How to Rebuild Windows Search Index in Windows 11

This post shows students and new users steps to rebuild the Windows Search Index in Windows 11. Windows Search Index is enabled by default. It allows for faster results when searching for files and other content from defined locations.

Windows Index will automatically rebuild when you add additional locations to be included in its index and provide results for additional content. The index will rebuild and update for changes made to include the new locations. Content stored at those locations will then be included with Windows Search results.

The index will also rebuild when you switch from Classic to Enhanced mode or vice versa. Once the index database is up to date, the correct results should appear when you perform searches.

If you run into situations where you’re not getting the correct results or some locations are not being included, you may have to force update the search index to pick up new changes that are being included.

The steps below show you how.

How to force Windows Search to rebuild its index

As mentioned above, you can force Windows Search to rebuild its index to fix issues. If Windows Search isn’t returning the correct results or not all locations are included, you may be able to rebuild the index to include new changes.

Below is how to do that.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Privacy & security, and select Searching Windows tile on the right pane as shown in the image below.

windows 11 searching windows

On the Searching Windows settings pane, under Related settings, select Advanced indexing option.

windows 11 searching advanced indexing options

On the Indexing Options window, select the Advanced button as highlighted below.

On the Advanced Options window, click the Rebuild button to force Windows to rebuild its search index.

Confirm to begin the rebuilding process.

Depending on the size of the index and the speed of your computer, this might take a while. If needed, you can click on Pause to stop rebuilding the index.

Once the rebuild is complete, you can close the windows.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to rebuild Windows Search index. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.