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Has anyone found a way to index the files stored on a Networked Attached Storage on Windows 7 so that the files can be available in Windows Search and Libraries? I am referring to the cheap and available NAS like the Western Digital My Book series that use an embedded linux server.

Similar question: http://windows7forums.com/windows-7-networking/6700-indexing-nas-drive-libraries.html

EDIT

Windows help proposes to make the files stored on the NAS available offline. This is obviously not a good solution if the NAS has more data than what the client can store.

If the folder is on a network device that is not part of your homegroup, it can be included as long as the content of the folder is indexed. If the folder is already indexed on the device where it is stored, you should be able to include it directly in the library.

If the network folder is not indexed, an easy way to index it is to make the folder available offline. This will create offline versions of the files in the folder, and add these files to the index on your computer. Once you make a folder available offline, you can include it in a library.

When you make a network folder available offline, copies of all the files in that folder will be stored on your computer's hard disk. Take this into consideration if the network folder contains a large number of files.

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5 Answers

Contrary to all of the posts that I've found on forums regarding adding network folders as libraries and then having them fail to index, it is possible to do this within Windows 7. I managed to fix mine today by using a combination of symbolic links and Windows Media Centre. Obviously this works best if you are trying to include a folder containing Music, Pictures, Videos or Movies etc. although you can also do this for your Documents folder if you like. To include a network folder in a library and have it indexed by Windows 7, follows these instructions:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and click Map Network Drive. Set the Drive letter and Folder then click Finish. I did this for my Music folder which is stored on my NAS, so I mapped M: to \\10.1.1.2\Music for example.
  2. In Windows Explorer navigate to C:\Users\Username, right-click My Music folder and select Properties from the popup-menu.
  3. Click the Location tab then click the Move... button.
  4. In the Select a Destination dialog click Computer, select the new M: drive, then click the Select Folder button, or just type M: in the textbox.
  5. Click OK. When asked if you want to move all of the files from the old location to the new location click No.
  6. Open Windows Media Centre and navigate to Tasks | Settings. Click Media Libraries.
  7. Select the Music radio button then click Next.
  8. Select the Add folders to the library radio button then click Next.
  9. Select the On this computer (includes mapped network drives) radio button then click Next.
  10. Tick the checkbox next to the M: network folder containing your Music, e.g. mine was \\10.1.1.2\Music (M:), then click Next.
  11. Select the Yes, use these locations radio button then click the Finish button.
  12. Wait for Windows Media Centre to finish indexing your folder.
  13. Close and re-open Windows Explorer and navigate to your Music library. You should see that it is now pointing to your network folder. If you try the search in the top-right you'll find that it is also indexed.

Btw, I accidentally indexed the same folder twice while doing this so make sure you don't do the same thing! If you do you'll need to go back into Windows Media Centre and select the Remove folders from library radio button.

Enjoy!

Cheers,

Richard

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It is possible to make your NAS content searchable in a Library without having to index it on the NAS device (since that is not possible in many cases).

Microsoft provides a programtic interface to add non-indexed network location to Libraries. The Win7 Library Tool implements this interface and adds some extra functionallity (As mentioned in this question).

It will not index the network location for you but it will make it possible to add a network location and search it from the library.

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My solution was to use "Index Your Files". From its website:

Search Files for Windows with Advanced Features using Index Files

  • Is Portable
  • Support Unicode
  • Search Inside Files
  • Is easy to use with a standard windows GUI
  • Compacts the indexes
  • Create indexes for Only the directories you select
  • Internal display for found files
  • Is compact and runs from a Single file

Find files on your own computer or network with great speed and simplicity

We have an art library with over 300,000 files we need to be able to search quickly. This program is free, and works perfectly for us using a 10 TB Qnap NAS that we were unable to index otherwise.

Two Thumbs up for this program. Simple interface, with no special programming skills necessary.

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As this uses its own GUI (just like some of the other answers), this doesn't cover "so that the files can be available in Windows Search and Libraries". Still then, seems to be a nice alternative, surely for future visitors who find this question by its title. Also, reading the website, it seems one can copy the program to the disk that has been indexed, and use it on any computer that uses the external disk? –  Arjan May 10 at 13:28
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Have you tried adding the NAS in the Indexing Options window?

Press start and search for 'index', the first thing that should come up is 'Indexing Options'. Open this and it will show you all the locations that Windows is indexing. To add something, press 'Modify' and then just find and tick your NAS drive.

Once you OK everything, it should start indexing (showin in the Indexing Options window), and when its done you should be able to search for anything that is stored on the NAS drive.

As for the Librarys, simply right click on a library in Windows Explorer and select properties. Then click 'Include A Folder...' and add the folder(s) that you want displayed in that library.

Hope that solved your problem.

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Doesn't help. The samba drive doesn't show up on the list of things that can be checked, even when it's mounted on a drive letter. –  James Moore May 26 '12 at 17:15
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One solution is to install Everything Search.

Everything Search Engine

Locate files and folders by name instantly.

Everything

  • Small installation file
  • Clean and simple user interface
  • Quick file indexing
  • Quick searching
  • Minimal resource usage
  • Share files with others easily
  • Real-time updating

The site also includes installable and portable versions of Everything Search

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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  AthomSfere Nov 17 '13 at 2:03
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