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?
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...
Ian Buckley commented
What may customers need is an integrated search tool across desktop / onedrive and sharepoint... irrespective of where the files are local.... The indexes already exist on the cloud so why not make them accessible in the indexing options in windows 10? I am hoping for this feature to be fully integrated Windows and Virtual desktop on Azure!
I don't if it has got better or worse. Now documents in my one drive ARE found, in the cloud. So the document spreadsheet which one drive backs up for, opens in a Web browser. One Note, Opens in a web browser. It's on the hard disk but can I find it if I'm not connected ? Of course not because the search goes up to the cloud.
It doesn't seem a lot to ask that if I have an XLSx file under my home directory it gets indexed and opened in excel … even if it is in the one drive folder.
Searching PDF contents in a onedrive folder that is shared among multiple users/computers/colleagues is super duper crazy awesome useful.Saves me tons of time looking for a reference that I saved once upon a time.
this lack of feature/bug/or wtv reason why they broke this function is a huge deal breaker.
Evernote is looking very attractive now to store PDFs.
I will look into buying a drobo and setting up my own cloud storage facility. at 500$ for the device that will work for a "lifetime", it beats microsoft's inability to carry out this function that is costing me 100$ per year plus the cost of my time looking into PDFs one by one.
functionality beats price - hands down
get your sh|t together microsoft!!
WILL HAVE TO ABANDON ADOPTION OF ONEDRIVE ENTERPRISE-WIDE DUE TO INABILITY TO SEARCH FILES WITHIN WINDOWS IN SYNCHRONIZED FOLDERS.
SEARCHING ONLINE EQUALLY USELESS, CANNOT COPY/PASTE OR MODE SEARCH RESULTS TO ANOTHER FOLDER OR DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN LOOK AT THE RESULTS.
Alex Marti commented
Thanks to you all, I now finally understand why I can't find my study files' content by searching on my onedrive folder. @Microsoft, with the vast amount of data nowadays even on private systems it's paramount that data can be found quick and easily (somehow this reminds me of the missing find folders in outlook).
Rich Duggan commented
We have discovered a different, but related, problem related to search and Files on Demand and are wondering how widespread it is. We engaged a multi-day support incident with Microsoft without a resolution. All they did was direct us to UserVoice. Very frustrating!
We have an Office 365 for Education tenant and have been migrating users from our file servers to OneDrive with Files On Demand. Starting in the last week or so we are finding files and folders being downloaded even though our OneDrive default is set to "Save space and download files as you use them" via group policy. If we right-click the folder and select "Free up space" the files return to placeholders temporarily, then start downloading again with SearchProtocolHost.exe listed under the file being downloaded in the OneDrive status box. This is happening both with folders/files in users' individual storage and in shared storage in Office 365 groups. Some of our groups have very large amounts of data that exceed the capacity of their local hard drives, which is why we waited for Files on Demand before we started this migration. We can't continue until this is solved. We are running Windows 10 Version 10.0.17134.228 and OneDrive 18.131.0701.0007. We have discovered that disabling and stopping the Windows Search service stops the download problem, but this is not an acceptable solution.
The agent I was working with has acknowledged that she was able to reproduce the problem in her test environment, but she was unable to connect us with a bug ID or other formal acknowledgement of the issue. I have no confidence that the Windows team has any knowledge of this problem and this is a serious flaw in the OneDrive/Windows relationship which has the potential to cause widespread damage. This issue should be escalated until we know the plan for resolution and a KB article, or a hotfix, is issued.
This is still an issue at version 1803. No options to add OneDrive to indexing locations.
Amit Bansal commented
Search is seriously a headache. It simply wont show results of documents that I know are there in various folder. Further, searching documents from onedrive seems to be another special **** altogether. Note that these are documents that are on my local machine, but search still wont find them. I'm not even expecting search to find stuff that's on the cloud and not synced, just the ones that are already there. Such a frustrating experience.
I absolutely HATE not being able to search my OneDrive Business folder! I HATE it! It is costing me time and money! I have a full sync copy of OneDrive on my computer, and I do NOT have Files On-Demand turned on. The files reside on my computer, and I cannot search them.
Is it true that Microsoft did this on purpose? I have 59,452 files in 3,262 folders. What am I supposed to do now??