If some files are not showing up on search results, it's probably because Cortana doesn't know where to look. Here's how to add alternative search locations on Windows 10. In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to enable Cortana to search all your drives connected to your computer, and how to remove those locations you want to prevent from indexing.
Cortana is your personal digital assistant in Windows 10. It's a feature designed to help you accomplish many tasks, including reminding you of important appointments, track packages and flights, and sync notifications between devices.
In addition, Cortana shares a deep integration with Windows Search and search on the web using Bing. If there is anything you need (e.g., image, document, or another type of file), you simply enter the query in the search box in the taskbar, and Cortana will return the best results based on local and online searches.
However, if you store files on an external hard drive or in different folders other than the defaults (Downloads, Documents, Music, Pictures, etc.), you'll notice that the digital assistant will never bring up those files in the results.
The reason is that Cortana relies on Windows Search for local files, and Windows Search uses a set of default configurations that specify which folders are indexed for search. And these default settings don't include additional storage locations you may have added to your computer or alternative folder paths.
How to add new storage locations for indexing on Windows 10Use the following steps to modify the default local search configurations, which Cortana can use respond accordingly to your search queries.
- Use the Windows key + X to open the Power User menu and select Control Panel.
- Change the view to Large Icons.
- Click on Indexing Options.
- Click Modify.
- Click Show all locations .
- On Indexed Locations, select the folders and drives you want to give Cortana permission to search.
- Quick Tip: If you have sensitive files (or videos), in this step, you can also exclude the locations you don't want Cortana to use to show search results.
- Getting Granular: If you want to index a folder, but you don't want a subfolder to be indexed, expand the folder and remove the checkmark for those files and folders inside it you don't want Cortana to consider during a search.
- Click the OK button to complete the task.
- Click Advanced.
- Click Rebuild.
If you have encrypted files stored on your computer, you always want to check the Index encrypted files option under Advanced Options.
- Click OK to confirm.
You can even go to the File Types tab and configure which files extensions you want to see in search results.