Windows 11’s indexing tool is vital if you want fast access to your files, but sometimes the operating system will pause it for seemingly no reason.
The indexing tool in Windows lets you find your files and folders in a quick and easy manner. If the tool didn’t exist, your Windows search results would take a long time to complete.
Windows 11 users have complained recently that indexing has been paused automatically on their computers, making it impossible for them to use the search function. If you are in a similar situation, below are some effective troubleshooting methods that will help you identify and fix the problem in no time.
1. Restart the Search Service
Since this error is directly related to the Search service on Windows 11, the first thing that you should do is restart the service via the Windows Services utility. Windows Services is a built-in utility that lists down all the services installed on your system along with their statuses and startup types.
There are times when a certain feature stops working on Windows 11 because there is an issue with the relevant service (it might be disabled or stuck). In cases such as these, the most effective solution is restarting the service.
Follow these steps to do so:
- Press Win + R together to open Run.
- Type services.msc in the text field of the Run dialog and hit Enter.
- Once you are inside the Services window, locate and right-click on Windows Search.
- Select Properties from the context menu.
- Expand the dropdown menu associated with Startup type and choose Automatic (Delayed Start).
- Then, click on the Start button and hit OK.
- If the service is already working, click on the Stop button and then start the service again.
Alternatively, you can also use the Task Manager to restart the Search service.
- Launch Task Manager and head over to the Services tab.
- Look for Search/WSearch under the Background processes section and right-click on it.
- Choose Restart from the context menu.
Hopefully, this will resume indexing on your Windows 11 system.
2. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter
In every Windows version, Microsoft includes several built-in troubleshooting utilities that can come in handy in cases such as these. It is likely that you already know about SFC and DISM utilities if you’re like most Windows users that encounter issues with their systems now and then.
Windows comes with its own set of dedicated troubleshooters as well, which includes one for audio, Windows updates, network, power, indexing, keyboard issues, and the list goes on.
If the Search service is working fine, then you can try running the Search and Indexing troubleshooter to fix the issue at hand. There have been reports that Microsoft is already aware of the indexing issues being faced by the Windows 11 users and has issued automated fixes that you can apply via the troubleshooter.
Here is how you can run the indexing troubleshooter:
- Press Win + I together to open Windows Settings.
- Choose System from the left pane and click on Troubleshoot on the right-hand side.
- Select Other troubleshooters.
- In the next window, scroll down to the Others section and click on the Run button associated with Search and Indexing.
- Then, choose the issues you are having in the following dialog and click Next.
- Once done, the troubleshooter will begin scanning for potential problems. If any issues are identified, it will provide you with the option to Apply the recommended fix or skip it.
- Choose Apply this fix.
You can now restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved.
3. Rebuild Search Index
The issue might also be caused by an indexing glitch within your system. This is typically common in systems that do not meet the system requirements for Windows 11 entirely. If you have installed the new operating system version on incompatible hardware, then we recommend you try to rebuild the Search index and see if that helps.
Rebuilding the index will remove all its existing contents and place it back into its default state.
Here is what you need to do:
- Launch Control Panel and type indexing in the search menu.
- Click on Indexing Options from the search results.
- In the following dialog, click on the Advanced button at the bottom.
- In the Advanced Options dialog, click on the Rebuild button.
- Click OK. Windows will start rebuilding indexing now.
This process might take some time, depending upon the data stored on your system. We recommend not using the search feature till the process is completed.
4. Force Outlook to Use Built-in Search
If you are facing indexing issues within Outlook, then you can force Outlook to use its own built-in search instead of relying on the Windows Search feature.
Windows does not offer dedicated settings for this purpose, so we will be using an advanced utility called the Windows Registry to do so. However, since the Registry Editor is an administrative-level utility, we recommend that you create a Registry backup or use the System Restore utility to create a restore point before you proceed, just to be safe.
- Press Win + R to launch a Run dialog.
- Type regedit in the text field of the dialog and hit Enter.
- Inside the Registry Editor, navigate to the location below.
- Right-click on the Windows key and choose New > Key from the context menu.
- Name this key as Windows Search. Then, double-click on it.
- Now, right-click on an empty area in the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Rename this value as PreventIndexingOutlook.
- Double-click on PreventIndexingOutlook and type 1 under Value data.
- Click OK and then close the Registry Editor.
- Once done, restart your PC. Upon reboot, launch Outlook and check if you can use the search feature without any issues.
Back On Track With Indexing
You now know how to fix the indexing issue within Windows 11. Indexing involves searching through files, emails, and other documents on your computer and cataloging their information for later use. It saves you a lot of time by presenting you the search results faster.
To make sure you do not encounter such issues again in the future, make sure you keep your system updated.