Windows 10 - How to Rebuild the Search Index

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 The downside of this Windows 10 index is that its results might be outdated, either showing files that have been removed already or not listing existing files you might be searching for.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.

  1. Open the Windows 10 Control Panel

    Windows 10 - Open Control Panel

  2. Switch to Small icons view

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Open Samall Icons Category

  3. Open “Indexing Options”

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - All Control Panel Items - Open Indexing Options

  4. Open “Advanced” in Windows 10 Indexing Options

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - All Control Panel Items - Indexing Options - Open Adavanced

  5. 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.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel -Indexing Options - Adavanced - Open Rebuild Index

  6. 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.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel -Indexing Options - Adavanced -Rebuild Index

  7. 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.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel -Indexing Options - Adavanced -Rebuild Index - Indexing in Progress

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.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights

    Windows 10 - Open Admin Command Prompt

  2. Stop the Windows 10 file indexing service with the command “net stop wsearch”

    Windows 10 - Admin Command Prompt - net stop wsearch

  3. Delete the windows 10 search index database files


    Type the following command and press Enter:

    del "%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb"


    Windows 10 - Admin Command Prompt - delete search index files edb

  4. 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.

    Windows 10 - Admin Command Prompt - net start wsearch

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.

  1. Open the “Registry Editor” using Windows 10 search

    Windows 10 - Search - Registry Editor

  2. Switch to “Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search” in the location bar

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - HKLM SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows Search

  3. 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.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - HKLM SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows Search - SetupCompletedSuccessfully

  4. Create new DWORD if “SetupCompletedSuccessfully”is missing


    Right click on an empty spot on the right side and select “New – DWORD (32-bit) Value”.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - HKLM SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows Search - New Dword

  5. Name the new DWORD “SetupCompletedSuccessfully”


    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - HKLM SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows Search - New Dword - SetupCompletedSuccessfully

  6. 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.

    Windows 10 - Registry Editor - Edit SetupCompletedSuccessfully

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.