On windows 7 there's 'pause' and there's 'indexing speed is reduced due to user activity' but what if one wants full speed during desktop activity?

  • In XP, I believe you could do this by accessing the indexing service utility. From MS documentation: 1.Open Computer Management (Local) 2.In the console tree, double-click Services and Applications. 3.Double-click Indexing Service. To open Computer Management, click Start, and then click Control Panel. Click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
    – Harv
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 18:28
  • 1
    And then what? You only click there.
    – j riv
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 19:59
  • What is the indexing process' execution priority set to?
    – cp2141
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 13:48
  • By the way, for what is worth I noticed that it doesn't take more than 2 to 5 minutes for it to go to full speed so it's not a critical functionality to have in the first place. At least in Windows 8.
    – j riv
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 18:00

5 Answers 5


There is a setting in the group policy for the computer, so you don't have to manually edit the registry.

  • Open run dialog: Win+R
  • Type "gpedit.msc" and select OK
  • Browse to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search
  • Select "Disable indexer backoff", and set it to Enabled.

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This setting will not take effect until the service is restarted. The easiest way is to just reboot your computer, but you can do it live

  • Open run dialog: Win+R
  • Type "services.msc" and select OK
  • Scroll to "Windows Search"
  • Right click and select "Restart"

See also

  • 2
    This is really a better method than editing the registry.
    – alx9r
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 17:45
  • If the index service is running at the moment: services.msc -> Windows Search -> stop -> wait a sec... -> start again. Or restart your PC.
    – mgutt
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 14:57
  • 2
    If it is running, it will not be applied instantly. So go to servises.msc -> windows search -> restart the service
    – Ev0oD
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 9:36
  • 3
    This only works for Pro or higher versions of window. Home version does not have this option
    – smac89
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 20:54
  • 1
    I used to use this, but found it bad for game performance (Just do some coding in visual studio, start up cs:go to celebrate, and die from lag/stutter because you edited some text files). Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 21:27

Summary from this page

  • limit what folders are indexed
  • update your Windows Search to version 4.0 (But only if Windows Updater hasn't already done)
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\Gathering Manager\DisableBackoff
    set the value to 1 if you are on a non-domain joined computer
  • on domain joined computer, edit your group policy and set Disable indexer backoff to enabled Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search

    DisableBackoff=1 in other words: Don't worry about system activity - just index and get it over with already!

  • The actual key is HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\Gathering Manager\DisableBackoff. I'll edit the answer. Also, for reference as to Microsoft's recommendation (which is not to mess with this key, of course), see support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2903552. That said, if anything goes wrong, one could always restore DisableBackoff to 0.
    – Jon
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 13:47
  • This page from Microsoft says the registry key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager, then: DWORD: DisableBackOff=1 However, I am not allowed to edit this key, even as local admin!
    – kevinarpe
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 5:48
  • Remember to restart the service after. Works fine on Sever 2012 R2
    – HippoDuck
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 10:25

Above registry "hack" in the first top rated answer only seems to apply to Windows search 4 in XP, not 7.

The correct path to the registry key is:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager

Furthermore, you have to change the permissions to allow the change, then restart the search service.

These are the instructions I found which worked:

  1. Start up the registry editor. Press Windows Logo Key+R, type in regedit, and press enter. Alternatively, if you don’t have a Windows Logo Key on your keyboard, click the start menu button, type in run, press enter, then type in regedit, and press enter once more.

  2. Find the key to change. In the folder view tree to the left, browse your way through to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager. Once you’re there (the Gathering Manager folder is selected in the tree), a whole bunch of keys will appear in the right-hand window. Find the one that’s called DisableBackOffOnUser.

    • This key is what it’s all about. It basically determines whether or not the indexing process should stop when the user’s doing something. There are other similar keys that you could edit to force the indexer to keep indexing even if you were playing Bioshock while ripping a DVD and little flames were coming from your processor, but that’s not really necessary, so we’ll just focus on this one key. Unfortunately, Vista won’t let you change the key’s value (if you try, it’ll let you down with: Error writing the value’s new contents.), even though we've been elevated to have administrator privileges. So, to get permission to change the key's value, you need to do the following.

  3. Click on the key, so that it’s selected. Go to the Edit menu and select Permissions. In the pop-up window, click the Advanced button. In the new pop-up window, select the Owner tab, then in the list below Change owner to:, select Administrators, then click the OK button on both pop-up windows to return to the registry editor.

  4. Now, we can double-click the key and change its value to 1 (one). Click OK and close the registry editor.

  5. Restart your computer (or just restart the Windows Search service if you know how), and the indexer will start indexing your stuff even while you’re working. In the about twenty minutes it took me to write this, Vista has indexed 46,000 files on my computer.

  • To restart windows indexing, Windows Key + R -> services.msc -> OK -> find Windows Search -> right click -> Restart
    – smac89
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 21:10
  • 2
    This works on windows 10 as well.
    – notandy
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 21:42

Go in the registry to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager\

and set the value of "DisableBackoff" to 1

Other interesting registry keys:

  • DisableBackOffNotificationOverride
  • DisableBackOffOnCPU
  • DisableBackOffOnIO
  • DisableBackOffOnNotifications
  • DisableBackOffOnUser

"Searchindexer.exe" in task manager (you may have to show processes from all users), you can set the priority for that program in there.

Right click on Searchindexer.exe, select Priority> Above Normal or High (never select "real time")


The down side:

It could slow desktop performance or lock up the system if set to high of a priority, A restart of the system or kill the process will clear this setting.

You have to set this every time SearchIndexer loads.


Here is some software that can change the priority on a permanent basis, I wold not make a permanent change utill you have experimented with settings first, it could cause problems when booting if you choose a too high priority and set it permanently.



  • I'm not sure the indexing service does its thing by changing its own process priority..
    – Harv
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 18:25
  • Not sure what the OP means by "Full Speed" either, just posted the only thing that could apply to the question, at least to me anyway.
    – Moab
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 20:49
  • 2
    The question is clear, it does not mean priority. It means the opposite of 'it's reduced due to user activity' which is mentioned in the question. So stop blaming me.
    – j riv
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 19:56
  • It is not to me, link to where I blamed you for anything.
    – Moab
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 22:14

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