Windows Search Service is a new indexing solution that is included in Windows Server® 2008 as a role service in the File Services role. It creates an index of the most common file and non-file data types on your server—such as e-mail, contacts, calendar appointments, documents, photos, multimedia, and other formats extended by non-Microsoft files. Indexing files and data types enables you to perform fast file searches on your server from computers running Windows Vista, or from computers running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 with Windows Desktop Search installed.

Indexing Service is an indexing solution that is included with Windows Server 2008 and was part of previous releases of Windows.

Which indexing solution should I install?

You should install Windows Search Service, unless you have a customized or non-Microsoft application that requires you to run the legacy Indexing Service on your server. Windows Search Service offers several enhancements over Indexing Service, especially in the areas of extensibility, usability, and performance.

If you have applications that require Indexing Service, we recommend that you upgrade them to be compatible with Windows Search Service.

Can I install both indexing solutions?

You cannot install Windows Search Service and Indexing Service on the same computer. Both indexing solutions consume system resources when they are actively indexing volumes and folders—having both of them running at the same time could considerably affect system performance.

Selecting which volumes and folders to index with Windows Search Service

When you install Windows Search Service using the Add Roles Wizard or the Add Role Services Wizard in Server Manager, you are given the option to select the volumes that you want to index. We recommend that you select a volume only if that volume is used exclusively for hosting shared folders. Indexing files and data types in folders that are not shared on your network will not benefit client computers connecting to your server and will consume system resources.

If you want to index individual shared folders, you can add them later to the list of indexing locations by using Indexing Options in Control Panel.


When you install Windows Search Service, default indexing locations are selected, even if you do not select a volume to index. You can review the default locations by using Indexing Options.

Modifying the indexing locations

After you install Windows Search Service, you can use Indexing Options in Control Panel to add or remove folders and volumes from the list of indexing locations. Membership in Administrators, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at

To modify the indexing locations
  1. After installing Windows Search Service, in Control Panel, double-click Indexing Options.

  2. Click Modify.

  3. If there are no indexed locations listed, click Show all locations. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Yes.

  4. To remove a folder or volume from the list of indexed locations, select it first in the Summary of selected locations list, and then unselect the check box for it in the Change selected locations list.

  5. To add a folder or volume to the list, select the check box for it in the Change selected locations list.

  6. Click OK when you are done making all modifications.

  7. Click Close to exit Indexing Options.

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