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Tune Vista Search Index

Vista’s search system also gets singled out for being slow, or for slowing down the rest of the system, but you don’t have to live with that. First of all, ask yourself if you really need it. If you don’t use the search service a lot, then by all means turn it off. But if you do want to use the search service, start by checking that the directories being indexed for search (or “crawled”) are the ones you actually want to index.

5index_full To change the scope of the index, type “Index” in the Start menu search bar and select Indexing Options. Take note of the list of folders in Included Locations; if there’s anything being indexed there that you want to change, click Modify — Show All Locations to bring up a selectable directory tree.

On my system, I have the following folders indexed: my Users directory, my music directory (mostly so I can search music metadata without having Windows Media Player running), my photos folder. That covers everything of importance that I need to search, and so the amount of work on the machine’s part to keep the index up to date is minimal.

Some general advice for how to set up indexing:

  • Don’t select an entire drive when you can simply select relevant folders. Unless you’re devoting a whole drive to material which is specifically being crawled for indexing, index specific directories. This narrows the scope of the changes that can trigger a crawl.
  • Do not index program directories. There generally isn’t data in there worth indexing in the first place.
  • Be mindful of third-party programs that might repeatedly write data into a crawled directory without you knowing about it, and in turn repeatedly trigger indexing crawls.

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