How to add a network folder to the Windows search index

In Windows 10, the default search function indexes Internet Explorer history, Start Menu and all user folders on the system partition. What if you want to add a network folder to the search index in Windows 10? For example, say you have a NAS (network-connected storage) device and you have a bunch of videos, pictures, and files on it that don’t fit your PC?

In this article, I will show you how to add a network folder to the search index so that when you search for files from Explorer, you will also get results that include files stored in the network folder.

Note: Technically, the Windows client will not add the network location to the local search index. Instead, it will pass that search to the server, and the server will perform the search using its index. If you are trying to search for a NAS device, it will do the search in real time, so the results will take some time to appear. If searching for a Windows Files server, you need to make sure that the search index on the server includes all desired locations.

Step 1 – Share the folder

The first thing you want to do is share the folder that you want to index. You’ll need to share the folder on your NAS or on the server, if it’s files stored on a Windows PC, for example. For example, I want to include some files stored on my Windows 7 PC in the Windows 10 search index. Here are the three test files I want to include:

test folder

So I went to Windows 7 and shared the folder by right clicking and selecting Characteristic.

folder sharing

Then I clicked Share navigation, Advanced sharingchecked Share this folderclicked Permission And for Everyone is in full control. Obviously you don’t have to give everyone full control, I’m just doing it here because it’s easier to set up.

Step 2 – Map the Drive Network

Next, you have to map the folder as a drive in Windows 10. You can do this by opening Explorer and then clicking Network at the bottom. Find your NAS, file server, or PC in the list, then double-click it to see the shared folders.

Go ahead and click on the shared folder and then click Easy access and Map as drive. Note that you can also just right click on the folder and select Mapping a network drive. You will need to provide credentials to log into the file server or network PC.

Note that unless both machines have the same username and password, you will need to check Connect using different logins and then enter the username and password for that computer or file server. Now when you access the computer, the mapped drive will be listed.

Now right click on the network drive and click Characteristic. At the bottom, be sure to check Allow files on this drive to have indexed content in addition to file attributes.

After you do this, new files will be scanned and included in Windows 10’s search. Depending on how many files have been added, it may take some time before you start seeing results. . Now when I do a search I see files from my mapped NAS folder:

Sweet! Also, note that for certain file types like Word documents, it also indexes the contents of the file, so you can search inside text files etc. As I mentioned earlier , these files are not indexed in the local search index. . If you click Start and enter indexing options, you will see that the mapped network drive location is not listed nor can it be added.

It basically does the search in real time, that’s why it will be slow if you have a large number of files on your network share. That’s about it! Also, be sure to check out my post on how to rebuild the search index in case you don’t get all the results you want when doing a search. If you have any problem with finding network location in Windows 10, post a comment here and I will try to help. Interesting!

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