4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 5, 2011 7:39 AM by the_wine_snob RSS

    Windows Indexing - What is It, and How Can it Affect Me?

    the_wine_snob Community Member

      What is Windows Indexing, how do I use it, and why might it be getting in the way, when I am doing Video editing?


      Well, most versions of Windows has a feature, called Windows Indexing. This is a little application that roams your system, looking for files, that it can Index, so that Searches are quicker. For many computers, it causes no problems, as it goes about looking at your DOC, and TXT files, compiling indexes to speed up Searches, especially for content. When it’s working, it’s behind the scenes, and usually causes no problems. When a DOC or TXT file changes, or is created, it will Lock that file, while it searches through its content for future Searching.


      Now, when one is doing Video editing, they are working with some large files. Windows Indexing cannot glean anything from the AV files, or from the various working files, that an NLE (Non Linear Editor) creates, and updates constantly. The inability to extract useful info from those files does not stop Windows Indexing from trying - and trying. The files get locked, so that the user, or the NLE cannot access them, when needed. Every time that one of these files gets changed, or written, Windows Indexing will immediately Lock it, as it attempts to do its job. This can cause all sorts of issues, and many slowdowns and even program crashes.


      One can find out if they have Windows Indexing turned ON, or not. It will be ON by default. Go to My Computer and click on each HDD (Hard Disk Drive), both internal and external, and then Rt-click, choosing Properties. In most versions of Windows, the Windows Indexing status will be shown near the bottom of the drop-down menu.


      This differs by version, but one can usually turn it OFF for the entire HDD, or can limit it to just certain folders. I turn it OFF, as I mostly do Video and image editing on my computers, but some do leave it on, but just for folders with their DOC and TXT files, as it does speed up Searches, and Windows Indexing can speed those up, for the DOC, TXT and some similar files.


      Hope that this explains why one might be getting “access denied,” “file locked,” and other errors, or major slowdowns, especially when working with large AV files, or perhaps when writing a DVD to a folder. Also, Render files can get locked by Windows Indexing, as it struggles to do its job.



        • 1. Re: Windows Indexing - What is It, and How Can it Affect Me?
          the_wine_snob Community Member

          Noel Carboni just posted some comments on Windows Indexing on the Photoshop Forum. Though there are some differences in the files being indexed, and some of the ramifications, I thought the info useful, so am adding it here:


          Disable Indexing

          Indexing is supposed to make it quick and easy to find things on your computer using Windows Search (that little box at the upper-right of Explorer windows).


          But when you think about it, does it make sense to read all the files on your disk, extract everything you could possibly want to search for, and store it on that same disk another way?  To even consider indexing providing better performance than just searching the files, Microsoft must be picking and choosing the data they think you'll want to look for (excluding data you WON'T want to search for), where you'll want to search, and in what kinds of files, and in fact they are.  How could they know everything you'll ever want to search for?


          They can't.  Not everything is indexed, and never will be!


          Try this:  Create a simple text file on your disk, in a temporary folder.  Call it "FindMe.log" and put in the text "This file contains important tax information".  Now navigate to that folder with Explorer and enter the word "tax" into the Search box at the upper-right.  Enter any of the words in that file!  Windows Search will not find the file, because it simply does not LOOK in .log files by default, and there's no fallback strategy - Windows Search simply does not index nor search for information for some kinds of files. Incredible!


          All it takes is ONE TIME searching for something you know is there and NOT finding it to destroy your confidence in Windows Search.


          And so they scan through your files endlessly, pick out the strings you might someday search for, and store them in yet another set of files (the "index").  As though your computer has nothing better to do.


          Not only is the basic premise of this wrong, but it's not even implemented very well.  The index often becomes corrupted, and so Microsoft has provided functions for you to clear and regenerate it.  Just what you wanted to be doing - NOT.


          Consider these shortcomings:


          • Some file types are simply not indexed or searched by default – e.g., .log files, and there's no fallback.  If you create a new file type no one's seen before, its contents will not be indexed.


          • Only strings Microsoft thinks you are likely to search for are indexed.


          • Because of poor implementation, indexing will miss things in some file types that are indexed – e.g., older Microsoft Word documents or files containing Unicode text (Microsoft's own invention).


          • Indexes often become corrupted and the Windows Search results fall out of date or it stops finding things entirely.


          • Indexing operations use computer time, increase disk wear, and interfere with your own access to your files.


          In summary, indexed Windows Search operations in Windows 7 simply can't be trusted to find your data in your files when it's critical, and so they're essentially useless.  Searching for filenames using Windows Search actually can be occasionally useful (though the syntax to ensure it searches only filenames is a bit tricky), but this doesn't require indexing.


          Moreover, indexing can actually interfere with file operations, causing your system to report disk corruption, because of an implementation error in indexing and NTFS (search the web for "Atomic Oplock", for example).


          So indexing should simply and utterly be disabled.  This won't actually stop you being able to try Windows Search - on the contrary with indexing off Windows 7 will actually search your actual files (within the limitations listed above) just when you tell it to, and (since indexing isn't implemented very well) it may actually INCREASE the probability that you might find what you're looking for.


          Here's how to disable indexing:


          1.        Click Start and enter services in the search box.


          2.        When Services (with little gears) comes up, click it.


          3.        Scroll down to the Windows Search service.


          4.        Right click it and choose Properties.


          5.        Change the Startup type to Disabled.


          6.        Click [ Stop ] to stop the service.


          7.        Click [ OK ].


          8.        Click Start and enter index in the search box.


          9.        When Indexing options comes up, click it.


          10.     Click the Advanced button.


          11.     Click the [ Rebuild ] button to delete the index.


          12.     It is a good idea to reboot after this.





          And a "thanks" to Noel for putting this together. As the thread that this originally appeared in has a lot of Photoshop material, and discussions on "other OS's" than Win7, I just exerpted this block.



          • 2. Re: Windows Indexing - What is It, and How Can it Affect Me?
            DayDaysMedia Community Member

            for the indexing, mines says that Indexing is not running. is that good or?

            • 3. Re: Windows Indexing - What is It, and How Can it Affect Me?
              the_wine_snob Community Member

              I turn Windows Indexing OFF for all drives that will be used in video editing. I do not want ANY other program accessing my files, while I am working. The same is especially true for any/all active scanning, real time Anti-Virus, Pop-up blockers or Spyware detection programs. They bring video editing to a halt and often crash the program, or the computer.


              Good luck,



              • 4. Re: Windows Indexing - What is It, and How Can it Affect Me?
                the_wine_snob Community Member

                The simple way to turn Windows' Indexing OFF is to Rt-click on the Drive Letter (say C:\) in My Computer, or Windows Expolrer, and choose Properties. There one will get this screen, and look down to the bottom, to uncheck Indexing:



                Note: some people will go in at the Folder level, and turn Windows' Indexing ON, for a particular folder (depends on the version of Windows), say for My Documents, to speed up Searches. This would be after they have disabled Indexing for the whole HDD.


                Also note: if one is using a HDD for video editing, Compression should be OFF too, as it will really slow down the editing, and likely cause the NLE program to time-out, when seeking reads, or performing writes.