How to Add or Remove Search Index Locations in Windows 11

scan 3924343 640
scan 3924343 640

This post shows students and new users steps to add or remove Search Index locations in Windows 11. By default, Windows will use the index locations to help you search faster and return results quicker.

Windows has predefined locations that it’s configured to search for content. However, users can add additional locations or paths to have Windows search from to provide relevant content. Besides adding additional locations, users can filter by file types, properties, and content they want to include in the Windows Search index.

The index uses the Windows Search service in the background to index new content. The service will automatically rebuild and update for changes when new locations are added or removed.

The Windows Search service will run at a reduced speed when users actively use the computer. Once the computer is idle, the indexing speed will return to full so that new content is included quickly and help the user with the best results.

By design, the Windows Search service will not index content from any drive or partition with the A and B drive letters, even when included in the index location, because A and B drive letters are reserved for floppy drives.

How to add folder locations to the Windows Search index

As mentioned above, one can add or remove folders to the Windows Search index to include additional content to search for. If you have an external (removable) drive and want to search for content, then you can include it as an index path so Windows can index it.

User searches will return results from the external drive, included in the index path.

Below is how to add new locations to Windows Index.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for the majority of its settings. Everything can be done, from system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + I shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings, as shown in the image below:

windows 11 start settings

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Privacy & security, and select Searching Windows tile on the right pane, as shown in the image below.

Select the Advanced indexing option on the Searching Windows settings pane under Related settings.

On the Indexing Options window, select Modify, as highlighted below.

Then check (add) the locations you want to be indexed, and click on OK when finished.

If you are signed in as an administrator, you could also click the Show all locations button to see all available locations.

How to remove Windows Search index locations in Windows 11

If you included a location that isn’t useful, you can reverse the steps above to remove a location from the Windows Search index.

Go to the Start Menu ==> Settings ==> Privacy & security ==> Searching windows ==> Advanced indexing options ==> Modify.

Then uncheck to remove a location from the Windows Search index and click OK when done.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to add or remove the Windows Search index location in Windows 11. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.

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