I have Windows Vista on a machine and I noticed quite a bit of hard drive was disappearing. I ran a utility to show me where it all went. I found the following directory consumes over 2GB of space: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows.

The Microsoft Search service is now disabled, but I want it removed completely. I see nothing on Add/Remove Programs. Also, will I get blue screens if I delete this directory?


8 Answers 8


Here's what I had to do:

  • open services.msc
  • Stop the Windows Search service (I was this far already).
  • Rename C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb
  • Start the Windows Search service
  • The directory rebuilds Windows.edb (34 MB initial size in my case)
  • Open Control Panel / Indexing Options
  • Wait a long time for buttons to become enabled
  • Click Modify
  • Uncheck Users directory or whatever else you don't want indexed (I left Start Menu enabled because it's so small)
  • Click Ok
  • Stand on your head and count to three while drinking water with a straw. (not sure if this part is necessary but I wanted to try everything I could)

It now says indexing complete with only 800 or so items. Total size of the directory is now just over 48 MB. Pretty large index if you ask me, but better than 2 GB.

  • 1
    Another option is simply to move the Search Index to another disk with more available capacity: in the Indexing Options control panel item, click the Advanced button, and on the Index Settings tab, the Index Location may be changed. It appears that changing the location and clicking OK causes Windows to move the index file immediately, despite implying that the service must be restarted for the change to take effect. Feb 28, 2019 at 19:58
  • 1
    Instead of renaming/deleting it and forcing a rescan of your disk, you could try defragging it: support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/2838018/… - esentutl.exe /d %AllUsersProfile%\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb
    – mwfearnley
    Feb 25, 2020 at 17:07
  • I found that your solution indeed only worked when including the last step. First, I tried it without that step and the new index ended up being even larger than before! I don't quite understand why, but the last part seems to play a crucial role.
    – Nayunis
    Feb 8 at 18:19

Open an administrator command prompt and type

net stop "Windows Search"
del %PROGRAMDATA%\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb
net start "Windows Search"

Repeat when needed.

  • 6
    But what's the point of doing this? Again and again... That's like emptying a bucket under a hole in your roof instead of fixing that hole. Why would you do that unless you enjoy emptying a bucket? If you don't want to have a big search index and you don't use the Search feature, simple uninstall it or remove some directories from the search indexer. Feb 29, 2016 at 11:35
  • 2
    Instead of renaming/deleting it and forcing a rescan of your disk, you could try defragging it: support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/2838018/… - esentutl.exe /d %AllUsersProfile%\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb
    – mwfearnley
    Feb 25, 2020 at 17:08
  • Simple, fast and efficient ... and it can also be included in a simple script.
    – Peppo
    Jul 10, 2020 at 8:28

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Programs and Features\Turn Windows features on or off/ then unchek windows search

  • This should be the correct answer
    – pepan
    Nov 2, 2017 at 10:32

To delete and rebuilt the index :

  1. Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Indexing options
  2. Click Advanced
  3. under Troubleshooting, click rebuilt

You may want to change which folder you wish to include in the index before doing step 3. For that in step 2 instead of clicking Advanced, select Modify


On Windows 10, there is now a menu explicitly for this.

  • Open Indexing Options
  • Click Modify
  • On this new window, you can click on the items in the bottom panel and uncheck their subfolders in the top panel
  • Once you are satisfied with your new indexing options, click OK to go back to the previous window
  • Click Advanced
  • Click Rebuild in the Troobleshooting section

Doing this I managed to cut down from 1.5GB to 10MB by only keeping the Start Menu indexed (I could have kept some document folders too but I wanted to drastically optimize).

  • 1
    thank you , that was that I'm looking for
    – Sérgio
    Feb 8, 2020 at 0:29

Those that wish to keep Windows Search working, but don't want the index file taking up space on the boot drive, can change the location the index is located.

Launch Indexing Options, click Advanced, and - in the Index location panel, populate the New location, after service is restarted to a folder on another disk drive.

You'll have to restart the service (or restart your pc if you find that easier) in order for the change to take place.


If you open the search tool and then click on the "details" drop down on the right hand side (next to the "?" icon) there's a menu called "Search Options..". Open that dialog and you can modify which folders are being indexed.

By removing folders from the Indexed Locations (by clicking on "Modify") the indexer will remove the data associated with these folders thus freeing up your disk space.


I think I actually solved it, at least on my machine. EDGE that blood sucker... turn of sync options in edge browser... it has a feature called sync on all devices that uses your windows login that override everything else :-(

  • 7
    Given that this question was asked in 2009, it cannot have been caused by Microsoft Edge, which was first released in 2015. Mar 4, 2019 at 0:02
  • This makes no sense. There's just no way that whatever Edge stores as a part of their online settings would generate 100+ GB worth of files in a directory called Windows Search. Plus, of course, the fact that this question far predates the first public release of Edge.
    – natiiix
    Dec 16, 2020 at 8:43

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