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How to Hide Files & Folders From Search on Windows 10/11

When you search for a file or folder, Windows tries to find it no matter where it is in your system. If you’ve enabled the enhanced search feature, the search will be even faster and works from the Start menu too. However, Sometimes you might want to hide a file or folder from the Search in Windows. For example, maybe you don’t want your personal photos or financial documents to appear in the search. In that case, you can hide or exclude files and folders from Windows Search. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to do that in simple steps. Let’s get started.

Exclude Files and Folders in Windows Search

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

On Windows 10:

  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 the 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 are 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 the 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

On Windows 11

Press Windows key + I to open Settings.

Click on Privacy & Security on the sidebar of the Settings window.

On the right panel, click on the Searching Windows option.

Under the Excluded Folders section, click on Add an Excluded Folder button.

Browse and select the folder you want to exclude and click on Select Folder.

That’s it. The folder and all the files in it are excluded from the search on Windows 11.

And there you have it! Whether you are using Windows 10 or 11, excluding folders and files from search is that easy. Just follow the steps as we’ve shown and you are good.

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