Windows Search is notoriously bad and slow. It is a deep-rooted problem that lies at the core of Windows OS and that users have complained about for years.
Windows Search is so slow because it indexes every file and folder on your drive, and the problem worsens with time as your files probably increase. Another problem is that it not only searches files but also searches web results simultaneously.
So, you can improve Windows Search speed by customizing Windows Indexing so that it only searches what you usually look for and by disabling web results from Windows Search.
However, it is possible to make your Windows Search much faster by using a third-party program. There are two great choices available for that:
- Microsoft PowerToys Run: similar to Apple’s Spotlight search.
- Everything: the fastest file search tool available.
Next, I will explain all the methods mentioned above and how you can use PowerToys Run and Everything to make Windows Search faster.
How to Customize Windows Search Indexing
You can customize what Windows Search searches by accessing the Indexing Options in Windows 10 or 11.
You can use it to choose which folders and directories you want to scan and select which file types Windows searches for. Here is how to do it:
- Enter Indexing Options on Windows Search, then click on Open:
- On Indexing Options, click on Modify:
- Under Change selected locations, you can disable the folders and directories that you don’t want Windows to search for files:
Here it is also possible to expand a disk drive (such as C:) and select to disable only specific folders. For example, system folders.
- After finishing, click on OK.
- Then on Indexing Options, click on the Advanced button:
- In the File Types tab, disable the file types you don’t want Windows Search to scan, then click OK.
- Go to the Index Settings tab, and click on the Rebuild button, then click OK to finish:
After that, Windows Search will be faster. If you want to improve the indexing speed further, I suggest you disable web results in Windows Search:
Using PowerToys Run to Make Windows Search Faster
Microsoft has an app called Microsoft PowerToys, which offers a powerful solution for customizing Windows. One of its features is to make Windows Search fast, as it has a powerful launcher to run programs and files.
To know how to use this tool, follow the steps below:
- Download Microsoft PowerToys on its official webpage:
- After installing the program, click on the PowerToys icon on the Windows notification area:
- Navigate to PowerToys Run on the left sidebar.
- Click on Enable PowerToys run to activate a faster Windows Search:
You just need to press Alt + Space to open PowerToys Run. You will see that a search box pops out on your screen. If your shortcut is not working, go to the end of this article for a solution.
You can use this search box to launch files or programs right away, just like Mac’s Spotlight.
PowerToys Run is a complete search tool and launcher that enhances Windows Search in every single way, but if you need a search tool to only search for files and folders at lightning-quick speed, then try Everything.
Use Everything App to Find Files Instantly
The Everything app indexes the names of all your files and folders when you install it, so when you search for something, it will filter this index to deliver the results you are searching for.
Everything fixes Windows’s two most significant issues: it is slow and mixes local searches with web searches.
The result is that Everything searches files a thousand times faster than Windows Search. If you don’t believe it, follow the steps below:
- Download Everything in the Void Tools official webpage by clicking on Download Installer:
- After installing Everything, open the program, and you will see all your files indexed:
- Type the name of the file or folder you are looking for:
(Everything is one of the must-have software for Windows, do you know some of the others?)
What is the Best Solution to Find Files Faster on Windows?
If you are still unsure if you should choose Everything or PowerToys Run, check the comparison below:
|Resources Usage in the Background||Low (around 77 MB)||Very low (around 47 MB)|
|Search Speed (Files and Folders)||Fast||Extremely fast|
|Number of Features||Many.||Only searches files and folders.|
|User Interface||Modern and convenient.||Very basic.|
|Comparison with Windows Search||It does everything Windows Search does and more.||You will still need Windows Search to launch programs or find system settings.|
Another difference between PowerToys Run and Everything lies in the fact that PowerToys Run is not a standalone app but a part of an amazing program called PowerToys.
PowerToys offers many useful features, of which PowerToys Run is one of them. If you are curious about PowerToys and its other features, check the video below:
To sum up, PowerToys Run offers more than Everything, as it can completely replace Windows Search, while Everything is a basic tool created to search for files and folders extremely fast. For the most powerful tool, pick PowerToys Run. For faster file search and lower resource usage, pick Everything.
However, the best options are the third-party programs PowerToys Run and Everything.
PowerToys Run is more similar to macOS’s spotlight and offers a lot of functionalities, while Everything is a super-fast file searcher.
You can run both at the same time if you want to combine PowerToys Run convenience with Everything file search, but even though they are light apps, they will still need a bit of RAM to keep running in the background.
If your search engine keeps changing to Bing, check my article on that.
If you are keen on improving Windows, read this article to learn how to update all your drivers at once and with much more reliability than Windows does.