What Is the Windows Search Indexer, and Is It Okay to Disable It?
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that the “SearchIndexer.exe” process has caught your attention in Windows. SearchIndexer.exe, also known as Windows Search Indexer, is a service that makes indexing on your computer easier.
The Search Indexer is very helpful when looking for a particular document or specific text in any file. But sometimes it takes up a lot of CPU and RAM, which begs the question: do you actually need it, and is it safe to turn off?
What Is the Windows Search Indexer?
The Windows Search Indexer is a service that runs in the background. Its main job is to ensure that when you use Windows Search, the results are readily available whenever needed.
Keeping the Search Indexer running is recommended, as it makes Windows searching easier. However, this service sometimes consumes more RAM than is generally required. In such situations, you may encounter memory issues on your Windows computer.
As you can tell from its name, indexing is the primary function of the Windows Search Indexer. This means that the service is analyzing all the files, media, and other content on your storage drives and compiling their information into a single location.
When you search for a file, your PC uses this information to produce the results. It typically takes less than a second to find what you want, which is a lot faster than if Windows had to perform a fresh search every time you wanted something.
How to Manage Search Indexing in Windows
If you wish to conserve system resources, you can disable the Windows Search Indexer service or restrict the items that Windows should index. This will make indexing faster in Windows.
Here’s how to manage search indexing in Windows:
- Press Win + I to open the Windows Settings app.
- Click on Privacy & security > Searching Windows.
- Choose Classic under the Find my files menu, and click Customize search locations.
- Click Advanced Options > File Types to exclude specific file types from indexing.
- Go back to the Windows Settings app and click Add an excluded folder to exclude all locations that are not in your active work directories.
- When you’re done, you can restart your computer to ensure the changes take full effect.
If you do not limit search indexing, Windows will continue to index all file types. This will use up more of the CPU and RAM, which will gradually slow down your computer. In the end, having a computer with low specifications will result in issues such as Windows search loading extremely slowly.
Is It Safe to Stop Windows Search Indexing?
The Windows Search Indexer is only required if you search your directories and files. In other words, if you don’t use Windows search to locate specific files or media, you can definitely disable it. In addition, disabling the Windows Search Indexer will result in a noticeable performance improvement.
Unfortunately, the Microsoft Search Indexer application cannot be completely uninstalled because it is system-protected. You can, however, disable the Windows Search service, which handles indexing in Windows. Windows will no longer automatically run the Search Indexer after you disable it.
Follow the steps below to turn off the Windows Search Indexer:
- Press the Win key to launch Windows Search and then type Services.
- Select the most relevant result and locate Windows Search in the list.
- Double-click Windows Search and toggle the Startup type to Disabled.
- Click Stop under Service status to terminate the service entirely. Click OK to close the Windows Search Properties window.
- You can now restart your computer, and Windows Search’s indexing will no longer work.
If you encounter issues with search performance, you can consider re-enabling it. To do so, change the Startup type to Automatic in the properties. Besides that, you can also consider trying out some free search tools for Windows for a change.
Disable Indexing to Fix Performance Issues
The Windows Search Indexer consumes significant CPU resources in the background. So, there’s no reason to keep the search indexing function turned on if you never use it to find text in files or a specific file type.
After disabling the Search Indexer, you can still use Windows Search normally to locate an application, a specific setting, etc. After disabling it, the only difference would be the inability to search for specific files and file contents.