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?
Denis O commented
To prevent losing data, all of my documents, Visio stencils, pictures, etc., are in OneDrive. The inability to index them breaks many default Windows functions.
Makes no sense, MSFT.
As a writer with many hundreds if not thousands of Word doc files, I find the fact that I can no longer search content on OneDrive with Windows Explorer enraging. I am going to have stop paying for Windows 365/ OneDrive as it is now useless to me.
My work around: When I need to do a search for email - I created a link to the online Outlook interface - finds the email fast - however sucks you cant index Onedrive on the Outlook desktop version and now I have to do 2 separate searches for docs vs. emails
Rolf E commented
I found a solution: the flag "Sparen Sie Platz" or "Save storage" in the Microsoft OneDrive Configuration must not be set, then the folder for onedrive comes up in the search configuration
Rolf E commented
Microsoft is pushing cloud computing and excluding cloud storage with onedrive from search - thats not good
David Slater commented
This is completely stupid. Only files from OneDrive subfolders are save to the cloud, so that's where I put them all. Now I can't find them in File Explorer search.
I have about 475,000 indexable files and the nature of my business is that I frequently want to find files I haven't referenced for years.
What am I supposed to do? Spend the next 10 years opening each one so it's indexed individually?
To take away useful functionality is ALWAYS STUPID.
Put it back.
Until last week I could search local OneDrive files from the Windows Search bar just fine, this suddenly stopped working. Now it makes no sense to continue using OneDrive, as the prime functionality was its integrated experience from Windows, Office and mobile. I just makes no sense to me why Windows will not show me search results of my own LOCAL files (that happen to be in my local OneDrive folder). This is a total dealbreaker.
Microsoft's strategy to differentiate itself from Google...no tagging, no searching! If you can't remember where you put it, you don't deserve to get it back...
The ability to search file contents has been REMOVED?!?!?!?!? This is insane. Maybe this is part of a ploy to force people into the online environment, but if so, this is terrible. I have a 1 TB account, which has a lot of data in it. I have relied on windows index to locate search terms WITHIN files that I can't otherwise locate. I find this functionality to be incredibly useful as a tool to find what I want in my ever growing heap of data (anyone find they have less data and fewer files than before...? Probably not).
Note: others have mentioned that this happened after the Fall Creators updated in 2018. I only noticed this recently in late summer 2019. I certainly have successfully searched for indexed items in my OneDrive more recently than that.
Kristian Krpan commented
Is this some kind of a joke, not being able to index content in 2019?
Microsoft needs to understand that this problem limits the usefulness of my Office 365 subscription. Since I can't index my data on OneDrive, I have to look into DropBox or GoogleDrive for storage.
That makes me wonder if there is something better than an Office 365 subscription.
Dear Microsoft, please don't wait for this vote to reach some threshold before this fix is prioritized. Probably millions of users are just as frustrated as commenters here, but simply don't know where to turn to complain about it. They just learned to either live with this major pain OR leave.
WORKAROUND FOR SEARCHING ONEDRIVE PDF FILES LOCALLY:
After following the instructions detailed in the following article I was able to search the contents of PDF files! NOTE: I had to rebuild the index for this to work.
1. Install Adobe's PDF iFilter
2. Click the Advanced button under Indexing Options
3. Check both options for PDF iFilter under the File Types tab
4. Rebuild the index in Windows
5. Pray that Microsoft will eventually fix this!
Microsoft.... can you please comment on this!?!??!
This is a bug which has been introduced, and should be fixed ASAP! To call this a feature is both weird and arrogant. It's insane that the only option currently is to switch to a different cloud service (google or dropbox) to have files that are backed up to a cloud indexed..... This is just weird.
I had been wondering why my searches were taking so long, but hadn't the time to dig into it. This was not the answer I was hoping to find. Microsoft, really? You can't make indexing available? So, i can have a list of all the files that are in the cloud, but you can't find a way to index that? This just seem so backwards. Hundreds of gigs of data, and we have to twiddle thumbs on every search? This is such a basic need for every user it seems completely illogical to not provide it. Dropbox, Google Drive, Asus WebStorage, these can all be indexed, how can your own cloud service not be? Please correct this.
Let's make this straight. Because of this I can't keep my music collection available on all devices AND have it searchable even though it is already downloaded (not on demand, always kept on device!) simply because index refuses to find onedrive folder in folder view / browse? By design?
I can on google drive.... Because it is not soo integrated (literally onedrive's strongest selling point)......
"indexing engine cannot index a file not kept on the device (ie. on demand files)"
Why not? It is just a matter of indexing the onedrive folder and then downloading and keeping the latest version of index. Would be too expensive for you Microsoft? So charge it under business class... Again I nominate Microsoft for the most jerk company.
Scott Frappier commented
I was shocked that this was not an option. On my PC, OneDrive is a folder that I can access with all of my other applications, but the indexing services doesn't allow me to index that location. I had to backdoor it by adding my OneDrive folder to Documents (include in documents) and then disable the file stubs for offline files. The quality of Windows seems to be degrading with each release...