Windows Search enables you to search for files, folders, and documents stored on your local file storage. Along with that, it can also fetch you results from OneDrive and the web for easy access. Typically it is one of the fastest ways to find a file as it is usually a system-wide search, and you tend to get results instantly.

However, if you notice that search times have increased significantly, whether over time or suddenly, or it is not displaying documents stored in a particular folder, you might need to tweak the functionality as per your requirements.

On the flip side, you can also configure the Search feature to only look in specific directories where you usually tend to pile up files to make the Search faster and more accurate. Whatever your reason, this guide will cater to you just fine. However, before you begin to make all sorts of changes to the feature, it might do you good to learn exactly what makes it slow and sluggish.

Why does Search get Slower Overtime or not display Results from a Certain Directory?

The search functionality is powered by the Indexer that keeps track of all the files and folders on your local hard drive and provides the location of any particular file.

In layperson's terms, think of an indexer as a table or list with the address for all your documents, and whenever you search for something, it is matched against that list and returns the address of the matched value.

While fewer than 30,000 items are typically indexed, the Indexer can index 1 million items. Any more than that, and it may either simply crash whenever you perform a search or cause extremely high CPU, RAM, or disk space usage issues.

That being said, as soon as you breach the 400,000 indexed items mark, you can see a significant drop in the performance of the search functionality. Moreover, the size of indexed files also impacts the performance.

To make matters worse, many small files combined with a few large files are known to compound the problem, which is usually the case since you may have files of different types and sizes.

Fortunately, not all hope is lost, and multiple ways exist to fix the issue. Now that you are acquainted with the 'Why' of the problem, let's get on to the part about 'How' to resolve it.

1. Update Windows

One of the most elementary and effective methods to resolve the majority of issues is to make your system up to date.

First, head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' tile.

After that, click on the 'Windows Update' tile from the left sidebar to proceed.

Then, on the right section, click the 'Check for updates' button. Otherwise, click the 'Download & Install' button to download the updates. If the updates have already been installed, click 'Restart Now' to restart the computer and apply the changes.

Once the system is updated, check if it was able to speed up the search process. If not, hop on to the next fix.

2. Restart Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer handles most, if not all, GUI components of the operating system – mainly the Desktop, Taskbar, and Start Menu. If something is wrong with the GUI elements, returning search results could take longer than usual.

To do so, right-click the Taskbar and choose the 'Task Manager' option.

After that, click on the 'Run new task' button. This will open a separate window on your screen.

Next, type explorer.exe in the textbox and click on 'OK' or hit Enter on your keyboard.

Your screen might flicker momentarily. Do not worry; that simply means the Windows Explorer has restarted successfully. Now, check if this method improved the search performance on your PC.

3. Run Windows Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

The next logical step would be to run the Indexing troubleshooter that can look for systemic errors and fix them for you.

First, head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' tile to proceed.

After that, ensure that you have selected the 'System' tab from the left sidebar.

Then, click on the 'Troubleshooter' option from the right section.

Next, click on the 'Other troubleshooters' option to proceed.

Afterward, locate the 'Search and Indexing' tile and click on the 'Run' option. This will bring a separate window to your screen.

The troubleshooter will now run on your system and detect anomalies in the system. Once done, it will fix the issues or suggest appropriate actions to rectify them.

4. Disable Web Search in Start Menu

As mentioned earlier, Windows search not only allows you to search your Apps, files, and documents but also provides results from the web. Web search has been known to cause an unnecessary slowdown of the feature, and if that's the case, turning it off will resolve the issue for you.

First, head to the Start Menu and type Registry Editor to perform a search. Then, from the search results, click on the 'Registry Editor' tile.

After that, either type or copy+paste the below-mentioned address in the address bar and hit Enter to navigate to the directory.


Then, right-click the 'Windows' key and hover over the 'New' option. Next, click the 'Key' option and rename it to 'Explorer'.

Afterward, right-click the 'Explorer' key and hover over the 'New' option. Then, select the 'DWORD' option. Rename the created file to DisableSearchBoxSuggestions.

Finally, double-click on the newly created DWORD file. This will open its properties.

Now, overwrite the 'Value' field to 1 and click 'OK' to save the changes.

Finally, restart your PC to disable the search in Start Menu and check if that restored the search performance.

5. Modify Indexing Options

As mentioned earlier, the performance of search functionality highly depends on the number of indexed items on your computer along with its configuration. So modifying the indexing options can help.

First, head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' tile to proceed.

After that,  click on the 'Privacy & Security' tab from the left sidebar.

Afterward, click on the 'Searching Windows' tile from the right pane to continue.

Then, click on the 'Advanced indexing options' tile to proceed. This will bring a separate window to your screen.

Now, click on the 'Modify' button to continue. Also, you can see the total number of items indexed on your computer.

Afterward, uncheck the directories that don't contain files that you tend to search usually or directories with a very large number of files. Once done, click on 'OK' to save the changes.

6. Rebuild Search Index

If even after modifying the search index, you were not able to see a noticeable boost in the performance, there could be something wrong with the search index itself. All you would need to do is refresh it to eradicate the issue.

First, head to the Start Menu and click on the 'Settings' tile.

Afterward, head to the 'Privacy & Security' tab from the left sidebar.

Then, click on the 'Searching Windows' tile to proceed.

Afterward, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the 'Advanced indexing options' tile. This will bring a separate window to your screen.

Click on the 'Advanced' option from the separately opened window to continue. This will again open a separate window on your screen.

Finally, click on the 'Rebuild' button and click 'OK'.

There you go, folks, methods mentioned above are bound to fix the sluggish search performance on your Windows 11 computer. Let us know which method worked best for you in the comments section.