Microsoft Windows Search Indexer High CPU/Disk/Memory Usage

Experiencing elevated CPU usage on your device due to the Microsoft Windows Search Indexer? Discover effective solutions to resolve this problem once and for all.


windows search indexing high cpu usage

However, without the specific solutions mentioned in the comprehensive guide, I cannot verify the accuracy of those solutions. The effectiveness of the solutions depends on the context and nature of the high CPU usage caused by the Windows Search Indexer.

Restart the Windows Search Service

Glitches or temporary problems with the Search service often stand as one of the primary culprits behind high CPU usage linked to the Windows Search Indexer.

An effective solution to tackle this situation involves restarting the service. By doing so, you grant the Search service a clean slate, allowing it to reload the Search Indexer from scratch. This action can effectively resolve the high CPU usage issue and restore the Search service to its optimal functionality.

  1. Press Win + R to open Run. 
  2. Type services.msc in Run, and click Enter.
windows 10 windows 11 services
  1. To access the “Properties” of the “Windows Search” service, simply right-click on it, and from the contextual menu that pops up, choose the “Properties” option.
windows 11 windows search menu
  1. First, locate and click the “Stop” button within the Properties dialog. After clicking it, wait for a few seconds before proceeding to press the “Start” button.
  2. Next, double-check that the “Startup type” is configured as “Automatic.” Once you’ve confirmed this setting, click on “Apply” followed by “OK” to ensure the changes are saved and take effect.
windows 11 windows search indexer settings
  1. After closing the Services window, verify if the issue has been resolved.

Restart File Explorer

If the problem lies elsewhere and not with the Windows Search service, the next step to take is to reboot File Explorer. By doing so, the various components and processes will be refreshed, resolving any temporary glitches or errors that might be responsible for the excessive CPU usage.

  1. To perform the task, you can either right-click on your taskbar and then select “Task Manager” from the options that appear in the context menu. Alternatively, you have the option of directly opening the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard.
windows 11 task manager
  1. Locate the process named “Windows Explorer” or “explorer.exe” within the Processes tab, and perform a right-click on it.
  2. Choose the “Restart” option from the context menu, and then observe if there are any noticeable differences.
windows 11 windows explorer restart

Limit Indexing Locations

If you wish to minimize the CPU load generated by the Windows Search service, primarily due to its handling of a large volume of files, an alternative approach is to limit the indexed locations. By narrowing down the specific locations subject to indexing, the service will encounter a smaller number of files to manage, thereby leading to a decrease in overall CPU usage.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to be aware that in order to accomplish this task, having administrative privileges on the system is a prerequisite. If your current login on Windows is through a local account, you must first switch to an administrator account before moving forward with the process.

  1. You can open the Run window once more and simply type “control” before hitting Enter.
windows 11 control app
  1. To find “Indexing Options,” simply utilize the search bar located at the top of the Control Panel and proceed by clicking on the most relevant search result that appears.
windows 11 indexing options
  1. Once the Indexing dialog box is launched, you will encounter two choices to restrict the indexing locations:
windows 11 search indexing options

Exclude specific folders from indexing: You can opt to exclude certain folders from the indexing process. By doing so, you can prevent particular folders from being indexed, which might be useful if you have sensitive or private data in those locations or if you want to optimize indexing by excluding less relevant directories.

windows 11 indexing options

Exclude file types:

In case you want to exclude specific file types from being indexed, follow these steps:

  1. After opening the Indexing Options dialog, click on the “Advanced” button.
  2. This will lead you to the “Advanced Options” window. Go to the “File Types” tab.
  3. In the “File Types” tab, you will see a list of all the file types that are currently included in the indexing process.
  4. To exclude certain file types, simply uncheck the checkboxes next to those file types.
  5. Once you have unchecked the desired file types, click the “OK” button to save the changes.

By doing this, you are customizing the indexing process to omit the specified file types from being indexed, which can be useful if you have files that you don’t frequently use or files that are unnecessary for search purposes.

Rebuild the Search Index

An alternative approach to resolve the issue is to rebuild the Search Index. This process involves recreating the indexer entirely from scratch, which can help address any corruption or inconsistencies that might be causing excessive CPU usage. Here’s how you can do it:

windows indexing options rebuild
  1. Open Indexing Options: First, access the Control Panel and search for “Indexing Options” using the search bar.
  2. Access Advanced Options: In the Indexing Options dialog, click on the “Advanced” button.
  3. Rebuild the Index: In the Advanced Options window, under the Troubleshooting section, click on the “Rebuild” button.
  4. Confirm Rebuild: A confirmation prompt will appear to verify if you want to rebuild the index. Click “OK” to proceed.
  5. Rebuilding Process: The rebuilding process will start, and it may take some time, depending on the size of your index and the amount of data to be indexed. During this time, the indexer will be recreated from scratch.

Rebuilding the Search Index can help resolve issues related to high CPU usage by ensuring a fresh and consistent indexer, which may improve overall system performance during search operations.

Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

Indeed, running the Search and Indexing troubleshooter can be beneficial when encountering issues related to modified/corrupted indexing settings or conflicts between the Windows Search service and other processes or software on your computer. The troubleshooter is a built-in tool in Windows that can automatically detect and attempt to resolve common problems with search and indexing functionalities. Here’s how to use it:

Windows Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter
  1. Open Troubleshooter: Go to the Windows “Settings” by clicking on the Start button and then the gear icon (⚙️) or by pressing “Windows key + I.” In the System window, select “Troubleshoot”. Click on “Other troubleshooters” in the following window.
    • Windows 10 users: Settings – Update & Security – Troubleshoot – Find and fix other problems” to find the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.
windows 11 search indexing troubleshoot
  1. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter: Scroll down and find the “Search and Indexing”. Click on “Run” it.
  2. Follow Instructions: The troubleshooter will now scan for issues related to search and indexing on your system. Follow the on-screen instructions and prompts to proceed with the troubleshooting process.
  3. Apply Fixes: The troubleshooter will attempt to identify and automatically fix any detected problems with the search and indexing components. If any issues are found, it will provide solutions or apply fixes accordingly.
  4. Restart if Required: After the troubleshooting process is completed, it may prompt you to restart your computer to apply the changes.

By using the Search and Indexing troubleshooter, you can quickly address common problems that may hinder the proper functioning of search and indexing services in Windows, potentially resolving CPU usage-related issues and enhancing overall system performance.

Disable Windows Search Temporarily

If the previous fixes have not resolved the high CPU usage related to the Search Indexer and you need an urgent solution, you can consider temporarily disabling the Windows Search service. Disabling the service will stop the indexing and searching processes, providing temporary relief from CPU-intensive activities. Here’s how to do it:

windows 10 windows 11 services
  1. Open the Run Dialog: Press the “Windows + R” keys on your keyboard to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type “services.msc”: In the Run dialog, type “services.msc” (without quotes) and press Enter. This will open the Services window.
  3. Locate “Windows Search”: In the Services window, scroll down and find “Windows Search” from the list of services.
windows 10 11 search disable
  1. Disable the Service: Right-click on “Windows Search” and select “Properties.” In the Properties window, click on the “Stop” button to immediately stop the service.
windows search startup disabled
  1. Change Startup Type: In the same Properties window, locate the “Startup type” dropdown menu and select “Disabled.” This will prevent the Windows Search service from starting automatically in the future.
  2. Apply Changes: Click “Apply” and then “OK” to save the changes and close the Properties window.

Please note that disabling the Windows Search service will prevent the indexing and searching functions until you re-enable it. While this can provide temporary relief from high CPU usage, it also means that searching for files and content on your system might be slower during this time.