This article describes 3 ways how to disable indexing in Vista: Indexing options in the Control Panel, folder properties and disable Windows Search service.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

Update: I have written a new article about turning off indexing in Windows 7 and Vista, which I recommend to read first. If you installed Vista SP1, there are other ways to disable indexing.

Vista comes with a new indexing service which improves desktop search. It not only makes search faster, but also adds some nice features. The one I like most is that it allows you to search very fast for mails in Outlook. There are, however, cases where you might want to disable Vista's search indexing.

Good desktop search tools index your hard disk only whenever the PC is idle. This seems to be different with Vista. I often saw the corresponding processes (SearchProtocolHost, SearchFilterHost, SearchIndexer) active even though my computer was quite busy with other tasks. This can decrease the overall performance tremendously.

Another reason why you might want to disable Vista search indexing is, if you are using another desktop search solution. Or perhaps you only rarely search for files on your PC. If it is not the reduced performance, then it could be the constant activity of your hard disk, whenever indexing starts, that might get on your nerves. And if you install Vista in a virtual environment, for example, VMware Workstation or Virtual PC, I recommend disabling it anyway since it will slow down your VM significantly.

I know of three ways to turn off Vista's search indexing:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel, choose "Uninstall a Program" under "Programs" and then click on "Turn Windows features on or off". There you can disable the Indexing Service Navigate to Control Panel/System and Maintenance/Indexing Options. There you can remove all locations or only those you use rarely.
  2. It is also possible to disable indexing for a certain drive or enable it only for selected folders. You can do this by changing the Properties of a drive or folder (right click on drive letter in Windows Explorer).Windows Search service
  3. The fasted way is to simply disable the Windows Search service. Run Services (just type "Services" at the Start Search bar), right click on the Windows Search service and select "Properties". Then choose "Disabled" for the start type. Afterwards, you have to stop this service by right clicking on it and selecting "Stop".

The first option is the one you will quite often find on the Web. But I found out that Windows Search remains active after disabling it this way. The second option works, however, it takes quite long time until all files in all subfolders have been excluded from indexing. Thus, the third option is the best one. You don't have to reboot, as with the first option, and if your want to enable it again later, it will cost you just a couple of mouse clicks.

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  1. Paul Tubbs 11 years ago

    Thanks for the great tip. Once you stop (disable) the Windows Search Service, is there any way to delete the index files it already created before you disabled it, in order to free up space on your drive? Or is this pushing it? Thanks.


  2. Michael Pietroforte 11 years ago

    Good question. I would like to know the answer, too. If Vista is smart enough, it will delete the index files when you uninstall the Indexing Service. I googled a little about this, but didn’t find anything interesting. Please, let us know if you find it out.


  3. Bryan 11 years ago

    Yeah! This served me well. So was the index files deleted?

    But with this disable ... can we still search for files?


  4. carl 11 years ago

    this article is totally WRONG, because Windows Search doesn't affect the system performances.


  5. carl 11 years ago

    and also this article is totally WRONG, because the Indexing Service listed in "turn windows features on/off" is DISABLED by default because that's NOT Windows Search


  6. Bryan 11 years ago

    Erm, but there are three processes running that takes up 15K. Besides it is really not necessary.


  7. mike 11 years ago

    this article is wrong, because "Indexing Service" is disabled by default in "Turn Windows features on or off", because it's the old windows xp service if you want


  8. Michael Pietroforte 11 years ago

    Carl/mike, you’re right; the indexing service under “Windows features? is not for Windows Search. It is just an optional feature for backward compatibility. I corrected the article. Thanks for the hint!

    Carl, I don’t agree with your second statement, though. Windows Search can slow down your system, especially when Vista builds the index for the first time. Of course, it depends on the amount of data that Vista has to include in the index.

    Paul, Bryan, it seems the index files are stored under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search. This is just a guess. The ProgramData folder is hidden. To make it visible, press “Alt? in Windows Explorer. Then navigate to Tools, Folder Options, Views and select “Show hidden files and folders?.

    Bryan, it is possible to search for files if you disable the Windows Search service. It will be slower if you search for files without index.


  9. mike 11 years ago

    the indexing works in low I/O priority and so it doesn't affect the system performances! And by default, only a small amount of folders are indexed: start menu, documents, user profile and emails.
    In a few seconds or minutes the indexing is finished!


  10. Bryan 11 years ago

    Alright thank you so much 🙂


  11. Michael Pietroforte 11 years ago

    mike, it depends on how many files you have in your documents folders. But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t recommend disabling indexing in general. There are cases, however, where you might want to turn it off. For example, I often test Vista in a virtual environment. If you are running several virtual Vista machines on one physical machine, it does certainly affect performance.


  12. Paul Tubbs 11 years ago

    I am the original poster. carl and mike, I don't know what you are talking about. My hard drive was spinning continually and slowing down performance for the first 2 weeks after I got my new computer (2GB RAM, fastest currently available Duocore mobile processor, 7200RPM HDD) running on Vista. After I disabled Windows Search utilizing Michael's suggestions, this stopped and performance improved.

    Maybe you're commenting on the generally dismal performance of Vista. This is no better than XP on my former slower machine, not to mention the fact that Vista is not yet fully compatible with many programs, peripherals, is overly intrusive actually making you a sub-administrator where Microsoft is the de facto administrator of your computer, etc.

    I guess you might be saying "this article is totally WRONG, because Windows Search doesn’t affect the system performances" compared with the normal dismal performance of Vista with or without Windows Search enabled.

    Here's one commentator's view of Vista as of this date in time, which I am beginning to agree with after weeks of hard knocks with Vista:


    It looks like you made the fatal mistake of not reading any PC magazine articles or searching the Internet for information on Windows Vista before opting for it? We ask because it is virtually impossible to not run into the seemingly endless barrage of error reports. On the plus side, there is improved security [is this real enhanced security or only more intrusiveness of Microsoft??] and smarter networking but it seems like barely half of existing software/hardware is Vista ready and the operating system runs notably slower than Windows XP. Don't get us wrong, Windows Vista is going to be a fantastic operating system in 6 months to a year when the new Vista exclusive hybrid hard drives are released, specialized motherboards and specialized cache but none of that technology currently exists. Adobe recently announced that their software product line will not be Vista compliant for another year. The rule of thumb is ALWAYS wait 6 months to a year or optionally wait for the first of his release patch when upgrading to a newer operating system.


    Probably true enough. We have the battle scars to prove it.


  13. Melvin Ganik 11 years ago

    Thanks for this excellent post! WOW! A big difference in performance, no more background running of the search engine, and THANKFULLY more security. As I mount encrypted drives routinely, I was surprised ... no shocked ... to see the file names of private information being displayed in the "Searches\Recent Documents" location. I did both steps 2 and 3, and I'm happy to report that "Searches\Recent Documents" folder is now empty. So hopefully this answers the question from Paul Tubbs and Michael.

    Before I found this post, I was in the process of manually deleting these "shortcuts" in the Searches folders, and that also seems possible, but I would test this more thoroughly before blindly deleting the contents of these folders. My fear is that some files in these folders do not appear to be shortcuts ... hence would manually deleting these entries delete an actual file that you want to keep? Hopefully there is no danger in deleting these files, but I can't tell you since I'm already Vista Index free!


  14. RBL 11 years ago

    I don't like Windows Search because it violates the law of the least astonishment. It rarely finds the files I'm looking for, when Google Desktop does. It tells me a folder isn't indexed when, in fact, all of Drive C: is indexed. It also has a zillion config options when you drill down. All I want is ALL files indexed, and the search engine to find them when I search. WinSearch doesn't do this. It's "too advanced." It's a mess.

    Interestingly, disabling Windows Search using MSCONFIG does not work. It will show up as disabled in MSCONFIG, yet still launch and run. As the article correctly states, you have to go into SERVICES and disable it.

    As far as the index goes, here's how to zap it. Start the WinSearch service. Then hit Control Panel | Indexing Options | Advanced, and tell WinSearch to reinitialize the index (you can also see and change where it's stored here). That zaps it. Then, immediately disable the WinSearch service.


  15. DavidC 11 years ago

    Excellent information, thank you. Always surprised by how personally some folks get involved with these things, you would think suggesting turning off search is tantamount to unplugging life support for a loved one...

    There is no doubt that the built-in search function was seriously degrading my system's performance. Granted, I don't have a bleeding edge processor, but with 2gb ram, a decent graphics card and a 7200 rpm hard drive I expected that it would at least be similar in response to XP. Not even close, I had to start disabling some processes and features or I simply could not work efficiently. I watched which processes where absorbing cpu time, and I was really surprised to see the search index stealing cpu from other processes that I thought were more important (obviously Vista saw it differently).

    Right now there are just other search indexes that work better and have better features. I don't need two, so the built in one had to go. Thanks again for the informative post.


  16. andy 11 years ago

    OMG, disable it



  17. andy 11 years ago

    in the "indexing options" control panel, it now says

    "Indexing is not running."

    i feel like the dude at the end of the andromeda strain.


  18. tnr 10 years ago

    Yeah, but what about those nags.... whenever I do use the search function now, I get an info bar say "searches may be slow, indexing is not running"

    I know it's not, I want to sit there and search through every directory, EVERY time. Searching google doesn't help.. everything relating to information bars, is about INTERNET explorer instances of the bar.. nothing about windows explorer.


  19. [...] people who are only too happy to tell you how to turn Vista desktop search off. In particular, the folks at list three different ways, including turning it off in the drive properties which is exactly the same way you turn off the [...]


  20. [...] the click of the mouse. There are currently a few methods in which this can be accomplished (see 4Sysops for the details), but most less tech savvy end users will probably not find these instructions easy [...]


  21. [...] and one that would certainly be cause for concern if it weren’t so … questionable. Microsoft’s desktop-search software can be disabled–in a number of ways. In fact, Google could probably turn it off as part of the Google Desktop [...]


  22. [...] at the University of Munich, posted instructions as far back as February that detail how to scale back or turn off Vista’s indexer . “There are cases where you might want to disable Vista’s search indexing,” such [...]


  23. Joe Smetona 10 years ago

    Turn it off (if you can) and just use Agent Ransack. (free) It's fantastic, simple and it can be stopped and un-installed if needed. I can't believe some of these posts.


  24. Dane Pestano 10 years ago

    Hi all

    It is possible to delay the start-up of the indexer by delving into the Registry at:
    HKLM/software/microsoft/windows search/gather/windows/systemindex

    Here you can change StartupIndexingDelayInterval which appears to change the time at which the indexer starts after windows has loaded. The default of 60 appears to be seconds so I set mine at 1200 which does delay it for about 20 mins.

    The other setting is StartupIndexingDelayThreshold but not sure yet how this affects it. The default here is 300.

    The other thing to do is change the priority of the indexer via task manager. It is usually set to normal. Changing it to low helps.

    You can also change it's affinity and choose how many cores/CPU's to assign to it, again thats in Task Manager. Restricting it to perhaps only one core or two might help. I run a quad so will experiment and see. At least the others corers are then freed up to process what you are working on.



  25. Nadeem 10 years ago

    I wanted to turn off the lousy windows indexer & this article was a saver. BTW, if anyone out there is like me, & is only interested in having a speedy file search, then i would highly recommend you download the free "Locate32", it is just a wonderful utility. For non index based file searches, use the free "Agent Ransack". Hope this helps. Thanks.


  26. 14 10 years ago

    Why you have to search often ?
    Manage your files in Harddrive in directories.

    In case you want to search it takes not too long


  27. JE 10 years ago

    This helped me tremendously - thanks for the tips. My system was slowing to a crawl with windows search running and now it's a marked difference with it disabled. I've switched to google desktop search as well 🙂


  28. Lars Rasmussen 10 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestion to disable search via services.msc - the decrease in hard drive thrashing was audible as soon as I stopped the service. My drive is much quieter now. I prefer to drink the Google Desktop Search Kool-Aid.


  29. moese 10 years ago

    I Rarely search for files... what ever happened to filing into organized directorys?


  30. Lars Rasmussen 10 years ago

    Who's talking about files? I'm mostly referring to Outlook emails from last year or several months ago at work. I have little need for Google Desktop at home where I thankfully run XP - not Vista.Since files were mentioned though, I'll bite. Try a substring search using Vista in some heavily populated directories on a local drive or a network share - not very fast unless the files are already indexed. There is definite a need to index files, but Vista's search is still lacking.What happened to WinFS? Wasn't Vista supposed to eliminate this problem at launch?


  31. Dirk Bailey 10 years ago

    I'm using Windows Desktop Search (retrofit) for XP and have experienced very slow performance while indexing is going on - well after the installation and initial indexing. IOW, every day after a reboot I have to wait 10 minutes or longer for the indexing to complete - otherwise I experience tremendous thrashing delay in opening applications like Outlook, Word, you-name-it. Also the indexed total stays around 20,200 items although the new items to index number fluctuates and actually grows as it progresses - until finally, for this day, it is finished and I can actually get some work done. I like the results - I just do not like the process of getting there. Un-intrusive? BS.


  32. dogsofwar 10 years ago

    I think you are all dogging vista like the typical windows snobs always do, and oh how the snobs loves to knock the new, I shut down the indexing, turned off indexing for all drives and shut down every service not required by me and do you know what happened to me...nothing, except the system is faster, more stable and does what I want it to do, I think vista is the mutts nutz and kicks the crap out of xp all day long, just plug in a piece of hard ware and bang vista finds it and installs the right driver, I have had no problems with hardware and as for software, the likes of adobe have known about vista for years so if they are to cheap to keep up with the fast changes in computing perhaps you should look at other far better products that are compliant with vista. The advice here is very good and totally works, of course the ones that say it does not work are of course experts in their field of knowing very little about anything...


  33. FrustratedVistaUser 10 years ago

    "just plug in a piece of hardware and bang..."

    I did this and had to buy a new printer (HP will not support my printer on Vista) new router, can't get wireless working. Won't let me install software...Can not conutinue because Run as administer... or something like that. I keep getting pop ups asking for permission to open a procees I jsut clicked on! I have been frustrated since the day I bought this computer. I a thinking of runnung out to buy XP and start over.

    As far as indexing and searching, I use Google desktop on my computer all the time and loce beeing abe to find a file in a pinch by typing a few words that I remember as unigue. I am not sure yet about windows search but based on all my troubles with Vist I may never find out. Give me back my XP!


  34. flogee 10 years ago

    Wow, thanks! before i found this article, i thought my new computer (just bought 10/2007)has serious hardware problems, or came with a virus out of the box. but then it was just some stupid vista "functionality". disabling this service increased performance alot! windows now acts much snappier than before.


  35. Dave M 10 years ago

    My old XP/Pro computer crashed (6 years old and accidentally overheated in the summer when a fan went out!), so I panicked, and bought a new computer with Vista Home Premium. What a nightmare!!!

    Anyway, as to the automatic building of indexes by Vista, what ticked me off most of all was that it was building indexes on my 2 large backup drives - drives I almost NEVER search. And I couldn't unplug them and move them or redo the cable routing without rebooting because "Safely Remove Hardware" said that there was a program using those drives, and I must end my program before disconnecting the hardware... Baloney. It was that infernal Vista index builder - not one of my programs or open Explorer windows...

    Taking the least extreme path, I set both drives to "Don't do indexed searches" via My Computer, drive properties. It took about 30-60 minutes for Vista to change all those properties bits on the drives - and it didn't even work! One of them continued to build indexes (yes, I'm sure)!

    So I went to control Panel, Indexing Options, and tried to turn off indexing at the drive level using that method, but the drive that was still indexing was permanently marked as indexable and grayed out!! WHAT IS GOING ON???

    Finally, I went to Services, Windows Search, and disabled the annoying service. IMMEDIATELY, the noise and blinking lights from the indexing backup drive finally ceased after running for about 3 days. Also, my computer's internal hard drive activity light finally stop blinking at the same time.

    I had looked briefly in Services, but was looking for the wrong name. And besides, the Vista doc from HELP says that indexing cannot be turned off, so I didn't look very hard. The doc was wrong.

    I might have let the service run if it were only indexing a couple of small drives, but the problems I encountered gave me little choice but to terminate the service completely.

    Thank you, Michael, for this information! Much appreciated.

    Dave M

    PS: Those who say that that index building uses small or negligible resources - on a fairly large system - don't know what they're talking about, since they're ignoring disk drive life, annoyance (consuming my patience), arm stealing (disk access arm) with performance penalties when running other programs, heat generation, restriction of unplugging and moving without rebooting (operational constraints), and probably several other things I'm not thinking of. The CPU time is the only resource that is consumed in a small quantity.


  36. Nicole Simon 10 years ago

    Thanks. The trick is to start services.msc from the command line (the given directions did not work in a German vista).

    I see a reason for having a good search on the desktop, but years of experience brought me to know where files are by order or rely on search based on the filename. And quite frankly, vista sucks at this - it is actually one thing why I consider going back to XP as this worked fine over there.

    I neither need mail nor for my code - I use superior Gmail search as well as the regexp based search for code of my editor.

    I would not mind turning it off if not for the ANNOYING hard disk sounds which drive me crazy.

    Killed the service, happy camper. 🙂


  37. [...] 4sysop - for windows administrators [...]


  38. Stalker 10 years ago

    I also killed windows search service with lots of trash services. First of all, Aero sucks, vista consumes lots of system resources with or without aero and desktop search. I was very happy with NT4, win200 and maybe with XP searches but Vista has no good 🙁 In NT, searching was so simple and elegant, in 2000 you had to know what you are seeking for, in XP, microsoft decided to make it non-handy service and now windows search is a real headache :(( I have disabled 20+ service, stopped sidebar, even physically deleted winmail, some gista is adgets and etc; still Vista consumes a huge disk space and system power. Only Winsxs folder takes 4Gb of space, just for backwards compability. system32 takes 3.5Gb, hyberfil (hybernation system file) is 2 Gb (its size changes according to RAM), page file concumes 5GB... Lets sum all of them; 4+3.5+2+5=14.5Gb is allocated just for trash by Vista; Ohh by the way, and also there is an EISA partition about 1.5 Gb, so 16Gb space is consumed just for nothing 🙁 A clean Vista installation needs 20Gb of free space.
    Please do not buy Vista until microsoft makes it better, or you will regret upgrading from XP. Actually changing XP with Vista is a total downgrading.


  39. Cory Clark 10 years ago

    Thanks for the tip. Vista's search brought me painfully close to returning a new ThinkPad for one with XP, which would have been fine hadn't I spent the better part of a week getting applications installed and setup to my liking. Not to mention the time wasted that first week waiting 10 minutes for the morning logon and AV scan to finish; waiting on new applications taking twice as long as normal to install (I suspect because Vista was trying to index files as soon as they were installed); waiting on normal processes to finish execution day-in and day-out. All simply because I listened to the conventional advice to "just wait for Vista to complete its indexing…". After one week, it was still indexing a file system that didn’t even have my 50 to 60 Gigs worth of files moved over to it yet!
    I could not believe the increase in performance after disabling the Indexing service. Each one of my installed apps now run as quickly as they do on my XP desktop (they should run much faster considering the Laptop is a Duo core with 2GB RAM and the desktop is a 2.4 G Celeron with 1G of RAM. I was able to turn other non-essential Vista services back on and have what I now consider to be a productive machine instead of a boat anchor.
    I run Outlook with a number of large .pst files that Vista indexing would churn on so hard that Outlook was unusable with a 15 to 30 character type-ahead delay.
    If you happen to be running the Vista Business version (standard on the ThinkPads) you might want to kill the SQL-server if you don’t need it, it eats almost 500 MB of RAM at idle.
    I also found that Yahoo Messenger was causing a three minute shutdown delay I never had under XP, so its gone too. Now if I can only figure out why Vista keeps blue-screening when I try to hibernate…


  40. Steve Meek 10 years ago

    I made a ton of changes fixes and other things to get Outlook 2007 to work on on new Vista laptop.

    I still periodically had lock ups where a review of Outlook.exe in taskmgr showed that process at 40-50% CPU util. Outlook would not respond even after leaving it to run for a day. Stopping the Indexing Services seems to help prevent the process from locking. If I checked CONTROL PANEL and INDEXING SERVICE, the only thing getting indexed was outlook folders and archives, even after removing them prior.

    We'll see how well this works.


  41. somebody 10 years ago

    Yes. Yes. Yes!

    I tried method #3. Finally! My hard drive finally stopped chattering as if it was strolling naked in the Siberian winter!

    Thought it was some, eh, in-built permanent 'feature'.

    Now to see if Photoshop CS3 is still lagging.


  42. [...] built-in search indexing feature. Trust me, I’ve tested it myself. I strongly suggest you disable Vista’s built-in search indexing feature and use Google Desktop instead.   Tags: Automation, Google-Desktop, productivity, search, [...]


  43. [...] Search is recommended; to avoid any data loss/file-system corruption due to higher disk activity! explains how to do [...]


  44. kk 10 years ago

    I turned off Windows Search in the Services panel and my PassMark rating went from 180 to 510. Windows Search was killing my computer.


  45. Brian 10 years ago

    My 64bit vista business was crawling along, after monitoring Hard drive activity, it was Miscrosoft search running.

    I have google desktop which is a far better search rescource for my business.

    Used the 3rd instruction and turn off the search, HD acivity went back down, and the pc is running fine again.


  46. [...] 4sysop - for windows administrators [...]


  47. Micke 10 years ago

    Hi there,

    I have disabled the "Windows Search" service and the indexing now says it is off.

    But the disk reads/writes a lot when in idle mode. I don't know why.

    I just rebooted my computer and the didk went working and working for 5 minutes after logging in but without me doing anything with the comuter. So I checked the Resource Monitor and found the following for the disk usage. I did not touch or do anything with thoose files that are listed there before or when the screen shot was taken:

    What the hell is this?


  48. Micke 10 years ago

    Hi again,

    I just found out that automatic defragmentation is scheduled every wednesday night at 1 am. Of course this makes the disks go crazy. But last night was not wednesday night..... So?


  49. kumkie 10 years ago

    Something is eating up a 1Gb of my hard drive a day I suspect it's this indexing nonsense. Did anyone figure out how to recover the space back after you switch it off?


  50. Stalker 10 years ago

    It is EISA partition 🙁 there is no way delete this partition from windows :(( Somewhat Vista decides that it needs some kind of secret space to survive 😛 You can get rid of that partition via high level partition managers or you can simply upgrade to XP again 😉


  51. kumkie 10 years ago

    I SOLVED IT!!! Go to disk clean up, choose "advanced options", and "clean system restore and shadow backups" and by magic my missing hard drive space is back! I'll have to figure how to turn this shadow backup of now 🙂


  52. tripngroove 10 years ago

    search indexer was seriously killing me. thanks for the tutorial on how to turn the damn thing off.

    when playing wow, search indexer would drop my framerate from 30+ to around 10... ridiculous!


  53. [...] probably. Disable article - I didn't read it lol. __________________ Lost, but never forgotten -MR,Sr. Use [...]


  54. Vasu 10 years ago

    Searching on mapped drives taking more time and hanging the vista system?
    any resolution for this?


  55. mike 9 years ago

    thank god. I;ve had my computer running with vista for 2 months, always on, and indexing has never finished. New files seem to get indexed last. NO option in outlook to search for non-indexed files(what a stupid mistake!)

    And no more hard drive continually ticking noise.

    So waht if when I do a big search it takes slightly longer - at least I am searching on ALL of my files instead of a subset


  56. Codacious 9 years ago

    You are correct kumkie... I found it also in the disc cleanup. I have some large externals, but Hogging 86 Gb's for indexing was not nice !


  57. GowriSankar 9 years ago

    This tip was a life-saver for me. I had to execute sql queries on a table that has 2+ million rows and this indexer was slowing down things heavily. I killed off the indexer by stopping the service and things are lot better.

    I am a development team member, so to a very large extent i *know* where i drop my files. Of course, i also have google desktop installed :).


  58. kiko 9 years ago

    or you could ALL try Locate 32....much faster , free, and finds everything ( provided you keep the database updated)


  59. kiko 9 years ago

    @50 - it's system restore points


  60. Nick 9 years ago

    Wow thanks, i already did steps 1 and 2, but 3 seemed to help, I have a 500 gb hdd thats almost full and when i would leave the pc on and go to sleep the hdd would be quiet and barely thinking then maybe after 10-20 of being idle the hdd goes crazy and starts processing stuff non-stop keeping me awake and if i move the mouse, it will shut up almost instantly. Personally i think leaving indexing on is the quickest way to shorten the life of your hdd because it hardly lets it power down when not in use.


  61. Justin 9 years ago

    Thanks for the post, still useful 18 months later! Those who say it has no impact on performance are missing something, I had to recover a Vista install on a Dell PC, its dual core & all that but borderline on RAM, so what with Antivirus scanning, the system hitting the swap file and indexing running it was on its knees for days. Once index was complete (supposedly) all went quiet, next boot its disk crashing again. Carried out this article and all is well. If you're borderline with RAM then disable the index. Hopefully the owner of this PC will buy some extra RAM.


  62. VG for Sybase ASE 9 years ago

    Who says it doesn't works. It works n i can c the result. M doing this and the result was in front of me.


  63. Covenant 9 years ago

    Hello, just wanna say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the tips.
    Having a 1 TB hard drive, I certainly appreciate the hdd being calm now and not always being busy like crazy.

    Think about the shorter lifetime of the hdd when busy constantly. As long as Solid State hasn't become the new standard, our hdds are spinning non-stop when in operation.

    Many of us have important data.
    Switching this stupid indexing off extends the lifetime AND makes our PCs quiter too ... YAY !!

    PS: Also thanks to "Kumkie" for his tip.
    You are all awesome (except those who say that this article was wrong.
    Google is awesome too, because it lead me to this page.


  64. MikeS 9 years ago


    I recently installed a simple Vista File server for the family. Nothing major. It had a few TB of HDD space, networked to all the pc's/devices in the house.

    I've got hundreds of Gigs of photo's, music, family movies, and so on on this computer. Backed up over several drives.

    This indexing service was running constantly for a week.

    That's a WEEK of solid I/O hits. The Drives never stopped chattering. For one, it was slowing down my file transfers. Being the server for 6 heavy users, it was constantly reindexing folder after folder after folder.

    After turning it off, I was able to see the I/O's drop from 5-15mb/s to almost 0 when nothing was running.



  65. A 9 years ago

    Thanks much for the third tip.


  66. Larry 9 years ago

    Thanks a lot for the post!!!!!!!


  67. jmmp 9 years ago

    Yup, thanks - What a relief!!


  68. Colby 9 years ago

    All of you that don't think that indexing isn't slowing down your systems, then you don't have much on your PC. I have 12gig, IC7 chip, and about 8TB's of drive space. At least 7tb's are filled up of that drive, they are in a raid and I'm using a high end RAID card. Indexing did nothing but slow my pc down. Creating new files took almost a min, rename a folder, another min of time wasted. Turned off all indexing, search and everything else, now when I recreate a file it takes 1sec if that.

    Basically when it boils down t it, Vista is a pile of shi*. I get much better speeds from windows 7 and XP.


  69. Covenant 9 years ago

    Hi, for those who want to calm down their HDD as much as possible, please check my little collection of Windows tweaks (pdf file):

    Just be aware that you know what each modification of your OS does, BEFORE you apply it.
    If you're not sure, then please rather don't use it.
    Some changes do have significant impact of how an OS behaves.
    In case of doubts, just do a little research (google) and decide for yourself.


  70. danep 9 years ago

    Colby you are a tw**. With that much data the indexer is gonna take time to index it. Some people just don't deserve a decent raid PC. The search indexer is the best thing about Vista if everyone would just give it time to do it's thang.But as usual all we get are impatient airheads. The first incarnation of the indexer which was slow took about a week to index my 500GB of data whilst I used the PC. The newer version though just took a couple of hours. For 7TB you are looking at a few days if you also intend using the PC. Best leave it on overnight for the indexer to do it's job. Also remember to turn off the other Vista stuff such as the daily Virus scans etc.


  71. stalker 9 years ago

    Danep, Why do you so eagerly need to index your data? new Hdds are already enough fast to perfom searches over tham and there are much more quality third party search programs for fast searches. Why you are sticking to mic.* indexing service which is definately not functional?

    and you have to know that indexing service costs much more space because of Gigs/TBs of indexed files.

    result; according to me indexing is one of the worst idea that mic.* came with (the worst idea of mic.* is definately Vista!...


  72. danep 9 years ago

    Hi Stalker

    1. Not functional?? I type, its there instantly. How is that not functional? It's the best and most important part of Vista, which is so much better security wise than XP.

    2. Cost so much space?? Are you nuts. The size and cost of HD's today should stop anyone making that ludicrous comment immediately. I have a Raid5 TB system so space is is not a problem. This is why I commented on Colby's nonsense. He just needed to give it time to index what is a huge amount of data. Yes there are other search indexers out there but I like the way this one is tied into everything in Vista including the file system and email in Outlook etc.

    I would agree that if you have a low spec system and lots of data then the indexer can be slow. But if you only have a half decent system then there's absolutely no reason to complain. Just impatience. But granted, Vista is a beast and we can but look forward to the more svelte like Win7.

    Like MS though, I blame many manufacturers who load all kinds of shit onto their PC's and Laptops that reduce it to a crawl when you first turn them on. Hopefully they will have learnt their lesson with Win7.


  73. stalker 9 years ago

    That is what my point was. Unfortunately Vista is a beast, like you have pointed out, and consumes lots of system resource. Vistas Glassy look is bullshit, it consumes 700mb ram and 500 mhz cpu power in idle mode and nobody really needs that kind of desktop at that cost.

    Indexing is coded with same mentality with the aero interface; consume lots of computing power, cache everything, make people to upgrade their PC!...

    Me (it came with my Toshiba laptop and I am unable to get rid of it 🙁 and I am very angry to Toshiba) and lots of Vista users prefer to shutdown indexing service to gain extra Hdd speed and CPU power among long battery life (or low energy consuming).

    I am hearing lots of satifaction whispers about Windows 7. I am hopeful about it.


  74. Covenant 9 years ago

    Windows 7 is everything you ever wanted ... and more.
    Windows 7 will make your secret wishes come true.
    Windows 7 will be the very cause for world peace ...

    ... *kneed down and folds hands*

    Our Bill, who art in Microsoft,
    hallowed be thy OS.
    Thy Escrow come,
    thy build be done,
    on earth as it is in Se7en
    Give us this leak our daily fix.
    And forgive us our torrent abuse,
    as we forgive those who wont share this info.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from Vista.
    For thine is the Se7ev, the power and the performance. for ever and ever.



  75. De 9 years ago

    Thanks in advance for the tip. But I got a german vista so anyone can tell me how to do it in german vista


  76. Suzette 9 years ago

    Wow wow wow, thanks so much, and whatever they say about the Vista indexing not interfering when one is using the pc, my pc is now super better since switching it off. I cannot believe the difference. IT DOES KEEP RUNNING ALL THE TIME or perhaps because i don't play games and things, Vista thinks my resources are low enough for it to index - making even navigating in a simple spreadsheet slow...

    I'm so glad i found this article thank you so much.


  77. [...] bald-faced lie). There are many sites with instructions on how to disable both Search and Indexing, but here’s one. To be honest, I haven’t been using Agent Ransack for long, but it has served me well so far, [...]


  78. Przemek 8 years ago

    Thank you for your article - worked like a miracle. I can't hear my HDD anymore unless I start a memory-consuming apps. Great job!


  79. RePete 8 years ago

    Thank you very much...


  80. sonia 8 years ago

    simply download a tool from

    and after 2 clicks its removed. No knowledge needed


  81. John 8 years ago

    I own three computers with Windows7. On all three computers, within a month of OS install, the system starts to hang up regularly and any simple task can take up to 10 minutes to complete (by simple I mean just clicking a button in Firefox or another app or something similar). On all 3 systems I tried everything to solve the problem and it was only fixed after I disabled search indexer. It may not be designed to slow down a system, but I've seen it happen on three separate systems running completely different apps.


  82. Davem 8 years ago

    My wife has a Dell INspiron 1721 for two years. It has crashed from time to time and been incrrrrrrrredibly (emphasis on the 'r's is intentional) slow. Runs Vista. Has installed various applications ut this thing just freezes and reboots for no apparent reason. But will disable the Search Indexer and see what happens. In this thread, seems that this is a common Vista, and now Windows 7, issue. I'll have to check my daughter's laptop she got for Xmas. Runs W-7 and doesn't run as fast as I thought it would given what Microsoft learned from Vista. I'll check the Search Indexer on that also. Learned a lot here.


  83. RayJax 8 years ago

    To the people saying that SearchIndexing doesn't take up recources STFU. Sure search indexing doesn't take up much RAM!! BUT IT RAPES YOUR CPU AND HARD DRIVE. If you've ever looked at your processes while it's running you'd see it taking up quite a bit of CPU time and depending on your computer set up you'd hear your hard drive crackling in the background going nuts.

    If you don't often search your computer I would disable this. I did and it's made a lot of difference. I'm going to leave the indexing for outlook though since I do search my emails a lot.

    good article.


  84. Limorkil 8 years ago

    Turning off search indexing using the advice in this article really helped me. Every time I switched on my PC I had to wait 10 minutes before Vista would allow me to do anything. It would look like I had control (no "hourglass") but Vista basically ignored anything I tried to do until it had finished indexing. If by some rare chance an application did execute prior to indexing completion it would really crawl until Vista decided to release the resources. The whole thing was ultra-annoying and I am glad it is now DEAD.

    I really cannot understand the philosophy behind Vista. Surely the operating system is meant to be in the background, behind the scenes as it were, not in your face every minute of every day. If I click on something then I do not want to be questioned whether I really want the thing I clicked on to run. If I click on something then I expect MY system resources to be given to that application, immediately. If I switch something off I do not expect to be reminded ALL THE &*$&# TIME that I switched it off. If I want to switch it back on I will be sure to let you know Vista. Would it be too much to ask for the ability to switch a lot of these "safety" features off, WITHOUT being prompted that they are off every few minutes? Please, someone point me to a third-party application called
    "Do What I Say Vista and STFU".


  85. DEll 7 years ago

    Thank you so much, I haven't even thought of disabling the indexing of Vista's Desktop search. When I installed my search tool lookeen (you can also use it for mails)a couple of months ago, I forgot completely about the other search which of course also needs system resources. I am curious how this will change the overall performance, we'll see what the future holds.


  86. zelozelos 7 years ago

    Thanks for the article, i tried method 2 and 3, it seems that 3 is the best, but it does constantly remind you (well-every time u search) that you did this, now I just wish someone would find a way to add a "always run this program/app with out buggin me every time i double click this file to tell it to run" check box to the user account control popup! (and yeah, i do know u can disable it, but it does have some good uses)


  87. bob walker 6 years ago

    Thanks for the info boy was that puppy running it is better


  88. Robert Walker 6 years ago

    I really want to thank you for the article. My HP HD was screaming and the system would just hang. I looked up what was happening in the task manager and lo and behold what did I find...?

    search indexer using up all the system resources memory and cpu. Everything took so long to do anything and just hang.

    I work in photography and need to do editing and email and this would take forever. Just going to Firefox would take a minute to load. This is not an old system and I have adequate ram.

    I disabled the offending program and now runs like it used to when new. One of these days I may get an Apple to work with for my photography editing. keep the pc for business stuff only. I hate vista....


  89. archwaygunner 6 years ago

    I use "everything" a free and instant search because I find it the best I've ever tried


  90. DIPS 6 years ago

    You're first sentence says that I should read 'this' before I proceed, or do you mean 'that' link before the sentence. Kind of confusing, this and that.


  91. Michael Pietroforte 6 years ago

    DIPS, thanks for the hint. Read this first. I changed the text accordingly.


  92. gg109 4 years ago

    Thanks for tip #3, was a lifesaver.
    Had urgent work to do and CPU usage was running 60%+, with the laptop threatening to overhead. Searchindexer, searchprotocol host etc were taking 40%+ CPU and also constantly tripping the anti-virus, which was taking another 20%+. Following tip 3, I could stop the indexer in seconds and CPU usage *instantly* fell to 5%. Superb!
    PS: I had used method 2 earlier with no luck, win-search would run even without any location tagged for indexation.
    PPS: Running disk clean-up (My computer / drive properties) may remove old index files


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