How does desktop search indexing work?

Question by topher515: How does desktop search indexing work?
Desktop search applications like Google Desktop and Vista’s Search work much faster than traditional hard drive searching. I know that the process of preparing the hard drive for fast searching is called ‘Indexing’ but I don’t quite understand what that process involves.

Can anyone explain what “The Index” is that these kind of search tools create.

Best answer:

Answer by Matthew T
More or less, indexing makes a big list of file names and where they are. Think of it as a table of contents for your computer’
s hard drive. This makes searches a heck of a lot faster. You can compare searching an indexed location to looking through a table of contents for a page number then flipping there. Searching a non-indexed location is more like skimming through a book for the topic you want, it takes longer.

The index is normally hidden in system files, so you don’t need to worry about deleting it.

When you are searching through program files in Vista, it may tell you search is slower in unindexed locations. Do not tell it to index these files, because then you will have program files showing up in your search.

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