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Fix Windows 7 search by rebuilding the index

If you want to find a file on a Windows 7 PC you just click Start and type in the name. It is usually listed on the start menu and you can open it by clicking it. If it isn't found, click See more results at the bottom to open the search results window. You can search again, modify the search term and so on. What if you still can't find the file? Maybe Windows search isn't working properly. Rebuilding the index might solve your search problems.

Windows 7 (and Vista) automatically indexes all the files in you Documents, Pictures and other folders. It stores the details in a database and this means that it can find the files you are looking for very quickly, much faster than by searching the disk folder by folder.

You shouldn't have any problems with Windows search, in theory, but if you do have problems then it could be that there is something wrong with the index. Click Start, Control Panel and click Indexing Options in small icons view. Click the Advanced button and then click Rebuild on the Index Settings tab. This will delete the old index and rebuild a new one. It will take some time, but Windows does it in the background so you won't notice it and you can continue to use your PC as usual.

The search index is stored in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search. It can grow quite large and it may be over half a gigabyte. Resetting it might clear out old entries and make it more efficient. Who knows, it's worth trying if you have had your PC a long time and the files have changed a lot.

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