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Improve Start Menu & File Explorer Search with Enhanced Mode

For better search results in the Start menu and File Explorer, you should enable the Enhanced Mode for Search. Here’s how.

With its default settings, both the Start menu and File Explorer search is pretty slow. In fact, other than a few specific folders like documents, pictures, etc., you cannot find files stored in other directories or drives.

In the recent versions of Windows 10. i.e, v1803 or higher, Microsoft introduced a new feature called Enhanced Mode for Search. When you turn on Enhanced Mode in Windows 10, it will index all the files in your entire system. Once the files are indexed, your search operations both in the Start menu and File Explorer will be much faster and even a bit accurate.

Enable Enhanced Mode for Search in Windows 10

To turn off or turn on Enhanced Mode for Search in Windows 10, follow the steps shown below.

  1. Press “Windows Key + I” to open the Settings app.
  2. In the Settings app, go to the “Search → Searching Windows” page.
  3. On the right page, select the “Enhanced Mode” option under “Find my Files”.
    Turn on or off enhanced mode for search indexer windows 10

As soon as you turn on the Enhanced Mode for Search Indexer, Windows will start the indexing process. Depending on the number of files and the hard drive size, the full indexing will take some time to complete. So, sit back and wait until the indexing is complete. The full indexing is a one-time process and is pretty resource-intensive in terms of hard disk usage.

That being said, according to Microsoft, it will take about 15 minutes to start seeing the results in the Start menu search after enabling the Enhanced Mode.

Of course, after the one-time indexing is complete, Windows will add or remove indexes as you add, modify, or remove files. It will not re-index the entire hard drive every time there is a change.

Exclude Folders from Search Index

If you have specific folders that you don’t want Windows to index and appear in the search results, you can exclude them manually.

To exclude folders from indexing, these are the steps you should follow.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Search → Searching Windows” page.
  3. On the right page, scroll down and click on the “Add an excluded folder” button.
  4. Select the folder you want to exclude and click “Select Folder“.

As soon as you click on the button, the folder will be added to the exclude list. Once added, Windows will not index that specific folder. As such, any files in that folder will not appear in the Start menu or File Explorer search.

Disable Enhanced Windows Search

To turn off Enhanced Mode for Search Indexer in Windows 10, simply select the “Classic” option under the “Find My Files” section. This option will limit the search indexer to index only the files inside the libraries and on desktop.


Of course, you still search for programs and applications via the Start menu.

That is all. I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible. If you like this article, check out sticky notes keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation.

1 thought on “Improve Start Menu & File Explorer Search with Enhanced Mode”

  1. Avatar for wschloss

    Nice to know MS finally made it work; for years I have been using the outstanding SearchMyFiles from NirSoft, https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/search_my_files.html and still highly recommend it as the best of the 10-20 search tools I have tried out of many in the category. Of it’s many great features is that is still maintained and bugs killed several times per year.

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