Have you ever searched for a file or app through Windows 10’s search function and come up empty? Despite that, you’re certain that what you’re looking for is on your PC. What about the times when Search took an age to turn up the results you need? If so, then you’re not alone. The search function in Windows 10 has been running into problems for some users on the latest builds.

You can access the feature in the Start Menu, as well as in Windows Explorer. If it is not working or your files cannot be found, there is a problem. Luckily, Microsoft’s Indexer Diagnostics tool can help you troubleshoot the issue.

The Windows Search Indexer Service

This service is the Windows component that deals with search requests. When you use the search function on Windows, the Search indexer service handles the query and fetches relevant results for you.

If this component runs into problems, you can use the Microsoft Indexer Diagnostics tool to figure out what went wrong. Not many people know about this helpful utility. It is mostly used by developers to learn important information about how their applications perform.

However, you can use it as well, to resolve issues with the search function.

When to Use the Search Indexer Tool

There are times you may need to troubleshoot the search function in Windows 10. The Indexer Diagnostics tool can help with this. Here are some situations when you can find this power utility very helpful:

  • The search function cannot locate your files. If you type a file name or keyword and Search is unable to display the app, file or setting, something might be broken and in need of fixing.
  • Searching for files is taking too long. If Windows Search takes an age to display the results of the search, you might need to solve some underlying issues—or optimize your PC.
  • The search function does not work. If you can’t type into the Search field or clicking OK or pressing Enter doesn’t work, the utility might come in handy.
  • Search uses too much CPU and slows down the system. If the machine becomes sluggish anytime you use the Search function, you can use the tool to check the Search Indexer Service. You may also need to optimize your PC to solve stability issues.

How to Fix Problems in Windows 10 Search Indexer

The Indexer Diagnostics Tool is a Microsoft utility so it works very well with Windows. However, it isn’t preinstalled in the OS so you need to download it from the Microsoft Store.

After installing it, launch it and grant it administrator access. It won’t work without that permission as search indexing is a system-level operation.

The Indexer Diagnostic tool’s main window consists of nine tabs arranged on the left pane. Here is a rundown of what each tab does:

  • Service status. This displays information about the Search Indexer Service, total indexer usage, and indexer usage by time. You will also find the service status, Search Indexer version, and the files being currently indexed.
  • Search is not working. This tab contains options you can use when Windows Search isn’t working for you.
  • Is my file indexed? You can use this tab to check whether a certain file is indexed by the service.
  • What is being indexed? This tab displays information about the paths of indexed files. It also shows the paths of files that are not being indexed and allows the user to include and exclude paths from the indexing process.
  • Search roots. This tab shows where the OS begins checking for results when you run a search.
  • Content Viewer. This tab displays the files being indexed per time.
  • Query Viewer. You can use this tab to check what type of queries are being sent to the Search Indexer service.
  • Index Item Stats. You can use this tab to view stats about indexed search items for every app on the machine.
  • Feedback. The File Bug button in this tab lets you send bug reports about the indexer to Microsoft.

How to Fix the Search Indexer in Windows 10

Now that you know all about the Microsoft Indexer Diagnostics tool, you can use it to resolve issues with the OS’s search function. Here are various ways to use the tool to rebuild the Windows 10 search indexer.

Restart the Search Indexer Service

If Search isn’t working and you can’t use the function to quickly locate files, restarting the service through the Indexer Diagnostics tool can help. Here’s how:

  • Open the Indexer Diagnostics tool.
  • Select the “Search is not working” tab.
  • Click the Restart button.

Sometimes, that’s all the indexer service needed to shake off a glitch and start working again.

Reset the Search Indexer Service

If a restart doesn’t help or no results are loaded when you use the search function in Windows, you may need to reset the service through the Indexer Diagnostics tool.

  • Open the Indexer Diagnostics tool.
  • Select the “Search is not working” tab.
  • Click the Reset button.
  • Add a File’s Path to Search Indexer

If the search function works fine but simply cannot bring up a particular file, it might be because the path that leads to the file is missing from the search index. This can happen if the file is on one storage volume while the search indexer only searches for files on another volume.

To check whether this is the case, do the following:

  • Open the Indexer Diagnostics tool.
  • Select the “Is my file indexed?” tab.
  • Click the Browse button and manually navigate to the file.
  • Click the Verify button.

The Indexer Diagnostics tool will tell you whether the file is indexed in search. If the file isn’t indexed, the tool will tell you why this is happening, so you can do something about it.

If your file isn’t indexed because the search indexer isn’t checking every storage volume on a PC with multiple internal storage, you can rectify this.

To add a path to the search indexer, do the following:

  • Open the Indexer Diagnostics tool.
  • Select the “What is being indexed?” tab.
  • Check under excluded paths and add the path to the storage volume to the included paths list.

Now, you can use the Microsoft Indexer Diagnostics tool. At this point, you’re less likely to be stumped whenever the search function stops working.