I was able to do this in Windows XP Search and using something like Copernicus.

I don't see any way to do this with Windows 7 (other than making it available offline which means that all that data will be duplicated on my local drive.

What I've tried : I read elsewhere in the Windows 7 Help that you need to make sure the networked drive is indexed by it's O/S. So this network drive is on our Server (XP Pro, SP3) so I've installed Windows Search 4.0 and set it to indexing that drive.

I have another XP machine which is already indexed and Windows 7 still wouldn't let me add that drive to a Library (to get it indexed) because it's not indexed. So I'm not hopeful that the above solution will work.

  • I read on the Windows 7 forums that Windows Live signin assistant can cause this problem. I have Windows Live Essentials pre-installed so I'll try uninstalling that. – Clay Nichols Feb 2 '10 at 0:28

Go to the search settings. (Open the Control Panel, click "Indexing Options")

Open "Advanced Options" and choose "Add UNC Location"

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  • Thank you for the edit kez. I'm still getting used to the SO syntax. – ta.speot.is Jan 20 '10 at 0:10
  • 13
    Hmmm... the "Add UNC Location" tab is not present in my Advanced Options windows (of Indexing Options). I have Win 7 Pro. Any ideas? – Clay Nichols Jan 20 '10 at 19:58
  • no Add UNC Location tab here either. :( – Jimmery Aug 8 '12 at 10:50
  • I believe this functionality is available by installing the Windows Desktop Search: Add-in for Files on Microsoft Networks from microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3383 but it is only compatible with 32-bit Windows. – mythofechelon Apr 30 '15 at 14:34

Posting because after all these years this is still a relevant problem (often because people want to add shares to libraries--which require indexing). Answers from sevenforums.com and social.technet.microsoft.com include:

  • The add UNC patch for indexing shares works, though initially indexing a share seems to be slow. While the patch seems to work on windows 7 32bit, there is no 64 bit solution.
  • Make available offline is not a practical solution.
  • Use a 3rd party indexer such as X1 search, archivarius, Isys Search or Copernic.
  • Adding network shares to a library via WMP seems to also index them (unverified). It requires changing the location of a symbolic link e.g. 'my documents' to a network location, then adding that location to a library within WMP, WMP will index the share.
  • I've been searching for an answer for months, post all over the internet. None of them seemed to work. Did you ever manage to get it working (perhaps the last solution in your list)? – Jack Nov 10 '14 at 8:57
  • Indexing no, adding network share to library: yes. The wmp solution isis too ugly to bother trying IMO :-) – jiggunjer Nov 14 '14 at 11:55

You need to download an add-on for Windows, but this is only for Windows 7 32-bit; it doesn't work with 64-bit.


This will enable the Add UNC Location option you seek.


This is what I just did ... in the folder you want to index click Organize/Folder and Search Options. Click "Always search file names and contents (this might take several minutes)". This effectively indexes the folder to allow fast searches. Works for my needs anyway.


Windows 7 does not like to index networked drives, but there is a way around this.

How to Add a non-indexed Network Share as a library

  1. Create a folder on your hard drive for shares. i.e. c:\share
  2. Create another folder in the above share. i.e. c:\share\docs
  3. In Windows Explorer, right click on Libraries and select New > Library. Link the Library to this folder.
  4. Delete the folder.
  5. Use the mklink in an elevated command prompt to make a symbolic link. Name the link the same as the folder you created above. i.e - mklink /d c:\share\docs \\server\docs
  6. Done.

Now you have non-indexed UNC path as a library. Note that if you want to add the network path to an existing library, you can do that as well. Just modify the 3rd step by right clicking on an existing library and choosing Properties.

  • 1
    How does this index the drive? – Marc Apr 12 '15 at 23:22
  • @Marc It doesn't, the first sentence is misleading. – jiggunjer Dec 2 '15 at 2:27
  • @Richie What breaks when the network drive is disconnected? – jpaugh Dec 5 '16 at 21:19

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