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To search all of your PC's files in the Windows 10 Start menu



The Windows 10 update from May 2019 now offers the possibility to search all files of your PC directly via the start menu. However, this feature is disabled by default. To enable it for a faster and easier file search.

Here's the problem: By default, when you browse your Start menu, Windows searches only your libraries and your desktop. The libraries include folders such as documents, pictures, music, and videos. If you have files elsewhere, they will not be found in the Start menu.

To make File Search more reliable in the Start menu, you can now go to Settings> Search> Search Windows. Or, click the menu button "…" in the search field in the top right corner and choose "Indexing Options".

If you do not see these options, you have Windows 10 not installed in May 2019 update (that's version 1903) yet.

From here you can control the Windows Search Index – the background process that creates the list of files scanned by Windows. When you search for a file, Windows checks the search index to see what matches are on your PC. This speeds up the search process, but it means that the search indexer needs to run continuously in the background and look for new files in the folders you want to search.

Choose Advanced for Windows to search everything on your PC Microsoft warns that this can reduce battery life and CPU usage – the indexer must look for more files. After enabling this option, you must be connected to the battery in order to create the first index. You can see the status of the index under "Index Status" here – the Pending list indicates the number of items Windows must check before the index is completed.

For Windows to search some additional folders – but not all – Click "Customize search locations here". You can add more folders to search. For example, if you have a D: Files folder where you store important files, you can add them here.

You can also scroll down and add "Excluded Folders" that the Windows Search Indexer will use. If you have folders with many files that change frequently, or just many files that you do not care about and you do not want to search, we recommend that you add them to the list of excluded folders. This saves some battery power and CPU usage while cleaning up your search results.

RELATED: Anything new in the Windows 10 update from May 2019, now available

Before the May 2019 update, Windows 10's start menu ignored the search index some strange reason. Even if you control the indexing options for Control Panel on an older version of Windows 10, this does not affect the results displayed in the Start menu. However, this affects the results displayed when you search for files in File Explorer.


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