Optimize Search in Windows 7

The search functionality in Windows 7 is by default set to ease searches for documents based on their names and content, however, if you are the kind of user who rarely searches for and inside documents may find Windows 7 search quite annoying. The good news is that there is a way how to configure the search functionality according to your specific needs.

The Indexing Options in Control Panel (Control Panel\All Control Panel Items) allow you to improve and modify Windows searches. By default, all of the most common files on your computer are indexed. Indexed locations include all folders included in libraries (anything you see in the Documents library, for example), e‑mail, and offline files. Files that aren’t indexed include program files and system files—files that most people rarely need to search.

From the Indexing options window, click the Modify button so that you can choose the drives to be indexed while you can uncheck locations that you don’t need to be indexed such as Offline Files or Internet Explorer History as shown below:

From the Indexing Options window, click the Advanced button so that for each file type (under File Types tab) you can either index the file properties only or index file properties plus contents. This becomes handy when your searches are normally non-content types. From this page you can also add new extensions to the list of file types.

From the Index Settings tab you can modify additional parameters such as deleting the existing indexing information and rebuilding a fresh copy. In addition, if you need to free up space on a hard disk, you can change the location of the index. If you change this location, the Windows Search service will automatically be restarted, and the change will not go into effect until the restart is complete.

Close the Indexing Options and click OK to rebuilding the index prompt.