How to Hide Files and Folders From Windows search

Don’t want specific files or folders appearing in the Start menu or Windows search? Here is how to hide files and folders in Windows Search.

Windows has built-in indexing and search functionality. Depending on the system configuration, Windows will index all the files and caches them. Whenever there is a change, the index is updated automatically. The search function lets you search for any program, file, or folder on your hard drive. For example, whenever you search for something in the Start menu, Windows will automatically search the index and shows the program, file, or folder. If it cannot find anything, it will show web results in the Start menu.

Typically, Windows is set to scan and index system folders, libraries, and desktop only. That means Windows cannot index files located outside libraries and desktop folders. However, you can improve the search experience by enabling Enhanced Search. Once enabled, Windows will index the entire hard drive and all its supported files and folders. This allows you to search for any file or folder.

Though this is a good thing, there might be situations where you don’t want specific files or folders appearing in the Search. For example, maybe you don’t want your photos to appear in the Start menu search. In that case, you have to exclude folders in Windows Search manually. Excluding specific folders from Search gives you the best of both worlds.

In this quick and straightforward Windows guide, let me show you the steps to exclude or hide files and folders in Windows Search.

Hide files and folders in Windows Search

To specific files and folders in Windows Search, follow the below steps.

  1. Press the “Start key + I” shortcut to open Settings.
  2. Click on the “Search” option.
  3. Select the “Searching Windows” option on the sidebar.
  4. Click the “Add an excluded folder” button under Exclude Folders section.
  5. Select the folder you want to exclude.
  6. Click the “Select Folder” button.
  7. The folder is added to the Excluded Folders list.
  8. With that, you’ve hidden the folder from the Windows Search.

You can manage the Windows Search settings from the Settings app. So, open the Settings app with the “Start key + I” shortcut and go to the “Search -> Searching Windows” page.

Once you here, click the “Add an excluded folder” button under the Excluded Folders section.

click the 'Add an excluded folder' button

Next, select the folder you want to exclude and click the “Select Folder” button. If needed, you can choose an entire drive to exclude.

select folder to exclude

As soon as you do that, the folder is added to Excluded Folders list. From now on, any files or folders in the excluded folder will no longer appear in Windows Search. Remember that Windows might take a few minutes to update the index to reflect the changes.

hide specific files and folders in Windows search

To remove an excluded folder, click on the folder entry under the “Excluded Folders” section and click on the “Remove excluded folder” button.

remove excluded folder

That is all. It is that simple to hide specific files and folders in Windows Search.

I hope that helps.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

Scroll to Top