Three Reasons for Windows Search Problems

This guest post was contributed by Tibor Schiemann, President and Managing Partner, TuneUp blog.

searchHave you ever had trouble finding that file or email that you just know is on your PC? If your search has come up empty one too many times, there is likely something wrong with this Windows Vista and Windows 7 feature. Here are three common reasons why Windows Search might be plaguing you—and three easy ways to fix these issues.

1. First, the file or email you’re looking for might not have been indexed yet. Windows Search creates an index on your hard disk to enable extremely quick search results—it’s much faster to read a list of folders than to search through an entire hard disk. Typically, the most important files, like those stored under the “Documents”, “Pictures” and “Music” libraries as well as Start Menu entries and Internet Explorer history, are added to the index. If you use Windows Live Mail or Microsoft Outlook, Windows Search will add all of your emails and contacts to the index, as well. Unfortunately, folders outside of these popular places are left out of the index.

To get faster results for your search queries, add the hard disk folders you regularly use to the Windows Search index. Open “Control Panel” and type “Indexing” into the quick search bar. Then, click on “Indexing options”. From there, click on “Modify”, check whatever drives or folders you want to add to the index, and hit “OK”. You might also want to go to “Advanced” and then “File Types”, and make sure that the previously missing file is not unchecked in this list. And the next time you step away from your PC, Windows will index your files.

2. Another likely reason for search issues is if the Windows Search’s service is turned off . This service needs to be on in order for Windows Search to index files and immediately return search results. To check on its status, go to “Control Panel” and then “System and Security”, “Administrative Tools” and “Services”, respectively.

A huge list with all of the services will pop up. Scroll all of the way down the list until you see the “Windows Search” entry. Double-click on it, make sure that “Automatic (Delayed Start)” is selected, and hit “OK”. From there, click on “Start” to fire up the service or restart your machine. Again, you‘ll have to be patient because Windows Search will have to index all of your files from scratch.

3. Lastly, if you’re still struggling with the search feature, there is probably a problem with the index itself—and you’ll have to rebuild it. But don’t worry! It’s actually much easier than it seems. Hold down the “WINDOWS” key on our keyboard, and press “R” at the same time. A “Run” box will appear, and type in “control.exe srchadmin.dll”. Go to “Advanced”, and hit the “Rebuild” button. And yet again, wait until Windows has indexed all of your files.

Are you still having issues with Windows Search? I invite you to email me at Additional tips and tricks involving this feature are also available at the TuneUp Blog about Windows (

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