More

Understanding Storage Spaces

Need to add some addition drive space to your system? Why not consider adding what Microsoft calls a "storage space?" This ...

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. 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 three minus 2?

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.