Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Windows Search / Indexing is a valuable service when used on your own internal drives and in some cases on regularly attached external (resource / expansion) drives. The problem is that I might temporarily connect my external drive to someone else's computer or their drive to my computer. In both cases I do not want the drive indexed. I don't want to see search results for data that may be someone else's personal data, no do I want their machine indexing my data.

Windows Search default behavior should be to never index any drive until given permission to do so. Is there a way to make this happen without disabling the service entirely?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

What I've done is a quaint work around but works reasonably well for my purposes. Simply:

  1. Open your "Services" components (I go through the task manager->Services->click "Services" button);
  2. Find "Windows Search", double-click;
  3. Switch to "Recovery" tab;
  4. Enter "180" into the field for "Restart service after: __ minutes", which is 3 hours;
  5. Click "Apply";
  6. Click over to "General" tab and click "Stop";

The service will stop taking the SearchIndexer.exe app with it. It shouldn't restart for 3 hours. Anytime in the future you only need to terminate the application through the task manager and you gain 3 hours of no indexing services to work from your externals without losing the functionality altogether.

Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer

I’m not sure about changing the default behavior (Windows has a tenancy to not let users do that, especially in Windows 7), but you can specifically set the external drive to not be indexed in the Properties dialog of the drive:

enter image description here

I’m not sure how you can control other people’s system though, and I doubt there is a way to mark your drive as un-indexable in any way that would ensure that someone else’s system would have to honor.

share|improve this answer

Unfortunately, this cant be done. If your drive is readable by another machine, then it can be indexed. One suggestion would be to make 2 volumes on the external hard drive, where one volume is encrypted and cant be read by another machine.

share|improve this answer
    
But if they are attaching it, presumably they want to access files from it on the other machine, so they’d have to unlock it. I wonder how the indexer is affected on an encrypted volume; if it indexes files that have been decrypted/accessed. (Actually, now I wonder how NTFS encryption works when a drive is plugged into a different system!) –  Synetech Aug 15 '11 at 2:39
    
In terms of NTFS encryption, without the user keys, the drive cant be read on another device. I am assuming there is some data he wants private, which would be kept on the encrypted volume. So the open volume would be able to be read by any machine. –  Keltari Aug 15 '11 at 2:48
    
> In terms of NTFS encryption, without the user keys, the drive cant be read on another device. That’s what I mean; how can a portable drive be encrypted‽ I guess it can’t if it’s encrypted with NTFS’ encryption. So drive-encryption apps like TrueCrypt are better because they ask for a password instead of keys stored in the profile on the system. Your dual-partition method could work depending on the nature of the data (and depending on whether it is feasible for him to re-partition the drive and restructure the data files and folders). –  Synetech Aug 15 '11 at 2:55
    
i havent tested this, but im sure you can put two volumes on a single external drive and use cipher.exe to encrypt the contents of one volume. But yes, a 3rd party tool like truecrypt has options for the different scenarios you might come across. –  Keltari Aug 15 '11 at 3:09
    
> i havent tested this, but im sure you can put two volumes on a single external drive and use cipher.exe to encrypt the contents of one volume, yes, but it’s not accessible in another system, thus defeating the purpose of it being portable. I suppose the best use of an encrypted, portable drive is in allowing you to physically take the drive, thus adding an extra layer of security (and convenience if you live near a volcano or something). –  Synetech Aug 15 '11 at 3:24

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.