Windows Search Gets More Efficient in Latest Windows 10 20H1 Build

Microsoft is releasing the second Windows 10 20H1 build of this week today. The company just pushed out build 19025 to Insiders in the Fast Ring, and it includes one minor new feature.

Microsoft has been releasing new 20H1 builds more frequently nowadays, though the builds have been quite minor in terms of new features, often only including general fixes and no new features.

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Today’s build is pretty similar, and it includes only one new feature. Microsoft says the company is introducing a new algorithm for the indexer in Windows Search that makes it more efficient in terms of CPU and disk usage. The company said it carried out extensive research with Insiders over the last year to identify critical problems in the Windows Search indexer that led to some Insiders disabling Windows Search completely. And so, Microsoft simply started asking Insiders within Windows to give some feedback on why they disabled the feature as soon as they turned off Windows Search.

And the main reasons turned out to be excessive disk usage and general performance issues.

The new system for the indexer makes it so the indexer stops searching your files in the background or throttles it down at peak usage times. That includes things like when gaming mode, power savings mode, or low power mode is turned on, or when CPU usage goes above 80%, or when disk usage goes above 70%. Essentially, the new algorithm makes it so the indexer adapts to your computer’s usage and battery health, so it doesn’t disrupt everything else you are trying to do.

There’s also a number of general fixes and improvements in the update, so make sure to checkout the full changelog here. 

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Conversation 10 comments

  • remc86007

    15 November, 2019 - 2:40 pm

    <p>This is desperately needed! I got one of the new AMD Surface Laptop 3s on launch day and have used it for multiple hours per day ever since. I think the indexing behavior of Windows might have contributed to some of the negative opinions about the device and definitely hurt some of the battery testing. Here is what I have experienced: </p><p><br></p><p>I am an attorney and our firm uses Dropbox to sync approximately 250,000 files (99% of which are text files or pdfs under 50KB). I synced the whole thing on the day I got my laptop. Since then, every time I use the PC the Windows Indexing services have been taking 10-15% cpu usage even when on battery! I have manually paused it a couple times when I know I need the extra battery life. Why in the world is there not an option pause indexing on battery? It would also be nice, if there were an option to select called "full power indexing" or something that would use 100% of all the CPU threads and just power through until the indexing is done. Having it run on one thread at medium load even on battery is the worst of all worlds. It takes forever and drains the battery!</p>

    • warren

      15 November, 2019 - 6:42 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#489485">In reply to remc86007:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Situations like yours are why Microsoft has worked on extending the Windows Explorer search to also search OneDrive content in Windows 10 1909. If you were using OneDrive instead of Dropbox, you would be able to search all those 250,000 files without syncing all the files to your system first, then waiting for indexing to finish.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • ralfred

      Premium Member
      18 November, 2019 - 10:29 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#489485">In reply to remc86007:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>There's an option under Search settings called "Respect Device Power Mode Settings". I'm not 100% sure what it does, but sounds like you might be able to get a little control over the indexer that way.</p>

  • Intara

    16 November, 2019 - 1:27 am

    <p>The indexing was always one of the first things I did deactivate on my Windows system. I never liked the idea that a huge index of my private files is compiled and stored on the disk just to speed up searching. There are other methods of searching available which do not require indexing. E. g. I use a tool called "agent ransack" which does searching my files very quickly and which does not require indexing. </p>

  • techreader

    16 November, 2019 - 4:19 am

    <p>Good to hear. A long time coming, but still good. </p>

  • ghostrider

    16 November, 2019 - 7:48 am

    <p>Ahhhh, Windows Search. Probably one of the most broken, resource sucking features of Windows that's never worked properly to this day. Looks like MS are having yet another crack at getting it working, but don't hold your breath!</p><p><br></p><p>A couple of years back, I actually made the mistake of enabling the 'Search' feature on a couple of Enterprise file servers. Sure, there was a few million files on the server, but I tweaked the settings, thinking it would be ok. Two initial observations – first, the 'searchindexer' service was regularly consuming 50% or more CPU during times I told it not to, and second, when staff tried to access any folders from a network share, there was a &gt;5s delay while the server thought about it, and tried to query the local index before showing the list of files. After less than a week, I turned it off, and have never used it again.</p>

  • maktaba

    16 November, 2019 - 11:05 am

    <p>Windows Search cannot search inside OneNote notes saved in the cloud yet their mission is<span style="color: rgb(60, 64, 67);"> to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more?</span></p>

  • nbplopes

    18 November, 2019 - 2:48 am

    <p>When actually getting the product to work is a feature. How low is the bar?</p>

  • Winner

    18 November, 2019 - 2:59 pm

    <p>How could it get less efficient?</p><p>I can search the entire web on Google faster than I can my own machine with Microsoft.</p>

  • driftsk

    19 November, 2019 - 8:46 am

    <p>I guess we might thank Dona Sarkar to some extent. After all, she was the one bragging about it:</p><p>"…<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">she was also in charge of the entire search experience in Windows 7 and 8, saying "Any time you needed to find something in Windows, you used my feature. That’s my baby!" </span></p><p><br></p>

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