How to fix Windows Search Indexer’s high CPU utilization

By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read
high cpu usage search indexer

The Windows Search service is one that indexes files for the Windows search tool. That service is the SearchIndexer.exe or Windows Search Indexer process listed on Task Manager’s Processes tab.

However, some users have found that the Search Indexer process can hog a lot of system resources with high CPU and RAM usage. This is how you can reduce the Search Indexer’s high CPU utilization.

Fix searchindexer.exe high CPU usage

You can check the Search Indexer’s CPU utilization with the Task Manager. Right-click the taskbar, and select Task Manager from the menu. Select the processes tab, and scroll to the Microsoft Windows Search Indexer, or SearchIndexer.exe, process. The CPU column highlights the CPU utilization of each program and service.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

1. Restart the Windows Search Service

  • Restarting the Windows Search service might reduce the Search Indexer’s CPU usage. You can do that by pressing the Win key + R hotkey and entering ‘services.msc’ in Run’s text box.
  • Press Run’s OK button to open the Services window.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Scroll down to Windows Search.
  • Double-click Windows Search to open its configuration settings shown directly below.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Select Disabled from the Startup type menu.
  • Press the Stop button.
  • Press the Apply and OK buttons.
  • Restart the Windows OS.
  • Thereafter, open the Windows Search service window again.
  • Select Automatic (Delayed Start) from the Startup type drop-down menu.
  • Click the Start option, and press the Apply and OK buttons to restart Windows Search.

2. Reduce the Amount of Indexed Data

Reducing the amount of data the Search Indexer is indexing is one of the best ways to cut down its CPU and RAM usage. You can configure the locations the Search Indexer indexes via the Indexing Options window. In addition, you can adjust the file types the service indexes.

  • To open Indexing Options, press the Cortana taskbar button.
  • Enter ‘indexing’ in the search box. Then click Indexing Options to open the window shown directly below.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Press the Modify button to open the Indexed Locations window.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Click the arrow beside the C: drive to expand its folders. Now you can deselect some of the check boxes to remove indexed locations.

Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Press the OK button on the Indexed Locations window.
  • Click Close on the Indexing Options window.

3. Rebuild the Index

If reducing the indexed locations doesn’t greatly cut the Search Indexer’s CPU utilization, you can also select to rebuild the index. Rebuilding the index can resolve numerous Windows Search issues. You can rebuild the index as follows.

  • Open Indexing Options as outlined above.
  • Click the Modify button, and deselect all the selected locations except the C: drive as shown below.

solve Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Click OK to return to the Indexing Options window.
  • Press the Advanced button to open the tab shown directly below.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Press the Rebuild button on the Index Settings tab.
  • That will open the dialog box shown directly below. Press the OK button to confirm and rebuild the index.

ALSO READ: Windows 10 taskbar search box receives an intelligent search experience


4. Switch the Search Indexer off

This might be a more drastic resolution, but you can switch the Search Indexer off if you don’t really need it. That will certainly ensure it doesn’t hog any system resources. You can do that by disabling Windows Search via the Services window as covered above. Windows 7 users can also switch the indexer off as follows.

  • Enter the keyword ‘windows features’ in the Control Panel’s search box.
  • Click Turn windows features on or off to open the window directly below.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

  • Deselect the Windows Search check box.
  • Press the OK button to confirm the new settings.
  • Reboot your desktop or laptop.

If you need a replacement for Windows Search after switching it off, there are plenty of alternative third-party search utilities.

For example, you can install the freeware Agent Ransack, Copernic Desktop Search Lite or UltraSearch. Agent Ransack is highly rated search software that has a Lite and Pro version. Press the Download button on this website page to add the Lite version to Windows 10, 8 or 7.

This software guide provides further details about some of the third-party search utilities for Win 10.

fix Windows Search Indexer high CPU

So that’s how you can cut the Windows Search’s CPU and RAM usage down to size. That will free up system resources for other software and might also speed up the Windows OS a little.

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