I could not find anything useful on that topic, so I am once again turning to you.

I want to be able to search files on a shared folder using Windows 10. The shared folder is on a file server running Server 2012 R2.

  1. The shared folder should be indexed.
  2. The search must use an index (fast, cheap) and not search the file system (slow, expensive).
  3. The index must be made available by the server and not be created by the client (expensive if having many clients).
  4. Must work out-of-the-box or with Microsoft-Tools. No 3rd-Party applications.

I found information that I could add mapped drives to the indexed paths list, but mapped drives do not show up in the selection. Besides, it would violate #3.

I know about the Windows Search feature in Server 2012. I haven't found information on how to use it in cooperation with the clients.

How would I achieve that?

  • Why would you want a server based index?
    – Jim B
    Dec 11, 2015 at 14:21
  • 2
    50 computers regularly scanning hundreds of thousands of files on a network share will stress the file server out and put an unnecessary load on the network. It's cheaper to have the file server index the files and just make the database available for queries.
    – Daniel
    Dec 11, 2015 at 16:52
  • 1
    Well, you think wrong.
    – Daniel
    Dec 12, 2015 at 18:41
  • 4
    @JimB I came here looking for an answer to that exact question, so that makes us at least two. I got a 2012 fileserver that's supposed to quickly return some search results to clients that aren't necessarily in the network permanently. It doesn't make sense to have the clients index all these files and on the other hand searching these files is a rather seldom activity. I don't quite get how you can argue that tiny search query and results would amount to more than constant file scanning of 50 clients... Jan 6, 2016 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


Install the Windows Search Index Service on the server. Then, in the Control Panel, open the Index Options, and and the file shares to the indexed locations.

This should do it.


  • 1
    Unfortunately not. From what I read, file shares can only be indexed if they are made available offline.
    – Daniel
    Dec 8, 2015 at 14:54

I know this is an old question but I want to answer this as it is still relevant today.

When the server has the "Windows Search" feature installed through the server manager it will be capable of indexing files that it is sharing with the domain/network(in other words stored on its hard drives) and allow a windows 10 computer to utilize the index for search purposes. In the control panel of the server you can access the "Indexing Options" and configure the indexing locations (on the server hard drive that will be shared over the network), the indexing types (i.e. .PDF, .docx ...), content indexed(file name or file name and file contents), and other settings. It is a very strait forward implementation and I would agree that there is a lack of good documentation on this subject.

To answer your question, if you have correctly setup the search on the server then you don't need to do anything on the client to use the servers index assuming that the client is a standard installation and has access to the server shared folder.


  • Install "Windows Search Service" by going to Server Manager -> Manage -> Add Roles and Features -> Select "Windows Search Service" on the features page -> install
  • Create a shared folder at "C:\\Shared Folders\Company Files" with the required permissions to access the folder from a client computer
  • Open "Indexing Options" and click modify to add the "C:\\Shared Folders\" to the indexing list and click advanced and select "Index Properties and File Contents" for searching inside the documents
  • To access this folder over the network from a client computer go to "\\Server\Company Files" and the client computer will utilize the servers index to complete the search. You can monitor the progress of the index in the servers "Indexing Options". Note that you should not have the options "Advanced options"-> "File Content" selected on the client computer. Also it will take some time to complete the indexing and there is a way to remove the limit on the indexer for faster indexing of files.

ISSUE: there is a condition on windows server 2012 r2 essentials that I have not found the resolution to in which the client computer will not use the index on the server. The condition is if you are using the "Shared Folders" in the address like "//fileserver/Shared Folders/Company" instead of "//fileserver/Company" which will utilize the index on the server. I have created a new question to try to resolve this here

  • 1
    How is this different to what Pascal wrote? Which didn't answer my question, by the way. If you really got it working -- which I doubt very much -- how did you share the server-side index with the clients?
    – Daniel
    Apr 19, 2018 at 14:34
  • 3
    @Daniel you may doubt all you want but it does not change the facts. I just did what I answered and there is no client side configuration needed at all due to the client server relationship that is already established. The client computers are searching >800,000 files over the network with near instant results and using the servers index. I would have expected you to have found this by now but if you really haven't and are still interested tell me which part you feel I left out and I will clarify.
    – Radar5000
    Apr 19, 2018 at 18:59
  • 1
    Also would like to add that the count was >800,000 files when last checked and that is for indexing file names and the content of the files.
    – Radar5000
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:39

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