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Windows 7: Search file names only

08 Dec 2009   #11

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

This is to correct an inaccurate statement I made above. It appears Win7 can optionally index filenames only, on a per-drive basis. The setting is in Explorer, right click on drive properties, and under general tab, clear checkbox titled "Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties".

However when applying those changes to all files on the boot drive, I got this error:

Error on C:

Access denied

"You will need to provide administrator permission to change these attributes"

I hit 'cancel', but the checkbox stayed clear and it appeared the content indexing went away -- however I rebuilt indexes to be sure.

Filename-only indexing was clearly in effect, as I only got filename matches after making the above change, not content matches. Despite this I couldn't tell any performance difference between that and doing content indexing of my entire C and E drives, about 550GB total and 186,000 items indexed. Maybe my quad-proc 3.8Ghz i7-860 compensates for this.

During these tests I noted Windows indexing cannot do a leading wildcard indexed search. IOW a leading wildcard will cause a scan, vs an indexed lookup. That is typical of indexed access methods. However the free utility Everything.exe apparently does leading wildcard indexed lookups -- it's just as fast as when using a trailing wildcard, or none at all.

Based on these tests, my advice is leave content indexing turned on. Despite the previous speculation in this thread that filename-only indexing should be faster, that's not so (at least on my PC).

Adjusting Windows 7 indexing is a little confusing, since the UI entails visiting three different places: Explorer drive properties | general tab, control panel | indexing options, and control panel | folder options | search tab.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Search file names only

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