Why it matters: Indexing content on a PC enables Windows Search to instantly show related items when prompted. Maintaining the index, however, comes at a performance cost, which is why the related service is designed to kick in when the PC is receiving little to no usage. Despite these measures, Microsoft's research has shown users frustrated with system slowdowns due to excessive CPU and disk usage caused by the Windows Indexer, an issue which the company will be addressing in its next major update to the OS.

Microsoft's hit-or-miss track record with Windows 10 updates leaves much to be desired, but its upcoming 20H1 update, the first of this year, is coming with plenty of new features and improvements, including a more efficient Windows Search experience meant to keep system slowdowns at bay.

As reported by Windows Latest, Microsoft's new algorithm for the Windows Search Indexer comes in the wake of extensive research conducted by the company last year, where Windows Insiders were found to be disabling the feature, citing "excessive disk and CPU usage, general performance issues, and low perceived value of the indexer."

Although the May 2019 update fixed previous issues related to Windows Search, Microsoft continued to work on refining the algorithm, which will now be included in the Windows 10 20H1 update.

The new changes (rolled out in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19025) are meant to lower the chances of system slowdowns and will stop or throttle the indexer in case of the following events:

  • Gaming mode is ON
  • Power savings mode is ON
  • Low power mode is ON (constrained mode or connected standby)
  • The device is waking up after being in low power mode or in a logon state
  • Device goes from AC->DC
  • CPU usage goes above 80%
  • Disk usage goes above 70%
  • The device’s battery charge is < 50%
  • The device’s display state goes to screen off

For developers, popular code repositories like Git (and project folders) will be excluded from the indexer, which Microsoft says is "partly because of the sheer size of these repositories and also because the tools developers use to interact with their repositories typically have their own indexers."

Microsoft's stable/public release of Windows 10 20H1 is expected to arrive in Spring 2020 with new features like better control over optional updates, enhanced Cortana, Cloud download for reinstalling Windows, improved Task Manager and the ability to go passwordless with Windows Hello sign-in or a PIN, among other features.