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FAQ: How to completely reset WDS / Windows Search

by Brandon on April 20th, 2007

Sometimes index corruption or other problems with Windows Search cannot be fixed by the “Rebuild Index” option in the control panel.  One troubleshooting option you can try is to tell the indexer to reset the indexer to its out-of-the-box default setup.

For WDS 3.0 on Windows XP or Windows Vista:

  1. Open Regedit.exe
  2. Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE node
  4. On the right-hand side of the screen, you should see a REG_SZ value named “SetupCompletedSuccessfully” which normally is set to a value of “1”.
  5. Double-click on the value and change it to 0.
  6. Restart the Windows Search service (either using the Services control panel, or the command line “net stop wsearch” followed by “net start wsearch”)

This will result in a rebuild of your index and will also reset your crawl scopes (folders to be indexed).  It may also reset certain Indexing-related settings.

From → WDS FAQ

  1. Phil Czapla [cha-pla] permalink

    Brandon, regarding adding metadata to files and folders that can be found via WDS per this article:

    Does anyone have a program to add a right context menu item to a file or folder to make the metadata entry easier???



  2. Allen permalink

    I have this problem happen on 2 systems now, where if I try to rename a file, it just sends explorer into a locked loop – by killing explorer, and starting it again, the rename takes place.

    Now, I tracked this back to Indexing service, and made the changes as advised here, to reset the indexing service. It fixed it one one pc, but not the other. –

    When I do this on the second PC, the windows search service now refuses to start. any ideas?

  3. Duane Kelsey permalink

    This was great!!! Thank you. The hard drive has stopped thrashing now.

  4. jessedziedzic permalink

    An all ’round incredibly written article!

  5. Hey,

    Thanks this helped me out alot. I used the powershell way of doing this instead though 🙂

    Here is the link:


  6. John H. Mountcastle permalink

    Excellent write-up. Worked well for me. The underlying question is, why must I do it every two or three days?

  7. I can’t explain you how much I searched this.

    A few month ago I messed up my index locations and it wouldn’t index stuff I used before (like indexing Control Panel). I couldn’t manage to reset the indexing locations whatever I tried. I even posted questions and forums and everyone kept saying to rebuild my indexes, but of course that wasn’t the problem.

    So, thanks for writing this post almost 7 years ago 🙂

    Have a great day and cheers from Romania 🙂

  8. I see many interesting posts here. Your website can go viral easily, you
    need some initial traffic only. How to get initial traffic?

    Search google for: Jemensso’s tricks

  9. Tymo permalink

    So big relief – finally working solution. Even in Windows 10.
    “small change in regedit and big step of saving my time” 🙂

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