In my last How-To I referred to changing your indexing options as a way to improve battery life. That got me to feeling like I really did not completely understand the Vista indexing service enough. Well, I did some homework and discovered a few things that might be of value to some of our GottaBeMobile.com readers.
GBM How-To Series #6 :Changing Vista Indexing Options
OK, let’s start with the basics for those who may need them. Just what does this indexing thing do for you? Well, think of it a a table of contents much like a book or manual would have to keep up with it’s contents and allow for a more efficient way to find content. The Vista index contains information about the files on your systems hard drive. Stuff such as filenames, properties modification dates, author, tags, etc. Thank goodness you don’t have to manually manage the index, it is all (for the most part) managed behind the scenes.
Now that we know what it does, how can we manage it? In my last how-to, I pointed out that you could modify indexing so as to help with battery life. That’s easy enough, but let’s look at this a bit closer. There are two lines of thought when it comes to indexing and battery life. Disable the service, or optimize it. For me, disabling the service is out because I guarantee that I will save a PDF or MDI of a receipt somewhere that seems like the place to put it, but forget about it an hour later. I want to be able to efficiently find the darn thing next time I need it. So, that leaves optimization of the indexing feature.
Vista Index Optimization 101
One of the best ways to cut down on index activity, is to put the types of files Vista keeps indexed on a diet. It would stand to reason that if you are indexing fewer files, you will have less index activity, less activity and there will be less hard drive usage, less hard drive use means less power consumed and therefore, more battery.
1. Click on the Start bubble, type “indexing” in the search field and press Enter. I know, you can also get there by going to Control Panel, System and Maintenance, Indexing Options, but hey, let’s make the index thing carry it’s weight!
2. The Indexing Options window will appear. Click Advanced, and if you get a UAC (User Account Control) , click Continue. The Advanced Options window will now display.
3. In the Advanced options window, click the File Types tab and un-check any filetypes that you know you won’t want to do a search for. Make sure that you understand the ramifications of deselecting certain file types.
4. When you have finished deselecting filetypes, click OK and let Vista rebuild the index. After Vista begins the reindex operation, you can close the Indexing Options window.
It will now take a few minutes (this process will complete much quicker if you will let the system alone for a while; say 20 minutes or so) for the new index to re-build itself. If you cannot do without the system while this process takes place, no worry’s, continue to use the computer and the indexing service will slow a bit and hopefully you will not notice.
In tooling around with my X60, I was able to eliminate about 6,000 files from the index by just telling it not to index my Visual Studio file types (about 7 or 8 flavors) and MP3’s that I NEVER search for. (Famous last words)
Another thought I had about cutting down on hard drive access is to change the location of the index file. I had grand ideas on re-locating it to the ReadyBoost compatible SecureDigital card in my X60. No luck. The Select New dialogue only sees physical hard drives, not removable devices. I’ll keep hacking away at that to see if there is a way to allow this.
Additional Indexing Tips:
|Re-Build the Index|
Add a file type to be indexed for search