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Win 7 Indexing & SSD install


Kurt Hanson
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Diabling indexing is not mandatory just recommended for the actual SSD. The indexing file is updated constantly every time a file is changed and updated.

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Really, all you need to do is click on the Windows menu (Start Menu), and type "Indexing Options" in the search box. Remove all file locations currently stored on your SSD, and then leave the rest alone. The service will still run, but it won't build an index. This allows you to continue leveraging Search Service features without generating too many writes on your SSD.

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Ok, but before I can let this go, one more thing. I checked the Indexing Options to see what's what and noted that there are 9,162 items indexed on my laptop. To me, that doesn't seem like a lot. But to be fair, this laptop is not used for anything more than email and Internet browsing. So would you still maintain that indexing be shut off as you proscribed? Would you say that in my case, since the number of items indexed is relatively small (yes? no?), that I can leave indexing on? I'm curious. How many items are you guys seeing in your index?

 

Also, what do we actually lose when we shut off indexing? Quick email searches? Document searches via the Search Bar in the Start Menu?

 

@mrossco - Or am I missing the whole point? Are you saying that with an SSD, indexing provides negligible speed improvement? It's only with slower reading HDDs that indexing provides any real benefits?

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Even though we all agree on SSD set up, I like to have manufacturer links to back up our suggestions when possible. They also have a few other tricks we have already talked about on BYOB.

 

"Indexing is a trick Windows uses to speed up the search for information on your hard drive. This helps on rotating media (HDD’s) but doesn’t provide any benefit on an SSD, and only increases CPU overhead."

 

http://blog.corsair.com/?p=3989&cpage=1

 

F40indexing2.jpg

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Tim, I understand where you're coming from, but in the blog post, it says to turn off indexing, but it really doesn't answer "Why?". And, it certainly doesn't indicate what the benefits/consequences are of disabling the service.

 

In short, dvn hints at the fact that if you don't have much on your laptop, then you may not need to worry about it. Microsoft installs the Windows Search feature and sets the service to "Automatic" by default. While it automatically makes all kinds of tweaks based on the detection of an SSD (disable Prefetch and Superfetch, disable Defragmentation of the SSD drive, etc.), it does nothing to the configuration of Windows Search. Ultimately, (and I believe the BYOB guys have said this before) you don't have to do anything. Install your SSD, install your OS, and have fun.

 

So, why is everyone so obsessed with disabling Windows Search service? Why are people chosing to just disable the service as opposed to removing the feature entirely? (http://www.ghacks.net/2009/03/06/uninstalling-features-in-windows-7/)

 

For the most part, people are obsessed with reducing the amount of writes and deletes on their SSDs to improve life and reduce performance degredation. Since SSD read performance is so fast, the index that Windows Search generates provides very little benefit. Windows Search is a great feature of Windows 7, and should be retained on the install. Can't find a program, just type in its name, and Windows 7 will find it for you. Need to find every e-mail in Microsoft Outlook and document in Word or Excel that references someone in your company? Simply type their name in the search box, and let Windows Search do the rest. Many people loath this feature (I blame the original Windows Desktop Search), but I personally find it very useful, especially for those that are not so computer savvy. Here's some more information on Windows Search and the features it offers:

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/windows-search

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Searching-in-Windows-frequently-asked-questions

 

The little known fact about Windows Search is that the Windows Search service is only a small part of the Windows Search feature. The feature brings a lot to the overall Windows 7 experience, but the service itself is only responsible for 3 basic tasks:

 

  1. Maintain one index that is shared among all users.
  2. Maintain security restrictions on content access.
  3. Process remote queries from client computers on the network.

 

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa965362(VS.85).aspx

 

The first item is the one everyone is trying to stop when they disable the Windows Search service. Turn off the service so it can't maintain an index, and this will reduce the number of writes on your drive. Most of the other search-related features will work, but their won't be an index to use. Since an SSD is so fast when it comes to reads, we barely notice a difference. What we might see, however, is a jump in CPU utilization when we are using Windows Search and no index. For you Oracle and SQL Server folks, think index seeks vs. table scans.

 

The last item on the list is what interests me most. What most people don't see very often in a home network environment is Windows Search's ability to contact other computers on the network and leverage their indexes when performing network-wide searches. This is very useful in a corporate environment where file servers and even SharePoint lists and libraries can be searched. I can also leverage this feature with my own Home Server since I keep many of my personal documents, music and movies there. I add the network shares to my Windows 7 libraries, and I search just as I would with files on my local PC. Because I can connect to and leverage the index on my Home Server's spindle drives, Windows Search returns results very quickly and I don't really even have to think about it!

 

So, rather than disable the Windows Search service, I would instead recommend that you use the "Indexing Options" dialog, and configure Windows Search as Microsoft originally intended. There, you can remove folder paths from the index (don't worry, they'll still be searched). Remove all folder paths and their won't be anything to index, and, therefore, no unnecessary writes. If your PC is a desktop, and you have a 2nd spindle drive installed, you can also use the "Indexing Options" dialog to move the index files themselves over. That way, you can feel ok about indexing your spindle drive, have Windows Search perform faster, and still not generate unnecessary writes to your SSD.

 

That's it! No mess, no fuss. No checkboxes on files or folders to mess with. No services to disable. Nothing. You retain all the Windows 7 goodness while still reducing the writes on your SSD.

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The last item on the list is what interests me most. What most people don't see very often in a home network environment is Windows Search's ability to contact other computers on the network and leverage their indexes when performing network-wide searches. This is very useful in a corporate environment where SharePoint lists and libraries can be searched. I can also leverage this feature with my own Home Server since I keep many of my personal documents, music and movies there. I add the network shares to my Windows 7 libraries, and I search just as I would with files on my local PC. Because I can connect to and leverage the index on my Home Server's spindle drives, Windows Search returns results very quickly and I don't really even have to think about it!

 

 

This is very usefull with your home server too. Especially if you are the sort who stores your my documents folder on the server.

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The Michaels helped me move the indexing to the spindle drive when I first installed the Vertex 2 in November. I thought we covered that in a podcast so I will check the show notes to see which show we talked about it in.

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Thanks to all for this discussion. I believe I've finally grasped the logic of mrosso's suggestions. Makes sense to me now.

 

Oh, and yes, I also used the MMT method with my PC's SSD + HDD configuration and moved the indexing file storage location to my HDD, along with Windows temp files and Internet temp files and such.

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Thanks to all for this discussion. I believe I've finally grasped the logic of mrosso's suggestions. Makes sense to me now.

 

Oh, and yes, I also used the MMT method with my PC's SSD + HDD configuration and moved the indexing file storage location to my HDD, along with Windows temp files and Internet temp files and such.

 

I just Googled "MMT" to see what method you were talking about. Then Duh.

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