Windows 8.1 search slowness
Posted on 2014-02-07
We're having a search problem on a domain with Server 2008 R2 and Windows 8.1 workstations. We are in the process of upgrading from Vista to 8.1 for all users on the domain. We have about 15 or so users who've just upgraded and they are secretaries who are all very used to using the Search bar in File Explorer to find files. For the same search, in Vista the results are instantaneous, while on a Windows 8.1 system it takes anywhere from 15-20 seconds to minutes to find the same list of files or folders.
Some interesting behaviors on the 8.1 workstations:
The folder organization is that there is a top level shared folder named Documents. This folder is 127GB in size with about 566,000 files in 169,000 folders. Within Documents is a series of subfolders with numerical names and well as some alpha names. Searching after drilling down one subfolder level works faster than searching at the top-level folder. But of course it narrows the search considerably.
Most strange to me is the search process. It seems somehow to be linked to 3 characters. If I type in 123 instead of 1234, it finds first all the folders that start with 123 with a space after it, then the file names that contain 123 at the beginning of a word within the file name, and then goes on to find folder names with 123 with some other character after it. It takes 5-6 minutes before it finds the 1234 or 1235, etc., folders. Typing in more characters to define the search better doesn't seem to speed things up at all in reality, although it seems faster assuming that your desired results are file names rather than folder names.
I'm thinking that this has something to do with the Windows 8.1 search algorithm, but I can't find any solid information on this. I also can't find any articles in my Internet searches so far describing this issue or how to fix it. However, the fact that it takes so long to find a 4- or 5-character series is ridiculous.
Does anyone have experience with this? This is a SMB environment and both file servers have other roles as well (DC, Exchange server, etc.). I've had bad experiences in the past with the Indexing and Windows Search products taking far too much of the server resources and ending up slowing things down even more, so I don't have either of those running on the file servers.