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Windows 7: Can you index an external hard drive so any computer can search it?


10 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
Can you index an external hard drive so any computer can search it?

I have indexed an external hard drive so that it can be searched quickly in Windows 7 search. I want to know if there is a way to setup the drive with the index so I can mail it to someone who can open it on their computer, and then search through it without dealing with the time-consuming process of re-indexing.

I know that once the external hard drive has been indexed, the index file is saved in the location C:\Program Data\Microsoft\. Is it possible to copy the index file into the external hard drive, so that a user on another computer can effectively use/open the already created index file and then use it to search through the files instead of having to re-index?

If I created a new "index location" as the external hard drive, then indexed it, would this work? Windows support recommends against setting index locations in external hard drives.

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10 Jul 2012   #2

Windows 8 Core X64
 
 

Where under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft is this index stored? I can't seem to find it.
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10 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

If you search in the Windows 7 start menu for "Indexing Options" ---> "Advanced" ---> "Index Location" this is how I found where the index was stored. To get to the "C:\ProgramData" folder you need to show all hidden files and folders in the control panel settings. Once in the Microsoft folder there are a number of folders, one of which has to be associated with the index files. I'm assuming this is the "Search" folder.


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10 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Okay, so I delved deeper into the "Search" folder (see attachment for file structure) and got to the CiFiles (*.ci) that I believe are the index files themselves.

So if I were to reset my computer's index using the "Indexing Options" tool so only the external hard drive is indexed, will that then repopulate the CiFiles folder with only CiFiles pertaining to that hard drive? And if that is the case, can I then copy the CiFiles folder into the external hard drive? But then how will the non-host computer recognize the CiFiles and know to use them as the hard drive index? Hmm.


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11 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 8 Core X64
 
 

It would seem the index files have to be in a specific location. Doesn't sound like they are portable in the way you want to use them.
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 Can you index an external hard drive so any computer can search it?




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