OneDrive indexing for WIndows Search
I am not sure I am at the right place to post this, but since some Microsoft engineer said here would be a more appropriate place for my post in Microsoft Community, here it goes (don't shoot me if this is considered cross posting):
Prior to installing the Fall Creators Update on my Windows 10 machine last week, all my files stored in any of my OneDrive subfolders were indexed and fully searchable through Windows Search. For example, entering ‘content:management‘ in the upper right search box would return all the documents (PDF, Word, etc.) that contained the word ‘management’.
Right after the installation of the Fall Creators Update, none of my files were found when using Windows Search. Either the index was deleted or, to paraphrase Microsoft support people, the option was removed ‘by design’.
However, as I continued to use my machine, I would try to search occasionally to see if perhaps the indexed had been rebuilt. Windows Search would slowly return more and more results as the days went by. I thought the index could not be rebuilt so slowly, one file at a time over the span of several days. At this pace, it would take months to index my 50 GB of files in my OneDrive folder! Today, I discovered as I open files from my OneDrive folders, they are indexed on the fly and thus made searchable by Windows Search.
Is this the new way OneDrive files are supposed to be indexed? Who thought one would only be interested in searching files he or she had previously opened, disregarding the others? While I do understand that the indexing engine cannot index a file not kept on the device (ie. on demand files), is there a way to force the indexing engine to ‘pick up’ all the files that are always kept on the device without the need to open them one by one?
How is it possible that in 2021 you cannot index a folder?
Jonathan H commented
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but is it really correct that to search 400Mb of Word documents I have to turn off files on demand, lose the ability to selectively sync and therefore have to download 230Gb of cloud-only data on a limited mobile data connection? In 2021?
Manuel Eduardo Correia commented
If One Drive is to be considered as a viable option for the long term archive of files, advanced search via indexing of those files is absolutely essential. It doesn´t matter wether we have a local copy or if the file resides on the cloud. A searchable index is a must...
Chris S commented
now im resorting to a 20...30 year old Locate32 that works like a charm, speedy accurate, lightweight.. Then combined it with Excel power query. Now I have a quick search, tables, links, tagging and graphs. MS Windows search has always been terrible. We should have this out of the box in 2020/21
This is ridiculous...how can OneDrive files in your PC NOT be indexed in 2021?!
Common guys, instead of begging to get OneDrive files indexed and easily searchable 2-years later... this is all aiming and shooting WAY behind the duck here.
We should instead be wrestling with discussing and voting on how MS should be tuning and nuancing functionalities like:
1. universal file tagging schema applicable to all file types,
2. the use model for using an interactive visual knowledge graph of our indexed file attributes and tag schema, and
3. how to best improve content creation in MS documents using both of the above interactively to improve productivity and knowledge utilization
Take a look at the latest Brain 12 beta, or where Roam Research is and is heading.
Voting to get the EXISTENCE of basic indexing capability is like having to vote for 64-bit OneDrive desktop syncing for 4-years.
And this feature suggestion is not even currently tagged as being UNDER CONSIDERATION at this point.
Totally appreciate, use and depend upon the MS ecosystem for apps.
But, there are "killer app-innovations" with mature and more than adequate proof of concept examples out there just begging to be implemented that would add HUGE value for customers.
Turn on indexing for Onedrive!
Greg Malone commented
How is this even possible? I can't get a speedy search of my Onedrive files... indexing won't do it. What universe is this?
Turn on indexing for Onedrive!
Upvoted; Index everything, make it easy to find, reduce inane/arcane folder structure requirements... think graph databases. Imagine if everything on your hard drive, cloud drives, in code, all text, all images, everything, were searchable without regard for file structure. We wouldn't have to worry (as much, possibly at all) about structured file saving. Let's make this ****** a hive of data.
Lauren Fergot commented
Agree with the "reduces cognitive load" comment. I depend on search and keywords vs folder organization. I have lost 2 hard drives and have finally switched to keeping my files on onedrive... but if I can't search for them then it's useless. Please please please stop making things more disruptive for the neurodiverse!
This is just sad. Indexing reduces cognitive load in doing normal things on your computer. MacOS has spotlight. It doesn't give you web results or any of that. Just your files. What an idea. I would want access to my files. without digging around the convoluted explorer.
To give an idea of how I wanted to start my evening. Index a few commonly used files to launch on windows search bar quick. Then work on my game development. Instead of saving time for my future self I lost an entire evening. It is 3 hours later and all I did was find out the feature was removed.
Just store your files on Dropbox. It works fine
For what is worth, Indexing is working properly when syncing "Shared Libraries" (from SharePoint Online/Teams, etc.).
It is however not working on your personal "OneDrive" within the same organization.
My guess is that, Microsoft is finding a way to enable that one as well, but that priority was given to the files you are less likely to want in your drive (shared folders). After all, you might want to always keep a copy of your files "just in case".
PS: I totally agree with the intent of the OP and gave him my 3 votes. I'm just saying the above "for information".
Let's bring back indexing for Onedrive.
Victory! I found the solution at the end of a post. As you can see if you use MS Troubleshooter for the indexing, it will say that it lack write access to OneDrive's directory. It looks like the problem is OneDrive getting its directory as readonly (apparently this goes along with the "files on demand" feature).
So here is how you can include OneDrive in your index for Windows Search:
1. Disable "Files on demand" in Onedrive settings
2. In the index settings OneDrive should now appear:
2a. Open the Index Settings app
2b. Click on Modify
2c. Look for your OneDrive directory (usually looks like C:\Users\JohnDoe\OneDrive)
2d. Make sure it is ticked and save
3. Wait until the index update is over (rebuild index if necessary)
4. Enjoy having an index that works with OneDrive!
OneDrive online searches well and fast, but requiring users to perform multiple searches (as in needing to search Outlook .pst files separately from Windows Search of local files) to obtain comprehensive results is an impractical, unacceptable and even unsustainable solution. It's also user unfriendly, and it invites mistakes in all environments.
David Slight commented
April 2020, any updates on this?
Anyone in Redmond reading this?
Please enable indexing of OneDrive for Business and personal.