[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More


How To Make Windows 7 Desktop Search Work

Published on
4,979 Points
3 Endorsements
Last Modified:
Windows 7 does not have the best desktop search built in. This is something Windows 7 users have struggled with. You type something in, and your search results don’t always match what you are looking for, or it doesn’t actually work at all. There are a couple of things you can do to try to improve t

Start Menu & Windows 7 Desktop Search


The instinct here is to go to Windows Explorer and type in something that you’re searching for, but you should be aware that Windows Explorer will only look within the folder that you are currently in. The best way to find something in Windows 7 is to go and open the Start Menu and create the necessary search. From here it will search your entire computer, not just a single folder, for files or even programs that match the terms you typed in the search bar.

Search the Contents of Your Files

The Windows 7 desktop search will search within the content of your files by default. This means that desktop search will find if your search terms actually appear within a file on your computer. The problem with desktop search on Windows 7 is that this “default” setting won’t always work. The best way to get this setting to work is to follow these steps:

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Go to Organize>Folder and Search Options
  • Then just go to the Search tab
  • Within that tab select “Always Search File Names and Contents

Add Folders to Your Index

Desktop search in Windows 7 has a general idea of which locations and folders need to be indexed. It will go through your Start Menu, the User Folder, and any of your offline files. If you moved something around or have some things stored in another location on your drive, then you will want to add folders to your index so that the desktop search will go looking within those folders as well.

There are two easy ways to do this, adding a folder to a library or adding one directly to the index. When you add a folder to one of your libraries, it will instantly make it part of the index because Windows Explorer automatically indexes all of your libraries. So you can either create a new library or you can go into an existing library by right clicking, go to Properties and add a folder. This folder will then automatically become indexed.

The other way would be to go to your Indexing Options (look for it in your Start Menu) select Modifyand then you can add a new folder to the index as well.

The minor changes and tips will have your Windows 7 desktop search working a lot better. If you continue to run into issues, then you may want to consider an alternative for Windows desktop search.

Author Comment

by:Peter Oehler
Any feedback to my first article appreciated! Thanks...

Expert Comment

by:D Van
I thought I knew everything, but you taught me some new tricks.  Thanks!
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Kyle Santos
Great job!

Expert Comment

by:Yashwant Vishwakarma
Good One !!! Voted Yes !!! Thumbs Up !!!

Featured Post

Exploring ASP.NET Core: Fundamentals

Learn to build web apps and services, IoT apps, and mobile backends by covering the fundamentals of ASP.NET Core and  exploring the core foundations for app libraries.

This Micro Tutorial will give you a introduction in two parts how to utilize Windows Live Movie Maker to its maximum capability. This will be demonstrated using Windows Live Movie Maker on Windows 7 operating system.
Notifications on Experts Exchange help you keep track of your activity and updates in one place. Watch this video to learn how to use them on the site to quickly access the content that matters to you.

Keep in touch with Experts Exchange

Tech news and trends delivered to your inbox every month