In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to add network locations to File Explorer in Windows 10 for faster search.
If you’re using Windows Server in an office environment as a file server, indexing of files on network shares is handled automatically by the OS so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for. But if instead you have some form of network-attached storage (NAS) that runs Linux, even though there is support for SMB baked in, you lose out on some of the advantages of Windows-based storage.
Not that this poses too many issues for small businesses or home users, but one issue you may have is that when searching a network location, Windows will take much longer to return results because the OS has to manually crawl through the files each time rather than referencing a search index like it does for locally stored files.
But there’s an easy way to solve this problem, at least partially, and that’s by adding network locations that you’d like Windows to index to This PC in File Explorer. I say partially, because indexing on Windows Server also provides full-text indexing, where not only the name of each file is indexed, but also the contents of supported file formats. And when Windows Server is hosting the file share, the search client returns results provided by the indexing service on the server.
But when you add a non-Windows Server based network location to Windows 10, a local mirror is created using placeholders, or shortcuts, without the actual contents of the files, allowing the local indexing service to catalogue the file and folder names locally for quick search results.
Let’s look at how to add network locations to File Explorer.
The indexing service will now add the files in the new location so you can perform fast searches.