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How to enable enhanced search mode on Windows 10

Windows 10 version 1903 introduces a new indexing feature to search all your folders and drivers, and here's how to enable and configure the feature.

Enhanced search mode on Windows 10

Although Windows 10 includes a search feature to help you find files and folders on your device, it’s been a feature limited to search only your documents, pictures, videos, and desktop by default.

Starting with Windows 10 version 1903 (coming in 2019), Microsoft is making changes to the search indexing with a new enhanced mode that users can select to search across all folders and drives, instead of limiting search to the default libraries.  

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to enable search in enhanced mode to allow the system to search all your folders and drives on Windows 10 version 1903 (April 2019 Update).

How to enable enhanced mode for search on Windows 10

To enable the enhanced search mode on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Cortana.

  3. Click on Searching Windows.

  4. Under “Find My Files,” select the Enhanced option.

    Windows 10 Enhanced search on version 1903
    Windows 10 Enhanced search on version 1903

Once you’ve completed the steps, the system will start a one-time indexing process that will enable you to use search to find files in all your folders and drives.

The process should take around 15 minutes, but the time will really depend on the number of files on your computer hardware.

By designed, to improve search performance, the feature will exclude temporary folders and operating system files. Also, the feature will automatically exclude folders and files that change quickly, like program data folders.

How to exclude folders for search on Windows 10

If you want to include or exclude folders, you can use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Cortana.

  3. Click on Searching Windows.

  4. Under “Excluded Folders,” click the Add an excluded folder button.

    Exclude folders from search on Windows 10 version 1903
    Exclude folders from search on Windows 10 version 1903
  5. Locate the folder.

  6. Click the Select Folder button.

If you want to include an excluded folder, just select the folder, and then click the Remove excluded folder button.

Quick Tip: Avoid indexing temporary folders and operating system files as they will slow down the performance of your system.

After completing the steps, search will only look at all the folders and drives, ignoring those in the excluded list.

If you don’t see these settings, it’s because you’re not running the version of Windows 10 that supports this feature. Enhanced search is available starting with Windows 10 version 1903, which is expected to rollout sometime in 2019.