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Index File Contents on a Drive in Windows 10

Along with file system meta data, Windows can include the file contents and extra file properties. This makes the search index large and slower, but more efficient if you often search for file contents. In our previous article, we saw how to enable this behavior for certain file types. Today, we will see how to enable it for a drive in Windows 10.

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.

You can configure the Search Indexing using the drive properties to have contents and file properties indexed in Windows 10. Let's see how it can be done.

To index File Contents on a drive in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open This PC in File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the desired drive for which you want to enable file contents indexing.
  3. Select Properties in the context menu.
  4. On the General tab, enable the option Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties. Click OK.
  5. In the next dialog, select the option Apply changes to drive letter, subfolders and files. Click OK.

You are done. The OS will apply changes you made to all files and folders on the drive.

Note: Some files like hibernation file or swap file can't be process, because they are in use. Windows will show an error message about them. You can safely ignore the error.

To disable file contents indexing for a drive, open its properties and turn off the option Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties. Confirm the operation and you are done.

That's it.

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