Windows 11 Search Indexer High CPU and Disk Usage

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you are a Windows 11 user, you might have noticed that sometimes your computer becomes sluggish and unresponsive, with the CPU usage and disk activity skyrocketing. One of the common culprits of this issue is the Windows Search Indexer, a feature that allows you to search for files and folders quickly. In this article, we will explain what Windows Search Indexing is, why it can cause high CPU and disk usage, and what you can do to address this issue.

Also see: Windows 11 search slow? How to speed up search in Start and File Explorer

Windows 11 Search Indexer High CPU and Disk Usage

What is Microsoft Windows Search Indexing?

Windows Search Indexing is a feature that enables users to quickly search for files and folders on their computer. The indexing process creates a database of file and folder information, allowing Windows to quickly locate files when you perform a search.

By default, Windows Search Indexing is set to index most of the files on your computer, including system files, documents, photos, and music.

Why does Windows Search Indexing using high CPU and Disk resources?

When the indexing process is running, it can consume a significant amount of CPU, memory, and disk resources. This is because the process needs to read and analyze every file on your computer, which can be a time-consuming task. If you have a large number of files or a slow hard drive, the indexing process can take a long time to complete, causing your computer to slow down.

The following are some of the reasons why Windows Search Indexing uses high CPU and Disk resources:

  • Large number of files: If you have a large number of files on your computer, the Windows Search Indexer will take longer to scan and index them, which can cause high CPU and disk usage.
  • File changes: Any changes to your files, such as adding, deleting, or modifying them, will trigger the Windows Search Indexer to re-scan and re-index them, which can cause high CPU and disk usage. If you (or an app) make changes to files on your computer, the indexing process needs to reindex those files, which can cause high CPU and disk usage. This is particularly true if there are major changes made to a large number of files at once.
  • Low-end hardware: If your computer has a low-end processor or insufficient RAM, the Windows Search Indexer might struggle to keep up with the demands of indexing and searching, which can cause high CPU and disk usage.
  • Faulty service: Sometimes, the Windows Search Indexer service can become corrupted or malfunction, leading to high CPU and disk usage.

Learn: How to Limit CPU Usage of a Process in Windows 11

Let the search indexer complete its run

If you notice high CPU and disk usage due to the indexing process, the first thing you should do is let the process complete. The indexing process usually runs in the background, so it may take some time to complete. However, if you let it run overnight, it should be able to finish the indexing process. After the indexing process is complete, the CPU and disk usage should return to normal.

Related issue: High CPU Usage After Windows Update

How to disable Windows Search Indexer in Windows 11

If you do not use Windows Search frequently or if you are experiencing persistent high CPU and disk usage, you may want to consider disabling Windows Search Indexing. Disabling the feature will stop the indexing process and prevent it from starting up again. However, it is important to note that disabling Windows Search Indexing can cause slow searches via Start or File Explorer. Here’s how to disable Windows Search Indexing in Windows 11:

  1. Open the Start menu and type “Services” in the search box.
  2. Select “Services” from the search results.Open Services in Windows 11
  3. Scroll down and locate “Windows Search” in the list of services.
  4. Right-click “Windows Search” and select “Properties“.Windows Search Service Properties
  5. In the “Startup type” drop-down menu, select “Disabled“.
  6. Click “Apply” and then click “OK“.Disable Microsoft Windows Search Indexer

Impact of disabling Windows Search Indexing

Disabling Windows Search Indexing can have a significant impact on the performance of your computer. When you perform a search, it will take longer to find files and folders. Additionally, disabling the feature will delete the index, so you will need to rebuild it if you decide to re-enable the feature later.

Identify any software that frequently modify files

As mentioned earlier, changes to files can cause the indexing process to reindex them, which can cause high CPU and disk usage. If you have software on your computer that frequently modifies files, such as backup software or file syncing software, this can trigger the indexing process to run more frequently.

If you are experiencing high CPU and disk usage by Microsoft Windows Search Indexer, you may want to check if there are any software programs on your computer that are making frequent changes to files. You may need to adjust the settings of these software programs to reduce the frequency of changes to files.

Reduce indexed locations to reduce high CPU and Disk usage

Another option to reduce the load on Windows Search Indexing is to reduce the number of folders and files that are being indexed. You can specify which folders are indexed, so the indexing process will only look at those folders.

By default, Windows indexes most files on your computer, but you can exclude certain folders or drives to reduce the amount of data that is being indexed. Here’s how to reduce indexed locations in Windows 11:

  1. Go to the Start menu and search for “Indexing Options“.
  2. Select “Indexing Options” from the search results.Windows 11 Indexing Options
  3. Click the “Modify” button.Modify Indexing Options
  4. Uncheck any folders that you do not want to be indexed.Microsoft Windows Search Indexer High CPU Usage
  5. Click “OK” to save your changes.

Restart Windows Search Services

If the indexing process is stuck or not running correctly, you can try restarting the Windows Search Services. This will stop the current cycle of indexing and start it again. Here’s how to restart the Windows Search Services in Windows 11.

See also: How to Unpause Indexing in Windows 11

  1. Go to Start menu, search for and open “Services“.Open Services in Windows 11
  2. Scroll down and locate “Windows Search” in the list of services.
  3. Right-click “Windows Search” and select “Restart“.Restart Windows Search Service

Rebuild the index

In some cases, the Windows Search Index may become corrupted or have bugs that cause it to repeatedly index the same files and folders, leading to high CPU and disk usage. In this case, you may want to try rebuilding the index. Here’s how to rebuild the index in Windows 11:

  1. Click Start and search for “Indexing Options“.
  2. Select “Indexing Options” from the search results.Windows 11 Indexing Options
  3. Click the “Advanced” button.
  4. Click the “Rebuild” button.Rebuild Windows Search Index Windows 11
  5. Click “OK” to start the process.

Note that rebuilding the index can take some time, depending on the number of files and folders that need to be indexed.

Perform a clean install of Windows 11

If you have tried all the above solutions and you are still experiencing high CPU and disk usage due to Windows Search Indexing, a clean install of Windows 11 may be the last resort. Performing a clean install of Windows 11 will erase all data on your computer, so be sure to back up your important files before proceeding.

To perform a clean install of Windows 11, you’ll need to create a bootable USB drive with the Windows 11 installation files, and then boot your computer from the USB drive. You can download the Windows 11 installation files from the Microsoft website.

Once you have booted from the USB drive, follow the on-screen instructions to install Windows 11. You will have the option to delete all partitions on your hard drive and create a new partition to install Windows 11. This will erase all data on your computer, so make sure you have backed up your important files before proceeding.

Wrap-up

High CPU and disk usage due to Windows Search Indexing can be frustrating, but there are several solutions that you can try. By letting the search indexer complete its run, identifying any software that make changes to files, reducing indexed locations, restarting Windows Search Services, rebuilding the index, or performing a clean install of Windows 11, you can address the issue and improve the performance of your computer.


Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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