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How can we improve the OneDrive experience on Windows?

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?

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  • Salem Korayem commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I understand that indexing needs file content to be downloaded first which onedrive doesnt do now unless you disable it or download a specific file.

    What's beautiful is OneDrive web interface search actually indexes ALL your files with its content, in the CLOUD

    wouldnt it be beautiful to have Windows Search pass my query over to the web through APIs to search through my indexed files?

    this will also save precious local storage which is used by search index

  • Matt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I have two computers that sync to my OneDrive. On one I use files-on-demand, the other I don't. They might be different builds; one seems to be on the business cycle, the other on the consumer cycle. The business one is the one that uses files-on-demand and it has many problems with both search indexing and syncing to OneDrive. Indexing gets stuck and OneDrive is always processing changes. I have O365 syncing turned off. It seems like O365 files cause a lot of problems. They constantly show up as pending sync (on-demand). I just don't think this thing really works reliably yet (sigh).

  • Myles commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    For those using OneDrive for Business/SharePoint Online and needing fast indexed searches you could try Zee Drive. Zee Drive maps network drives to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online and provides a fast indexed search feature directly from the File Explorer context menu.

    You can find our more here

    Disclosure: I work for the company that develops Zee Drive.


  • Travis B commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Once again, Microsoft had an opportunity to take things two steps forward and instead they chose to take a step back.

    Why would I NOT want to search my files, just because I only have a placeholder for those files on my local drive, with the content downloading on demand? Even worse, when I DO have those files fully stored on my machine, Windows' indexer still won't even consider them - every search results in nothing found, and I can't even point the indexer to my OneDrive folder by browsing to it.

    The only way to search my files is by going to OneDrive online. However, that searches EVERYTHING (which is horribly unuseful). I know exactly the folder which has the course and lesson subfolders containing the few hundred files with a few thousand pages I need to search through. I don't want the thousands of other documents in my cloud storage that also contain "tech".

    Here's how MS could have done things right from the very beginning. OneDrive online ALREADY has those files indexed, it just needs to sync that index onto any local machine where I've set the desktop app to "sync" my files. The local machine never needs to index those files/folders, because the cloud servers are already doing it, all the time. And even if they want to farm the indexing load out to my local machine as it uploads files for the first time, I don't care. As a programmer, I'm just so sick of mediocre design missing the obvious right thing to do.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    "The solution is ---------> Uncheck "Files On-Demand", in onedrive settings, and OneDrive will be shown in Indexing Options"

    This hasn't worked for me....does it require a reboot inbetween?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The solution is ---------> Uncheck "Files On-Demand", in onedrive settings, and OneDrive will be shown in Indexing Options

  • Mateja Kovač commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yep, this is definitely due to the "File On-Demand" feature. I think that Windows Indexer, when this option is turned on, does not look at all of these files.

    Some show up, some show up when searching with other keywords but not their filenames, some never show up. I'm talking about files that are already downloaded to my PC, not the one that have the cloud icon. Some files will show up with the location tag "OneDrive", but those open OneDrive web interface, which is silly.

    I've enabled indexing for the whole HDD where my OneDrive folder is, and looking at the folder tree all of the folders are present except for the whole OneDrive folder.

    This is detrimental to the feature of syncing local folders to OneDrive. Files and folders you search for most cannot be searched for at all. So, the whole feature becomes useless. You end up keeping everything on your PC and not on OneDrive.

  • Geoff Atkins commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I encountered a problem of impossibly slow OneDrive updates that were preventing me from using OneDrive. MS Support eventually told me to disable indexing of One Drive. I assumed this was a temporary workaround, however, I also now see that the option has been removed. It used to work fine so presumably it can be fixed but I echo everyone's frustration. I have nearly 400GB of data on my OneDrive and individual searches run for ever. Not good enough Microsoft - get a grip!!!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Been trying to work out for ages why I cant search for files....tried all the trouble shooting I could find online, only to find that MS has designed one drive files to be non-indexable? I recently moved all my files from dropbox (where they are indexed) to one drive so cannot believe this WTF? Is there anyone with any common sense at MS?
    Looks like I will simply have to move everything over to dropbox....

  • hhgygy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is absolutely stupid, you hold your documents in your OneDrive folder, because you TRUST Microsoft and their cloud service and they don't allow files indexing there.
    What a mess of an operating system this is!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Im having the same problem, indexing seems messed up in latest windows update. Tried un linking re linking and rebuilding index, no luck. Is there a fix?:

  • Philippe Bruno commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    UPDATE: After investigating a bit more, I also found out another difference that turned out to be the trigger for showing/not showing "OneDrive" in Indexing Options. In OneDrive Settings, when enabling "Files On-Demand", OneDrive disappears from Indexing Options. When unchecking "Files On-Demand", OneDrive is shown in Indexing Options. Hope this helps.

  • Philippe Bruno commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    For some obscure reason, OneDrive appears in "Indexing Options" on *one* (and only one) of the Windows 10 (Fall Creators Update) machines I manage. Machines are identical HP desktops... The only difference I can think of is the one where OneDrive appears in "Indexing Options" was upgraded to Fall Creators Update at a later time. How stranger could this get?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Josh Calais Burt commented "You do realise you can edit what gets indexed in explorer." - that is not true for local OneDrive forlder.

    Also, tried re-indexing of index, OneDrive files (Iocal or not) are still not indexed. Also, tried resetting file properties ("Allow this file to have contents indexed in addition to file"), no results.

    I cannot understand how it is possible to ***** up so many things by MS all the time... and then not fix it on months end ...

  • Tayfun Dagdelen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    That is the worst thing I faced since our enterprise jumped into onedrive environment. I have synced about 100 gb files with thousands of items to search through regularly during the work day. However, I simply can not!! Please add this feature asap to make onedrive even more useful. Hope the responsibles in MS pay attention enough to this issue

  • Harut commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with Bruce Rusk... I have my Onedrive folders in a separate drive to avoid using space on C: and the OneDrive folder is not selectable in "Indexing Options" and it is not possible to add the location even though I see all the other folders in the same drive and I have local copies of all the files. It would be nice if someone from Microsoft commented on this thread so we know it is something they are working on to correct in the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators' Update.

  • Bruce Rusk commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    In response to the comment from Josh Calais Burt, the problem is that (at least in the latest version of Windows 10) it is not possible to add the OneDrive folder to the selection in the Indexing interface. That folder simply does not appear in the selection dialog. In the past, it appeared as a separate, special entry, just as Outlook, Internet Explorer History, and OneNote do, but that option is gone. This happens regardless of whether any files are set to be on-demand or not.

  • Josh Calais Burt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    You do realise you can edit what gets indexed in explorer.
    Or it may just be that the files your referring to may be on-demand and are unable to be indexed until there is a local copy.

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