Working with the Vista Index

The new search capabilities in Windows Vista are certainly a significant step up from those in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. For once, you can actually find what you’re looking for in a reasonable amount of time. By default, however, the new Vista search feature only indexes the partition where the operating system is installed, which is usually the C: drive. That’s fine, unless you have a second partition or second hard drive you use to store your data files. In that case, you have to manually add the second hard drive to the search index. Luckily, it’s only a two step process!

Step 1: Turn On the Search Indexing for the Second Hard Drive/Partition

Double click on your My Computer icon, right click on the drive and choose Properties. Then check the box that says “Index this drive for faster searching.” Finally, click OK.

For some strange reason, that doesn’t actually add the drive to the index, so you have to perform one more step.

Step 2: Add the Drive to the Indexing Options

Go to Start, Control Panel and click on Indexing Options. In the dialogue box, you’ll see a list of current locations that are indexed by the Indexing service. Click on the Modify button and check off the second partition or hard drive you want indexed (for example, D:, E:, etc).

If you don’t see the drive you’re looking for, make sure you press the “Show all locations” button at the bottom of the window. You should then see all of the possible choices:

That’s it! Windows Vista will then begin indexing the new location and results from the extra drives will appear in your searches. Now, you can also add network drives to the Vista search index, as long as the drive is a mapped drive. Note that turning on the indexing in Vista is a great way to find files quickly and I would suggest keeping it on all the time. However, you may want to turn it off if your computer seems to be running slow.

Either way, this is an easy way to make your Vista searching even easier!

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami