Turn On or Off Enhanced Mode for Search Indexer in Windows 10

Search Indexing Icon

Windows 10 comes with the ability to index your files so the Start Menu, File Explorer, and Cortana can search them faster. Indexing runs in the background without trying to affect your PC's performance. Starting in Windows 10 build 18267, you can enable a new option for the search indexing, called 'Enhanced Mode'.

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.

To overcome this issue, Microsoft has created a new type of the Search Index. When the Enhanced Mode is enabled, it creates a persistent file database for all files and folders stored on your drive. This enables Windows to search all your folders and drives, instead of limiting search to your documents, pictures, videos, and desktop by default. Here is how to enable it.

To enable Enhanced Mode for Search Indexer in Windows 10, do the following

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Cortana -> Searching Windows.
  3. On the right, go to the section Find My Files.
  4. Turn on the option Enhanced(Recommended).

This will begin the one-time indexing process. It will take about 15 minutes for search to begin returning these additional files in results. If you have lots of files, it may take longer. Make sure you plug in before you start, indexing is a resource-intensive activity.

When the indexing is complete, you’ll be able to find all your files almost instantly when you use Windows Search. To exclude a folder from search, add it to the Excluded Folders list.

Turn Off Enhanced Mode for Search Indexer

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Cortana -> Searching Windows.
  3. On the right, select (dot) the option Classic under the section Find My Files.
  4. This will turn off the Enhanced mode for Search Indexer and restore the classic behavior.

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.

2 thoughts on “Turn On or Off Enhanced Mode for Search Indexer in Windows 10”

  1. I do not have the sub section “Searching Windows” on the settings > Cortana page.

    Win 10 Pro x64 1803 – 17134.345

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