In Windows 10, the Start/taskbar/Cortana search can search for files and folders on your PC. With default settings, the search shows files and folders on your desktop, pictures, documents, downloads, music and other folders under your user profile folder.
Sometimes, you might want to make sure that files and folders don’t show up in Start/taskbar/Cortana search results for privacy reasons. For instance, you might want to hide a specific personal folder from appearing in search results, or you might want to hide files under a folder from showing up in search results.
As said, by default, Windows 10 indexes all files and folders under your user profile folder. Because of this, files and folders on your desktop, documents, pictures, and downloads appear in search results. If you want to hide files and folders from search results, you need to deindex those locations or specific folders.
Luckily, indexing or deindexing is easy in Windows 10. In this guide, we will explain how you can prevent files and folders from appearing in search results on your Windows 10 PC.
Hide files and folders in Windows 10 search
Step 1: In the Start/taskbar search field, type Indexing Options and then press Enter key to open Indexing Options dialog.
Step 2: Here, you can see all the included locations. Click the Modify button.
Step 3: You can now see what all drives are selected. In the Change selected locations section, double-click on your Windows 10 drive icon to see the tree list of folders. Deselect folders which you don’t want to see in search results. Click OK.
If you want to stop seeing all files and folders, deselect all folders except Start Menu folder, and then click OK button.
Step 4: In the main dialog of Indexing Options, click the Advanced button. You will need admin rights to access this. If you don’t have administrative rights, enter the admin account when asked for to continue.
Step 5: In the Troubleshooting section, click the Rebuild button. Click OK button to begin rebuilding the index. Remember that you can also fix search issues by rebuilding index.
Remember that the files and folders might continue you appear for a while even after deindexing them. Wait for a few hours for Windows 10 to complete the re-indexing process.
Did you know that you can make Windows 10 search through file contents as well?