Repairing Windows Search Indexer Problems

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The Microsoft Windows Search Indexer is a component of Windows that indexes in excess of 300 common file types. The purpose of this component is to speed up the process of locating and finding files and documents making Windows Search quicker and more efficient. Every time the user adds a new file or document to their operating system, the index is automatically updated. The Windows Search Indexer must be kept up-to-date as it’s crucial to the accessibility of Windows files.

It’s not uncommon for the Indexer to be accidently erased or a user to attempt to access the Indexer only to receive one of a number of error messages associated with the Windows Search Indexer. When a user encounters a problem with this specific Windows component, there are many steps that he/she can do to rectify it, all of which I intend to cover in this tutorial.

Indexed Content

The Windows Search Indexer is designed to look for data in locations such as the Start menu, home folder, contact lists etc. Because the Indexer has the ability to index the properties of a file, this allows the user to search on specific text within a document or message with the Windows Search feature locating the associated files. Whenever you use Windows Search, the operating system automatically checks the index for the content that you have requested; this is done before searching the hard drive in its entirety. This allows the user to locate searched files almost instantly.

Windows Versions

Initially, Microsoft released a version of Windows Search Indexer for Windows XP, 2000 and Windows Server 2003 in the form of a downloadable add-on. In later versions such as Windows Vista/7/8, Microsoft integrated the Search Indexer into them, and made them active by default. If you’re still running a Windows XP based system, then you can and should download the Indexer from here:

Common Performance Problems

In order avoid clogging up system resources; the Windows Search Indexer is designed to scan your system for new files and documents (which it adds to the index) during times when the computer is least active. However, if the Indexer is configured to index data from a large number of locations on your computer or to index files and documents in their entirety (rather than just their filename), then you may experience some performance issues.

By reducing the amount of content that the Search indexer keeps tabs on, you can actually fix this common problem. It’s also possible for you to disable the Search Indexer altogether. However, this is not a recommended option, as it will adversely affect the speed in which the operating system completes a search.

Location of Windows Search Indexer

By default, you should be able to find the Windows Search Index in the following location:


However, it is possible for you to alter its location, by accessing the components options and making the necessary changes.

Configuring the Windows Search Index

It’s possible for you to configure the Indexer to suit your own personal requirements. To do that, simply do the following:

1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then press windows key + R, type Control Panel and click on OK.

Open Control Panel

3. In the Search Control Panel box, type Indexing Options, and then click on Indexing Options.

Type Indexing Options and click on Indexing Options

You will be able to see and change the various locations on the operating system that are being indexed. You can also, at any point in time pause the indexer for 15 minutes. Additionally, the advanced button, offers a wide range of complex options.

Fixing the Errors

If you attempted to open the Indexer and came unstuck due to a problem, or maybe you had problems using Windows Search, there are many things you can do to fix the problem; to follow are a number of the most effective and common methods of repairing any Indexer-related errors.

Use Troubleshooter

When experiencing problems with the Search Indexer, the first thing that you should always do is use the troubleshooter. Issues such as an incorrect or corrupted search index, slow search performance and incomplete search results can very easily be resolved with this tool. Anyway, to access this tool, simply do the following:

1. First, load up the Indexing Options by following steps 1 – 3 of Configuring the Windows Search Index.

2. Once Indexing Options has loaded up, click on Troubleshoot search and indexing.

Click on Troubleshoot search and indexing

3. The Search and Indexing troubleshoot applet will pop up, asking you What problems do you notice, check the box next to all that apply and click on Next.

Problem -> Next

Microsoft troubleshooter will then attempt to fix the Indexer using the information you have provided.

Having all the latest Windows updates and service packs installed on your computer is very important, as it will ensure the troubleshooter is able to fix any eventual problems.

Check Windows Search Index Is Enabled

If you’re still unable to properly use the Windows Search Indexer, then there is a strong chance that the Windows search feature has been disabled or been deactivated, maybe by some third party application on your computer. To enable it, simply do the following:

1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then press windows key + R, type Control Panel and click on OK.

Open Control Panel

3. Once Control Panel loads up, click on Programs.

Control Panel -> Programs

4. When Programs loads up, click on Turn Windows features on or off.

Programs -> Turn Windows features on or off

5. A Turn Windows features on or off applet should pop up, check the box next to Windows Search and click on OK.

Check box next to Windows Search

Rebuild the Search Indexer

If the methods above failed to fix the problem, then you should look into rebuilding the entire Search Index. To do this, simply do the following:

1. Start Indexing Options using steps 1 – 3 of Configuring the Windows Search Index.

2. When Indexing Options loads up, click on Advanced.

Indexing Options -> Advanced

3. This will bring up the Advanced Options applet, form here click on the Rebuild button.

Advanced Options -> Rebuild

4. From here, press windows key + R, type Services.msc and click on OK.

Open Services

5. This will bring up Services; you’ll want to locate Windows Search and then click on it and click on Restart.

Windows Search -> Restart

Indexer Registry Fix

If the Indexer refuses to run, or if when you load up Indexing Options you are unable to access the advanced options while receiving one of the following error messages:

Waiting to receive indexing status
Windows Search Indexer stopped working and was closed

Then there is a strong chance that a crucial registry key has been corrupted. To fix it, simply do the following:

1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Press windows key + R, type regedit and click on OK.

run -> regedit

3. This will load up the Registry Editor, from here, navigate to the following path:


navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search

4. In the right pane, double click on SetupCompletedSuccessfully.

Double click on SetupCompletedSuccessfully

5. This will bring up the Edit Value Data box, from here, change the Value data to 0 and click on OK.

Change registry key value data to 0

6. Lastly, restart your computer.

This action will reset Windows, reset your crawl, and rebuild the index and much more.

Delete Search Index Folder

If all of the above methods up till now, failed to fix the Indexer, then you can try deleting all the files associated with the Search Indexer. To do this, do the following:

1. First, log into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then click on the Windows Explorer Icon.

Click on Windows Explorer Icon

3. Once Windows Explorer loads up, click on Organize -> Folder and search options.

Click on Folder and search options

4. This will bring up the Folder Options applet, from here, click on the View Tab, then click on Show hidden files, folders, and drives and click on OK.

click on show hidden files

5. Once you’ve done that, press windows key + R, type C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows and click on OK.

Run -> C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows

6. Delete everything you find in this folder by clicking on Organize -> Select All.

Select all and delete files

7. Then Organize -> Delete.

Delete files in folder

7. Then press windows key + R, type C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Temp and click on OK.

Run -> C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Temp

8. Again, delete everything in this folder, using step 6.

If you receive an Access is Denied message when attempting to delete the files, then you will need to stop Windows Search. Simply follow steps 3 – 4 of Rebuild the Search Indexer, but this time, click on Stop.

After you’ve deleted all the files, restart your system.

Run Antimalware Tool

If you’re still experiencing a problem with the Indexer after attempting the various methods outlined here, your next best option will be to run a full scan of your system.

To do this, you’d be better off using an antimalware tool, fortunately, I’d put together a post that rates several of the best antimalware tools, based on their abilities to detect viruses and repair the damage done to the integrity of your operating system, restoring features and functions that previously were not working.

Use KB932989

Another effective method that you can use, involves using the Microsoft update KB932989 to fix this component. Simply visit the following link and follow the onscreen instructions:

Reinstall Windows

If you are still unable to get the Windows Search Indexer to work, given all the different methods you have tried, only then should you consider reinstalling Windows.

When it comes to reinstalling the operating system, you have two options, the first is a reset, which is unlikely to fix the problem and the second is a total revamp of your hard drive, deleting all your personal data in the process.

For step by step instructions on how to carry out these two particular methods (depending on your Windows version), I suggest you visit my post on CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED problems.

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