SOLVED: Your Searches Might Be Slow Because The Index Is Not Running

Windows Server 2008, R2, SBS 2008, R2 and SBS 2011 do not install the indexing service by default so you end up with very slow searches and errors / alerts that look like:

and your desktop searches from Windows 7 and Vista, of network shares will be very slow.  You want something that will connect your desktop search to the servers index of files (and their contents) so that searches of the network are near instant and accurate.

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There are several solutions to this problem:

  1. Install the old INDEX service from Windows 2003 days (available through ADD ROLE SERVICES, under FILE SERVICES)
    1. This is bad idea, because it is old, slow and cludgy
  2. Install the new Search Server 2010 Express (or not express)
    1. This is a bad idea for most standard file servers because it is so heavy.  It even requires SQL.  Check out the full requirements here.
  3. Install Windows Search Service.
    1. This is a good idea for most standard file servers because it it very light, fast, and indexes the file names and the content (of most common format files)
    2. You might find this SBS 2008 Windows Search Service explaination useful.  It completely applies to all Server 2008, R2 and SBS 2008, R2 and 2011 versions.

On the off chance you don’t know how to add this, simply:

  1. go to your SERVER MANAGER
  2. select FILE SERVICES
  4. put a check mark beside WINDOWS INDEX SERVICE and click NEXT
  5. select the partition(s) you want indexed.  Generally this you will only select drives that contain network file shares and not the Operating System drive.
  6. wait 5 minutes for it to install (on the installs I have done, I have NOT had to reboot, but the installer tells you that it MIGHT request a reboot, so be prepared for that)
  7. After the install is complete you can check your services for WINDOWS INDEX SERVICE to ensure it is STARTED
  8. You may also want to view the indexing progressa and settings by clicking START, typing INDEX and then clicking INDEXING OPTIONS

Your searches on your windows 7 / Vista client, against the Windows 2008 file server will now take less than 3 seconds, which is pretty impressive.

I hope this helps!


  1. Avatar
    Ben September 1, 2018 at 4:18 am

    I disabled Indexing because it causes 100% IO and even system hang and reboot

  2. Avatar
    David F Mayer August 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Indexing produces huge overhead and is not a good idea.

  3. Avatar
    StefanS March 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks . You did a great job, fix one worked almost instantly. Currently I can use the win search without third party software. A tool which is called Lookeen has bridged the time between the start of the weak performance and your problem solving.

  4. Avatar
    hary August 30, 2012 at 6:57 am

    This is great solution. Thanks for sharing!

Questions or Comments?