Do you have a process that won’t die? Tired of searchindexer.exe calling you at home to harrass you for the rent? Do you have credit card debt?

Your solution is here! OK, what you want to do to prevent searchindexer.exe (searchprotocolhost.exe) from spawning every time some MS product loads, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Start > Run
  2. Enter ‘services.msc’ and hit Enter.
  3. Find ‘Windows Search’
  4. Punch the screen (just kidding)
  5. Double-click (on the Win Search item)
  6. Set ‘Start-up type’ to ‘Manual’.
  7. Click the ‘Stop’ button if it is enabled (because that means the service is running)
  8. Click the ‘Log On’ tab
  9. Select each hardware profile item on the list, one at a time, and click ‘Disable’ for each one.

That should stop it from running without hacking your system to bits. Now, I have to say that I have NO IDEA what this is going to do to the searchability of your MS products. I mean, if Outlook is firing it up, it must be indexing your e-mail with it or something, so who knows what effects it could have ultimately. But in the mean time, enjoy the CPU time you’ll save, which I believe translates to energy savings as well. It must, right?

If I’m wrong, educate me.

38 Responses

  1. Nice πŸ™‚
    Im also contributing to powersaving efforts by disabling microsoft perversions.

  2. I found out that the “searchindexer.exe” file comes to XP when you install WINDOWS DESKTOP SEARCH.

    However, this article WAS EXCELLENT

  3. The best I could tell, even totally disabling the process AND unchecking the box on C:’s properties window that allows indexing of the drive didn’t slow searchindexer down for me. I went to the Windows/system32 folder and renamed the file. It’s working so far (except for an error message during bootup!).

  4. I follow the steps to stop the searchindexer.exe from executing follwoing your instruction but it keep coming back. I am on Windows Server 2003. Any suggestion?


  5. @martiini: nice.
    @micky: glad you liked it.
    @david: ok – that works!
    @robert: you’re welcome.
    @judy: nice.
    @yoav: I don’t have a server to test it on. When you go into Services (Start > Run > ‘services.msc’ and find the Windows Search item, does it say ‘Manual’ for the startup type? If not, try the procedure again. If it still continues to plague you, then Win2k3 must be switching it back on somehow. And if that’s the case, then my question to Microsoft is: “What’s the point of Administrative Tools, then?”

    Good luck!

  6. Agree – it’s a pain and best removed. Interesting that “Manual” start-up works – it completely ignores the “Disable” start-up setting, which is what I’d done previously, without success. Just one word of warning – if you have Outlook 2007 installed and try to use Instant Search after stopping Windows Search, you may well discover (as I did) that it either won’t work at all or doesn’t find all of the records it should, because it says they’ve not finished indexing…

  7. Thank you for this advice. I was about to punch the screen when the indexing started up after every time I did anything. This has improved things – the CPU is available for me now!

  8. If I do the above and try to restart this service manually I keep getting an error message and the service is unable to be restarted. Any suggestions.

  9. @Tom: Unfortunately, you can’t manually start it after performing the procedure above, unless you fully enable the service again in the ‘Log on’ tab for each hardware profile. In essence, this service doesn’t behave like the others. It’s either fully automatic and starts whenever it wants to, or fully disabled, so it can never start.

    I got tired of the little quirks like that in Windows. For the things I do, Ubuntu is more than enough for my home office computer, and it’s free.

  10. I run (5) 2003 servers and noticed one of them was running extremely slow. Task manager showed the story: Searchindexer.exe was using almost 50% of resources. I followed your suggestion and BINGO ! recovery was immediate. Thanks for your advice.

  11. james, please help if u can. i turned on my pc one day and all that came up was half of my icons on the screen, what did i do wrong? your help will be appreciated greatly!

  12. Thanks, the bedroom window is shut and the PC is back on the desk and a long drop to the pathment outside has been side stepped. The PC will go on to live another day. Many thanks, good work

  13. Thank you dude! – This was a problem doing my head in, with your solution quick and easy to fix and once again I have some control of my PC back – I say some because M$ will never give full control…

  14. BLESSED SILENCE! I have been gradually becoming homicidal trying to work at my desk while my hard drive spun incessantly. Thank you.

  15. i tried it, it stopped the process in my task manager. i tried moving some files off my desktop to a storage folder i have. nothing seemed to happen. when i tried it again, said it was in use. eventually they moved but not sure killing the searcher is what i am looking for. tried to resort a folder, never did come back from that. so i restarted it.

  16. Thank You.

    My workstation is now usable 2 minutes after I login instead of 15 minutes. Applications start almost immediately. It has become a pleasure to use again.

    Thank you again.

  17. I am having a problem, when i try to stop it, every time the computer tells me that the stopping was aborted because it “took too long to stop” and this keeps me from being able to do anything with it until the next boot up. I don’t have outlook on my computer which I’ve heard can cause this problem. If I can’t stop it or get rid of a program I don’t have, I don’t know what to do.

  18. Windows 2003
    Once the indexer has been stopped how can you delete the content in the database. Between the .edb file and the CiFiles I have over 50 gb of space that’s been taken by Windows indexer.

  19. This worked perfectly for me. Cut login time down to under a min again whereas was taking 5 min? CPU gain was instant. It’s refreshing to find someone on these forums that knows what their talking about and keeps things simple. Keep up the good work man.

    1. @daemond You are welcome, sir! Hey, if you want even better performance, try installing Ubuntu on there. If you’re not using specialized applications which are only found in Windows, this operating system is fast and lean! If you don’t like it, you can always just get rid of it. Me, I went full Ubuntu. Only reason I jump into Windows-land is to test my web sites at this point. Loving it!

  20. I have notice in the control-panel-program-features to add and remove windows components that indexing is off, and yet the search indexer is still running.

    My advice is stop the service or go into control panel and only check the file extensions that you only use and really seach for which by the typical user is about 10 to 20 and uncheck the rest, and you may want to check index properties only as others may suggest. This will cut it down.

    Sometimes I set my computer like this.
    In explorer, under ORGANIZE menu, I choose to search file and contents, but in control panel, I either check about a dozen file extensions or none at all. Unchecking all the extensions will keep your searching files and folders alive but will stop Indexer from using up all your cpu as it has nothing to index since no EXTENSIONS are checked.. I notice this helps me a lot. And go into control panel / indexing options and uncheck all the folders you don’t care about. Example- on one system I have Windows folder only and no subfolders and system32 and no subfolders. User folders and program files folders. All other folders are uncheck.. ONLY places that I need to run files or see documents are check. Along with this, only the most commonly used extensions are check, Web extensions, doc files, exec files, music files, compressed etc.. If you don’t know what the extension is, my guess is uncheck. If you don’t download it, then uncheck it.

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