How to search all your PC’s files in Windows 10’s Start menu

With the new Windows 10 May 2019 Update, you can search for all the files in your PC directly from the Start menu. However, it is by default disabled. This tutorial is meant to show you how to enable it and use it to search for files with an easy and quick procedure.

The issue is that when you search your Start menu, Windows only searches your desktop and libraries. For those who don’t know, libraries are made up of such folders on your system like Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos. If your files are located somewhere else, you won’t find them when you search from the Start menu.

In order to make a full search from your Start menu, go to Settings > Search > Searching Windows. Another way to do this is to click the “…” menu button at the top-right corner of the panel and select “Indexing Options”.

If you don’t happen to see the options presented above, it means that you are yet to install the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903).

From that point, you have control over the Windows search indexer which is the process which organizes the list of files Windows searches for in the background. When you search for any file, Windows surveys your search index to see if there’s a match on your PC thus making the search procedure fast but it also will keep the search index busy searching in the background for any files in the folders you decide to search.

If you want Windows searching everything on your PC, select “Enhanced”. Windows will of course warn that this may reduce the life of your battery and increase consumption of CPU since the indexer will be searching for more files. When you select the option, make sure you are connected to battery power for the initial index to be built. The status of the index can be found under “Indexing Status”, the “Pending” list is the number of options Windows has to go through before the index is concluded.

To make Windows search additional folders but not all, click “Customize search locations here”. After you’ve done that, add folders you want to search. If you have a folder D:\Files wherein your important files are stored, you can add it.

Scroll down and add “excluded folders” that Windows search index will not pay attention to. If you have folders with many files that change often and folders that you don’t give a damn about, you can add them to the excluded folders list. This way, you get to save battery power and use of CPU when your search results are being cleaned up.

Before the May 2019 Update to Windows 10, the Start menu did not pay attention to the search indexer, it wouldn’t matter if you could control search index options from the Control Panel or an older Windows 10, the results won’t affected in the Start menu, however, it will affect the results displayed when you search for files in File Explorer.

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