Making Windows 7 Search Work Better

Several articles have already been written about Search and how to use it. Check out these previous posts on Windows7News :

  • “How to search in Windows” by Mike Halsey (Sept11)
  • Finding files in Windows7” by  Mustafa (June 30)

In my post I’d like to draw your attention to these aspects of Windows Search features.

They are:

  • Registering a portable Drive in Search’s Index
  • Excluding a Folder from Search
  • Windows Search not working

In Windows XP Windows the Search feature was hopeless. While it improved in Windows Vista it now flies in Windows 7.Copernic Desktop Search is a much more effective Search application. This application is available from the web. You can access a free download at .

Of course, Google remains well ahead of the pack when it comes to searching for information on the Web.

What is Windows’ Index?

The core of Windows’ Search is Windows Index. Windows 7 collects information about all the files stored on your computer. Each file’s information is registered in the Index. This includes such information as the file name, the name of author, the location (folder) and so on. Whenever you create and save a file, Windows adds details about it to its index.

Windows uses this indexing system to perform very fast searches on your computer.

How does Search Work?

Search checks your library first. This includes these folders, Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos as well as Contacts and E-mails.


It also looks in Public Folders.


Troubleshooting with Windows Search

Search is not working very well? Maybe it’s time to give it a tune-up. Now this is where another of Windows 7’s useful Problem Solver can help.

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. In the Search box, typesearch problem”.
  3. Search offers a problem solver called “Find and fix problems with Windows Search”.
  4. ClickFind and fix problems with Windows Search”.
  5. The Problem Solver opens.
  6. Click the Advanced heading in the lower section of the Search and Indexing window.


  7. The window expands showing additional options.
  8. Make sure the box against “Apply repairs automatically” is checked.


  9. Then, click the Next button.
  10. In the following window, there are four possible problem solutions offered under the heading “What problems do you notice?”.


  11. Check the boxes which are relevant.
  12. Click the Next button to continue.
  13. The Problem Solver goes to work fixing the problem.
  14. Search should now work the way you want it.

Registering a portable Drive in Search’s Index

While Windows Search regularly checks all drives on your computer indexing the contents, if you add an external hard drive to your system it will not be registered.

Let’s look at how to register this additional drive.

First of all, you need to access Indexing Options. There are two ways you can do this, the first way is to use Search itself and the second way is through the Control Panel.

The two methods to access this feature:

  • Click Start >  In the Search box, type index > Select Indexing options > the Indexing Options window opens
  • Click Start > Select Control Panel > In the Search Control Panel box (top right) type Indexing options > Select Indexing options > The Indexing Options window opens

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5 Responses to Making Windows 7 Search Work Better

  1. Name October 21, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    Great news! Search works! They’ve gone back to the XP interface! yippee!

    This is good, I so hate Vista’s inability to specify find in files, and completely hate that search is pre searching everything just in case you might want it.

    It’s going to be good to have a search that DOES ABSOLUTELY nothing unless I ask it to, and finds in files, explicitly, and finds not in files, also explicitly, oh, and searches all files, not just some.

    I wonder if Windows 7 also has removed DRM while they’re at it, as well as the pointless expensive indexer.

    Oh! I dreamed it, it isn’t fixed at all, I’ve just read it again and it seems someone who only ever searches for word documents during presentations and programmes by description has designed it.

    Thank god there’s a “I’m a professional who doesn’t want an iphone” button which removes all the new stuff, and instantly goes back to the XP interface with the tiled coffee bean that you can relax your eyes on by focussing on infinity, and when you move your mouse over a network connection it just tells you your ip address, subnet mask etc, instead of having some ludicrous go at stopping you finding out where you are with a complicated gui.

    • Stephen October 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

      If you are trying for humor, your should try again – you missed the mark. On the other hand, you are serious and trying to make a point, you should also try again – you (again) missed the mark. If you were trying for stream of consciousness that would make sense only to the author, you nailed it pretty well….


      • John Campbell October 26, 2009 at 1:11 am #

        Stephen, you write the funnies from now on. I’ll keep up with te serious stuff!

  2. Yatti420 October 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    I hate indexing..

  3. Ron November 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    I thought it was funny except the end part because I dont have an iphone and don’t know what he’s talking about. I actually LOVE XP’s search and will be removing Windows 7 trial as fast as possible (which is pretty fast because I made an image of the drive before installing this gimmicky new system on it with the USELESS search function)
    I guess I’m too stupid to use the new search because I don’t get it AT ALL, the above tutorial didn’t really clear much up, and I don’t really want to make a huge effort to learn it when I have something that has served me PERFECTLY for the last 8 years (boy am I getting my money’s worth on this system)
    XP works for me! I love it and will NEVER move on. In fact, if I ever HAVE to stop using XP for reasons beyond my control, I will likely then try a MAC for the 1st time and get away from PC’s completely

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