Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows  

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    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows

    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows

    How to Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows
    Published by Category: Performance & Maintenance
    28 Mar 2020
    Designer Media Ltd

    How to Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows


    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 search indexer backoff feature will reduce indexing speed while rebuilding the index when there is user activity, and will automatically continue at full speed when no user activity is detected.

    If indexer backoff is disabled, indexing will continue at full speed even when system activity is high.

    Starting with Windows 10 build 19592, the Windows Search Platform (Indexer) has been updated with improved logic to help find better times to perform indexing of your files and avoiding heavily indexing while you are using your machine. An improvement was also made to significantly limit the amount of times the service indexes your files for content that doesn’t have an impact on search experiences, and gives you a better experience on Windows.

    This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable indexer backoff used to reduce indexing speed when there is user activity in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

    You must be signed in as an administrator to enable or disable indexer backoff.



    Contents

    • Option One: To Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Local Group Policy Editor
    • Option Two: To Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff using a REG file



    EXAMPLE: Indexed backoff enabled and disabled
    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows-indexer_backoff_enabled.png Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows-indexer_backoff_disabled.png






    OPTION ONE

    To Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Local Group Policy Editor


    The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

    All editions can use Option TWO below.


    1 Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

    2 In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search

    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows-indexer_backoff_gpedit-1.jpg

    3 In the right pane of Search in Local Group Policy Editor, double click/tap on the Disable indexer backoff policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

    4 Do step 5 (enable) or step 6 (disable) below for what you would like to do.


    5 To Enable Indexer Backoff

    A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

    Not Configured is the default setting.


    6 To Disable Indexer Backoff

    A) Select (dot) Enabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows-indexer_backoff_gpedit-2.png


    7 When finished, you can close the Local Group Policy Editor if you like.






    OPTION TWO

    To Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff using a REG file


    The downloadable .reg files below will add and modify the DWORD value in the registry key below.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search

    DisableBackoff DWORD

    (delete) = Enable
    1 = Disable


    1 Do step 2 (enable) or step 3 (disable) below for what you would like to do.


    2 To Enable Indexer Backoff

    This is the default setting.

    A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.

    Enable_Indexer_Backoff.reg

    Download


    3 To Disable Indexer Backoff

    A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and go to step 4 below.

    Disable_Indexer_Backoff.reg

    Download


    4 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

    5 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

    6 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

    7 If you like, you can now delete the downloaded .reg file.


    That's it,
    Shawn






  1. Posts : 114
    Win10
       #1

    Windows 10 2004 has a bug and will occasionally not honor this setting. Weird.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 209
    Windows 10 pro x64
       #2

    Windows search service


    Hi.
    I think for the changes to take effect the service "Windows search" must be restarted after each backoff change.
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 17,040
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #3

    I'm also finding that the setting gets ignored.
    Restarting the computer after setting the Registry value makes no difference
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1288
    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows-indexing-speed-reduced-due-user-activity.png

    Enable or Disable Indexer Backoff in Windows-indexer-backoff-key.png

    I don't know when the problem started. I only noticed the problem earlier today when File explorer search failed to find a file I knew was there.


    Denis
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 17,040
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #4

    Try3 said:
    I'm also finding that the setting gets ignored.
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1288
    Index backoff works again now.
    I'm now on Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1526

    Denis
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 17,040
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #5

    Brink,

    I now think my post #3 might have been mistaken. Perhaps Indexer backoff behaviour was not faulty last year despite appearances.

    I have just re-indexed on a whim. I have Indexer backoff disabled.
    - Re-indexing started off correctly with no reduction in speed despite user activity.
    - Then, partway through & with only WMP [audio] in use, it slowed due to user activity.
    - Then, ten minutes later & still with only WMP [audio] in use, it resumed full speed despite virtually the same level of user activity.

    The only sense I can make of it is that there might be a threshold of instantaneous system loading that triggers Indexer backoff [despite it being disabled] and it might wait for another [lower-limit] threshold before resuming, an hysteresis effect if you will.

    I appreciate that you'll need more than my single experience to warrant adding an explanatory comment to the tutorial but perhaps this post will encourage others who have seen similar behaviour to add their tuppence worth.

    All the best,
    Denis
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 69,622
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Thank you Denis @Try3 for posting back with your results.

    It's possible Microsoft may have tweaked the indexer backoff a bit for this.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 114
    Win10
       #7

    This no longer works with Windows 10 22H2 and perhaps 21H2 or earlier. This also applies to Windows 11. Here is the NEW setting location ("Gathering Manager" key):

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager]
    "DisableBackOff"=dword:00000001

    IMPORTANT: This registry key is locked unfortunately, and you will need to take ownership and change the permissions. Here is How to do that before making the above change:
    Force Windows indexing to run faster - Office Watch

    Summary:
    1. Right-click on the ‘Gathering Manager’ item in the registry tree and choose ‘Permissions’ then the ‘Advanced’ button. Next to the listed Owner click the Change link.
    2. Type in Administrators & click Check Names button to verify. Click OK twice to return to the Permissions dialog.
    3. Set the Administrators group to Full Control & then click OK.

    Note: The Group Policy setting is broken in Windows 10 21H2 but works in 22H2. The above registry setting does work in both 21H2 and 22H2. HOWEVER, it's easier to use the Group policy setting if you have Windows 10 Pro 22H2 or later because the registry setting requires changing registry key permissions as discussed.
    Last edited by Intrepid1; 03 Nov 2022 at 20:54.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 69,622
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Hello @Intrepid1,

    I just tested the policy in the tutorial on Windows 11 build 25236, and it's still working for me.
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 114
    Win10
       #9

    I guess they fixed it in Windows 11. The group policy is not working in 21H2. I haven't tested the group policy in 22H2. But I know the old registry key does not work in 21H2.
    I found the new registry setting here after the old one didn't work in 21H2 and the indexer said it was stopping due to user activity: Force Windows indexing to run faster - Office Watch
      My Computer


 

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