How to Add or Remove Search Index Locations in Windows 11

This post shows shows students and new users steps to add or remove Search Index locations in Windows 11. By default, Windows will use the index locations to help you search faster and return results quicker.

Windows has predefined locations that it’s configured to search for content. However, users can add to include additional locations or paths to have Windows search from to provide relevant content. Besides adding additional location, users can also filter by file types, properties and content they want to include in Windows Search index.

The index uses the Windows Search service which runs in the background to index new content. The service will automatically rebuild and update for changes when new locations are added or removed.

The Windows Search service will run at reduced speed when a user is actively using the computer. Once the computer is idle, the indexing speed will go back to full so that new content are included quickly and help user with the best results.

By design, Windows Search service will not index content from any drive or partition with the A and B drive letter, even when included in the index location. Because A and B drive letters are reserved for floppy drives.

How to add folder locations to Windows Search index

As mentioned above, one can add or remove folders to Windows Search index to included additional content to search for. If you have an external (removeable) drive and you want to search for content on it, then you can include it as a index path so Windows can index content on it.

User’s searches will return results from the external drive which was included in the index path.

Below is how to add new locations to Windows Index.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Privacy & security, and select Searching Windows tile on the right pane as shown in the image below.

On the Searching Windows settings pane, under Related settings, select Advanced indexing option.

On the Indexing Options window, select Modify as highlighted below.

Then check (add) the locations you want to be indexed, and click on OK when finished.

If you are signed in as an administrator, then you could also click on the Show all locations button to see all available locations.

How to remove Windows Search index locations in Windows 11

If you included a location that isn’t useful anymore, you can reverse the steps above to remove a location from Windows Search index.

Go to the Start Menu ==> Settings ==> Privacy & security ==> Searching windows ==> Advanced indexing options ==> Modify.

Then uncheck to remove a location from Windows Search index and click OK when done.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to add or remove Windows Search index location in Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.