Deleted files are shown when performing a search in Windows

When you perform a search in Windows, files that were deleted earlier may show up in the search results. This is because the Indexing Service is slow to update its records. The time frame may vary from one system to the other. In case the search still continues to show deleted files, or if it does not show files that exist in the system, the indexing service may be out of date, and you may have to rebuild the search index to fix the problem.

Update: For a comprehensive method of rebuilding the search index, check out the article How to Reset & Rebuild Windows Search Index Completely.

Rebuilding the Search Index

Rebuilding the index can take a long time to complete, depending upon the number of files and available resources in the system. Follow these steps to rebuild the Search Index in Windows:

  1. Click Start, type Indexing Options. Press Enter
  2. In the Indexing Options window, click Advanced
  3. When the User Account Control prompt appears, click Continue
  4. To rebuild the Search index, click the Rebuild button
  5. Click OK when you see the following message:This operation will completely re-build the indexed locations on your computer and might resolve problems if your search results often appear to be out of date. This operation might take a long time.
  6. Click OK

Alternately, you can access the Indexing Options via Control Panel, or by running the command control srchadmin.dll from Start, Search box.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

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