Enabling Indexing of Encrypted Files

If your search for content in encrypted files is failing then you may need to enable the Index Encrypted Files option available in Windows 7. Windows uses the index to perform very fast searches on your computer. Unlike the previous versions of Windows, Windows 7 supports indexing the contents of encrypted files. This makes searching encrypted content as easy as searching unencrypted content.  By default, non-encrypted content (even non-encrypted properties of encrypted files) are always indexed. Indexing of encrypted files is possible on local file systems and an index rebuilt is required when you enable or disable this function.
Rebuilding the Index can take several hours to complete and it depends on how many files you have. Searches might be incomplete while the index is being rebuilt. To enable indexing of encrypted files follow these steps:

  1. Click Indexing Options in Control Panel (View By: Small icons)
  2. Click Advanced to open the Advanced Options properties dialog box
  3. If the disk volume where the index resides is not yet protected by Windows BitLocker, the following warning is displayed:
  4. Click Continue to enable the indexing of encrypted content on your computer
  5. If you use a smart card to access encrypted files, a balloon notification appears above the notification area, indicating to enter your personal identification number (PIN)

Microsoft recommends that before you add encrypted files to the index, you have Windows BitLocker (or a non-Microsoft encryption program) enabled on your system drive (the drive that Windows is installed on). Windows BitLocker is only included in Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate.