Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I had to disable Windows Search Service (turn it off in Windows Features) for the reason that it was constantly using the hard drive in an excessive way (maybe because I've got very large quantities of files on my PC), noticeably slowing down my computer, and the Windows.edb database file grew way too large, about 2.5 GB in size. But the side-effect of it is that now the search bar is gone from any Explorer window and I miss this useful feature.

So my question is, is there a way to stop Windows Search Service torturing my hard drive and still being able to search for files and folders directly from Explorer, perhaps using some third-party software?

share|improve this question
With indexing turned off I am still able to search for files, but it's kind of awkward. Nowdays I use a free third-party app called FileSeek which is very fast, has a decent interface, and integrates nicely into Explorer. – martineau Sep 20 '12 at 23:48
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can enable the Windows Search Service but disable Indexing on some or all of your folders. There is a control panel applet called "Indexing Options" that lets you customize this.

If you disable Indexing but keep Windows Search on, you'll be able to search from Explorer, but it will "manually" crawl through the files at the time that you conduct the search and look at the file names, properties/metadata, and contents, in order to match any criteria you specify. If you search very often, this could quite honestly cause more strain on your hard drive than simply allowing Indexing to run. But if you search infrequently, or search deep within subfolders to narrow down the results, you can use non-indexed search to great benefit.

Or you can just disable Indexing for the largest folder(s) and leave it on for the rest. Your call.

More Info from Microsoft

and More Info From a Non-Microsoft Site

share|improve this answer
Or just right click on your C drive, properties, and disable search indexing. – cutrightjm Sep 20 '12 at 21:17
Well what I actually did was that I turned Windows Search on (installed it back) in "Programs and Features" > "Turn Windows features on or off", restarted, then launched Services window with "services.msc" command, and then disabled Windows Search service (and then restarted again). Now it seems that the search indexer is no longer runnign and I'm still able to use the Explorer's search bar. – Desmond Hume Sep 20 '12 at 21:52
That works, too. I wasn't aware from your question details that you had actually removed the entire search component from the operating system. – allquixotic Sep 20 '12 at 21:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .