Change Search Index Location in Windows 10

Searches Folder Icon

Windows 10 comes with the ability to index your files so the Start Menu can search them faster. Indexing runs in the background without trying to affect your PC's performance. In this article, we will see how to change the search index location in Windows 10. This can be useful if you have an SSD and want to reduce its write cycles.

As you may already know, search results in Windows are instant because they are powered by the Windows Search indexer. It is not new to Windows 10, but Windows 10 uses the same indexer-powered search like its predecessors although it uses a different algorithm and a different database. It runs as a service that indexes file names, contents and properties of file system items and stores them in a special database. There is a designated list of indexed locations in Windows, plus Libraries which are always indexed. So, instead of performing a real-time search through files on the file system, the search performs a query to the internal database, which allows showing results immediately.

If this index becomes corrupted, Search doesn't work properly. In our previous article, we reviewed how to reset the search index in case of corruption. See the article:

How to Reset Search in Windows 10

You can create a special shortcut to open Indexing Options with one click in Windows 10.

If the Search Indexing feature is disabled, search results will always be up to date, because the OS won't use the search index database. However, the search will take more time and will be slow. Even if you have an SSD drive, you might want to change the search index location instead of disabling it.

By default, the search index is stored in the folder


To change the search index location in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open the classic Control Panel app.
  2. Type "Indexing" in the search box at the top right corner.
  3. Click on "Indexing Options" in the list.  The following window will open:
  4. Click on the Advanced button.
  5. On the Index Settings tab, click on the Select new button under the Index location section. 
  6. Pick a new folder and click on the OK button. Windows 10 will create the Search\Data directory structure under the new location and store the search index there.

It is possible to change the search index location with a Registry tweak. Let's see how it can be done. You must be signed in with an administrative account to continue.

Change Search Index Location with a Registry Tweak

  1. Open the Registry Editor app.
  2. Go to the following Registry key.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search

    See how to go to a Registry key with one click.

  3. On the right, modify the string value (REG_SZ) "DataDirectory". Set its value data to the folder you want to store the search index in. Add \Search\Data\ to the path you entered.
    For example, if your new path is C:\SearchIndex, then the value data must be C:\SearchIndex\Search\Data\.
  4. Restart the Windows Search service.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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