Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10  

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10

    How to Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10
    Published by Category: General Tips
    21 Mar 2020
    Designer Media Ltd


    How to Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10


    By default, Windows will use the index when searching to give you faster search results. The search index only includes your selected locations. These locations can be filtered for what file types (extensions), file properties, and file contents you want indexed.

    The index uses the Windows Search service and runs as the Searchindexer.exe process in the background. The index will automatically rebuild and update for changes made to the included locations since the last index rebuild to increase search result accuracy. By default, the indexing speed is reduced due to user activity. If the computer is running idle, then the indexing speed will go back to full speed to finish indexing faster.

    Windows Search 4.0 and higher fully supports indexing encrypted files on local file systems by EFS, enabling users to index and search the properties and contents of encrypted files. Users can manually configure Windows Search to include encrypted files, or administrators can configure this with Group Policy. Windows Search ensures that only users with the correct permissions can search the content of encrypted files by honoring ACLs and by restricting access to users with decryption permissions for the files. Additionally, Windows Search restricts access to encrypted files to local searches only; Windows Search does not return encrypted files in search results when the query is initiated remotely.

    This tutorial will show you how to turn on or off to index encrypted files for all users in Windows 10.

    You must be signed in as an administrator to turn on or off index encrypted files.


    For security reasons, the indexing of encrypted files should not be enabled unless the search index location itself is protected with full volume encryption (such as BitLocker Drive Encryption or 3rd party solution).




    Here's How:

    1 Open the Control Panel (icons view), click/tap on the Indexing Options icon, and close the Control Panel.

    2 Click/tap on the Advanced button. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10-index_encrypted_files-1.png


    3 Do step 4 (on) or step 5 (off) below for what you want to do.


    4 To Turn On Index Encrypted Files

    A) Check the Index encrypted files box. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10-index_encrypted_files-2.png

    B) If the index location is not encrypted, then click/tap on Continue if you are sure. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10-index_encrypted_files-3.png

    C) Go to step 6 below.


    5 To Turn Off Index Encrypted Files

    This is the default setting.

    A) Uncheck the Index encrypted files box. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10-index_encrypted_files-4.png

    B) Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10-index_encrypted_files-5.png

    C) Go to step 6 below.


    6 Click/tap on OK to apply. (see screenshot below step 4A or step 5A)

    7 The search index will now rebuild to update. (see screenshots below)

    Turn On or Off to Index Encrypted Files in Windows 10-rebuild_search_index.png

    8 Click/tap on Close. (see screenshots above)


    That's it,
    Shawn




  1. Posts : 4
    windows 10
       #1

    Thank you for this post!

    I have a question before turning on the indexing of encrypted files:

    If I want to encrypt only one folder that contains my personal documents, while still being able to perform a full text search on the names and on the content of these documents.

    I therefore need to enable the indexing of encrypted files as per this post.

    But I dont understand the warning at the beginning :
    For security reasons, the indexing of encrypted files should not be enabled unless the search index location itself is protected with full volume encryption (such as BitLocker Drive Encryption or 3rd party solution).

    - Does it mean that I need also to completely encrypt C: drive before activating the index of encrypted files ? because I'm worried that it might slow down my system.

    -Or does it mean that I need to encrypt the index location (currenly this is "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data") instead fo the entire C: drive?

    Would the situation be different if I would have all my personal documents on an usb stick encrypted with bitlocker ? Would I then need to move the index location to the usb stick as well ?

    This is my first post, I hope I'm doing it right.
    Thanks
      My Computer

  2. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 56,187
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 21354
    Thread Starter
       #2

    dede2020 said:
    Thank you for this post!

    I have a question before turning on the indexing of encrypted files:

    If I want to encrypt only one folder that contains my personal documents, while still being able to perform a full text search on the names and on the content of these documents.

    I therefore need to enable the indexing of encrypted files as per this post.

    But I dont understand the warning at the beginning :
    For security reasons, the indexing of encrypted files should not be enabled unless the search index location itself is protected with full volume encryption (such as BitLocker Drive Encryption or 3rd party solution).

    - Does it mean that I need also to completely encrypt C: drive before activating the index of encrypted files ? because I'm worried that it might slow down my system.

    -Or does it mean that I need to encrypt the index location (currenly this is "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data") instead fo the entire C: drive?

    Would the situation be different if I would have all my personal documents on an usb stick encrypted with bitlocker ? Would I then need to move the index location to the usb stick as well ?

    This is my first post, I hope I'm doing it right.
    Thanks
    Hello Dede, and welcome to Ten Forums.

    Basically, anything in the index database could be viewed. Even the contents of an encrypted file that was indexed.

    Because of this, it's recommended to encrypt the drive the index is located to help prevent the above. It's not required, but only for better privacy and security purposes.

    You wouldn't want to move the index to a removable location. It's best to keep it on internal drives if not wanted on the default Windows drive.

    Usually, you will not notice any or much performance difference after encrypting the Windows drive if wanted. If you do, you could always turn off BitLocker for the drive.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 4
    windows 10
       #3

    Hi Brink,

    I have encrypted my C: Drive with bitlocker but I have now 2 issues:

    1) Avast was not able to start until now. I use it to save all my passwords. I had to restart my computer twice until it finally accepted to launch. I'm not sure if this might repeat.

    2) The data does not seem to be protected. When I copy a file from my desktop to a usb stick and open it on another computer, the copied files can be read without importing a certificate or providing a password on the other computer.

    Also something to report is that I selected the option to verify bitlocker before the encryption starts. As a result my screen went black but the computer did not restart nor power off. The fan was spinning hard but nothing on screen for at least 10 minutes. I pressed power to force restart. I logged normally on windows and when the explorer started I could see bitlocker process at approximately 1%. The entire encryption process took less than 30 min after that even if I selected the option to encrypt the whole disk 476Go in total.

    I precise that I closed all software except Avast during the encryption and I desactivated wifi.

    My system reports "C:Bitlocker activated" => drive icon with an open locker on it.
    I have the option to pause the protection or to desactivate bitlocker.

    Is this behaviour normal ? I encrypted my C: drive to avoid exposing sensitive data when my C: gets synched on a drive in the Cloud.

    I hope you can help.
    Dede
      My Computer

  4. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 56,187
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 21354
    Thread Starter
       #4

    dede2020 said:
    Hi Brink,

    I have encrypted my C: Drive with bitlocker but I have now 2 issues:

    1) Avast was not able to start until now. I use it to save all my passwords. I had to restart my computer twice until it finally accepted to launch. I'm not sure if this might repeat.

    2) The data does not seem to be protected. When I copy a file from my desktop to a usb stick and open it on another computer, the copied files can be read without importing a certificate or providing a password on the other computer.

    Also something to report is that I selected the option to verify bitlocker before the encryption starts. As a result my screen went black but the computer did not restart nor power off. The fan was spinning hard but nothing on screen for at least 10 minutes. I pressed power to force restart. I logged normally on windows and when the explorer started I could see bitlocker process at approximately 1%. The entire encryption process took less than 30 min after that even if I selected the option to encrypt the whole disk 476Go in total.

    I precise that I closed all software except Avast during the encryption and I desactivated wifi.

    My system reports "C:Bitlocker activated" => drive icon with an open locker on it.
    I have the option to pause the protection or to desactivate bitlocker.

    Is this behaviour normal ? I encrypted my C: drive to avoid exposing sensitive data when my C: gets synched on a drive in the Cloud.

    I hope you can help.
    Dede
    Dede,

    It sounds like Avast or something may have interfered or caused a conflict with BitLocker. However, it appears BitLocker was still able to successfully encrypt your Windows drive from what your system reported, so no worries about that.

    It is normal for a file to no longer be encrypted when you copy it from an encrypted source to an unencrypted location like a USB flash drive. If you like, you can encrypt the USB flash drive using option 1 in the tutorial below to keep it secured by BitLocker.

    Turn On or Off BitLocker for Removable Data Drives in Windows 10
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 4
    windows 10
       #5

    That's great, thank you for this link, I did not see this tutorial... now I think that I read all you posts about encryption

    I just realized that to bitlocker and folder encrpytion (properties/advanced/encrypt..) have different purposes !

    So I will indeed use bitlocker for my removable drive, that's a great tip, thanks! But besides, I need to put all my sensitive data in one folder and activate encryption, before it synchs on the cloud. That way, I will be able to open any of its files on my computer as usual, but when accessed from another windows account, it will require to import the certificate and the password to open....

    This saved me so much time and probably pain as well... thank you so much !

    All the best,
    Dede
      My Computer

  6. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 56,187
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 21354
    Thread Starter
       #6

    dede2020 said:
    That's great, thank you for this link, I did not see this tutorial... now I think that I read all you posts about encryption

    I just realized that to bitlocker and folder encrpytion (properties/advanced/encrypt..) have different purposes !

    So I will indeed use bitlocker for my removable drive, that's a great tip, thanks! But besides, I need to put all my sensitive data in one folder and activate encryption, before it synchs on the cloud. That way, I will be able to open any of its files on my computer as usual, but when accessed from another windows account, it will require to import the certificate and the password to open....

    This saved me so much time and probably pain as well... thank you so much !

    All the best,
    Dede
    One thing to note about syncing your encrypted files to the cloud (OneDrive) is that the copy on the cloud will not be encrypted unless you sync them to inside the Personal vault in OneDrive.

    Set up OneDrive Personal Vault in Windows 10

    How OneDrive safeguards your data in the cloud - OneDrive
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 4
    windows 10
       #7

    That's a problem. I'm not synching with GDrive but another local cloud service provider in Europe. Besides I'm also using a full remote backup (with increments) with another provider to be able to recover my system in case of need.

    Then I guess that I need to keep my data on the external drive and only the system on the C: drive so that the full backup does not include any data, but only windows, apps and apps data, since the provider does not have any vault...

    Regarding the drive provider...I'm not sure if they have a vault.

    But still, I don't understand why the data cannot remain encrypted. For instance, when I encrypt a folder and copy it to a usb stick, it is not possible to open it on another computer without importing the certificate. Why is this different in the case of the drive? Does it have to do with the sync process and the client app that I need to install on my computer ?

    Or is this specific to bitlocker in which case another encryption software would maybe make more sense for this use case ?

    This is bad news...
      My Computer

  8. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 56,187
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 21354
    Thread Starter
       #8

    dede2020 said:
    That's a problem. I'm not synching with GDrive but another local cloud service provider in Europe. Besides I'm also using a full remote backup (with increments) with another provider to be able to recover my system in case of need.

    Then I guess that I need to keep my data on the external drive and only the system on the C: drive so that the full backup does not include any data, but only windows, apps and apps data, since the provider does not have any vault...

    Regarding the drive provider...I'm not sure if they have a vault.

    But still, I don't understand why the data cannot remain encrypted. For instance, when I encrypt a folder and copy it to a usb stick, it is not possible to open it on another computer without importing the certificate. Why is this different in the case of the drive? Does it have to do with the sync process and the client app that I need to install on my computer ?

    Or is this specific to bitlocker in which case another encryption software would maybe make more sense for this use case ?

    This is bad news...
    You can check with your cloud service provider to see what security measures they use and if they have or offer encryption.

    Encryption will prevent accessing the encrypted drive until it is unlocked, and will prevent anyone from being able to read any files (unless unlocked) since they will just be an encrypted jumbled mess to read.

    When you move or copy a file from an encrypted source to any location not encrypted, it will no longer be protected or encrypted on the unencrypted location.

    Basically, the file will only remain encrypted if kept on an encrypted location. It would be important to encrypt all locations with BitLocker for this purpose.
      My Computers


 

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