The Windows 10 indexing service tracks important drives and folders for changes by creating an up to date database of filenames, filetypes and even content keywords of specific files.
This speeds up Windows 10 search dramatically as your PC does not have to scan your whole system or parts on request. The downside of this Windows 10 index is that its results might be outdated, either showing files that have been removed already or not listing existing files you might be searching for.
Mostly you might simply have to wait until those changes get reflected in the Windows 10 search index. In rare occasions, you might need to rebuild the Windows search index manually, to fix bugs or a corrupted search database.
Solution: Delete the Windows search index or reset Windows 10 search
When you reset and rebuild the Windows search index, you delete all of its contents and tell Windows 10 to start indexing again. There are different ways to do this.
You can use the Windows 10 “Search and indexing” troubleshooter as shown in our other tutorial to fix Windows 10 search. Here we show you how to delete and rebuild the Windows 10 search index either via indexing options or just a few CMD commands.
At the end we also show you how to completely reset Windows 10 search using a registry hack. Apart from triggering a rebuild of the search index this will also reset search indexing options to factory defaults.
How to Rebuild the Windows 10 Search Index with Search Indexing Options
If you choose to rebuild the search index it will delete the whole search database and trigger the Windows 10 indexing service to re-index all predetermined drives locations and filetypes specified in search indexing options. If this does not fix your problem you might want to completely reset the Windows 10 search index to factory defaults as shown at the end ot this article.
- Open the Windows 10 Control Panel
- Switch to Small icons view
- Open “Indexing Options”
- Open “Advanced” in Windows 10 Indexing Options
- Click “Rebuild” in “Troubleshooting to rebuild the Windows 10 search index
This will delete the existing search index and trigger the indexing searvice to start file indexing from scratch.
- Confirm rebuilding the windows search index
As Windows 10 reminds you, it might take a long time until file indexing is complete and during that time you might experience missing or incomplete search results. How long a rebuild of the search index takes, depends both on your systems performance, your search indexing options and how many files you have stored on your system.
- Check the indexing status in “Indexing Options”
In Windows 10 search indexing options you can check how many items have been indexed during the rebuild and if indexing ist still ongoing.
How to Rebuild the Windows 10 Search Index with Command Prompt
Rebuilding the Windows 10 search index using command prompt does the same job as triggering an index rebuild in search indexing options as shown above. If this does not fix your problem you might want to completely reset the Windows 10 search index to factory defaults as shown at the end.
- Open Command Prompt with admin rights
- Stop the Windows 10 file indexing service with the command “net stop wsearch”
- Delete the windows 10 search index database files
Type the following command and press Enter:
- Restart the Windows search indexing service to start rebuilding the search index
Run the command “net start wsearch” to restart the Windows 10 search indexing service. If you see the error message that “The Windows Search service could not be started”, just run the command again. It often takes two or three attempts to be successful.
How to Reset and Rebuild the Windows 10 Search Index using Regedit
This method will both reset Windows 10 search indexing options and rebuild the search index.
- Open the “Registry Editor” using Windows 10 search
- Switch to “Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search” in the location bar
- Check if the DWORD “SetupCompletedSuccessfully” is present
If you see the DWORD “SetupCompletedSuccessfully” just open it with a double-click and skip the following two steps.
- Create new DWORD if “SetupCompletedSuccessfully”is missing
Right click on an empty spot on the right side and select “New – DWORD (32-bit) Value”.
- Name the new DWORD “SetupCompletedSuccessfully”
- Set DWORD “SetupCompletedSuccessfully” to “0”
After opening the DWORD “SetupCompletedSuccessfully” set “Value data” to “0” and save via “OK”. You will have to restart your PC to trigger the rebuild of the Windows search index.
If you still face promblems with Windows search, check out our specific tutorial how to fix Windows 10 search. You may also want to try repairing your system image with DISM or reset/repair your PC via Advanced Startup Options.