When the computer is new, it is easy for you to remember the location of important folders, files and apps. However, over period you will start accumulating hundreds of thousands of files on the system which makes it impossible to locate a file manually. To resolve this issue, Windows comes with a default function called Windows Search (or Cortana in some countries). This is like a Google Search for internet and helps to find apps, files and folders in your computer. The problem comes when Windows Search shows unnecessary file types in the results impacting your privacy. In this article, we will explain how to exclude particular file types in Windows Search so that they are not shown in the results.
Note: You can open Windows Search by clicking on the lens icon in the taskbar or pressing “Win + S” keys.
Example Case for Excluding File Type
For illustration purpose, we have created an image named “Personal Image” with the file extension as .jpg. As you can see in the below screenshot, Windows Search shows this image when searching along with its extension and location details.
Exclude JPG File Types in Windows Search
Let us hide .jpg file types and test this “Personal Image” file is not shown in the results.
- Click Windows Start button and then select “Settings” app from the pinned app list. Alternatively, press “Win + I” shortcut keys to directly launch Settings app.
- Select “Privacy & security” section and click “Searching Windows” option available under “Windows permissions” heading.
- On the next page, scroll down to the bottom and select “Advanced indexing options” under “Related settings” heading.
- This will open “Indexing Options” dialog box and click on “Advanced” button.
- The “Advanced Options” dialog will show all file extensions part of Windows Search index. The extensions are shown in alphabetical order, scroll down and disable JPG file properties filter. It is also safe to disable JPE and JPEG extensions which are related to JPG formats.
- Click “OK” button to apply your changes and close the dialog box.
Rebuild Windows Search Indexing
At this point, you will still find the “Personal Image” and other JPG photos in the search. This is due to the reason that Windows still has the old indexing build data. What you need is to rebuild the search index to delete old history and rebuild based on the new filers to exclude JPG files.
- Again, click on “Advanced” button when you are in “Indexing Options” dialog box.
- This time, go to “Index Settings” tab and click on “Rebuild” button showing under “Troubleshooting” section.
- Windows will show that rebuilding index will take long time and you will not see correct search results until then.
- You will see the indexing is running in “Indexing Options” dialog box and the status first shows as “Indexing is running……” and then Indexing paused”. Also, some of the options will be greyed out and not available under “Advanced Options” till the time indexing is completed.
- Wait till the time the status shows “Indexing complete”. You can also check the exact details of number of files indexed and pending under “Privacy & security > Searching Windows” section in the Settings app.
Testing Windows Search for JPG Exclusion
After the rebuild of indexing is completed, we searched for the “Personal Image” in Windows Search. As you can see, there are no files shown in the search results as we have hidden all JPG fie types from search. You will only see Bing web search recommendations in the results.
You can even apply “Photos” filter by selecting “Photos” option from “More” dropdown. This will change the search keyword to “Photos: personal image” and the search will not show any results from your computer as the file types are hidden.
Points to Consider
- You can exclude any listed file types like PDF, GIF, PNG or DOCX under “Advanced Options > File Types” tab. It is also possible to add additional file types and then exclude them from search.
- On the same “File Types” tab, select “Index Properties Only” option to avoid showing files based on its content. This option will restrict the search only based on the name.
- If you do not know the file extension, select the file and press “Alt + Enter” keys to open its properties. On the “Properties” window, you can find extension of the file.
- Exclude all related file extensions for safer side. For example, exclude PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, JPEG and JPE formats to hide all images in your computer.
- You can also exclude particular folder from Windows Search in addition to file types.
Learn more on how to customize Windows Search to use as per your convenient.
You may have lot of personal photos which you do not want to see in the search results. It could be annoying to see personal photos in the search results when your kids or someone else is using your system. In this case, you can find the file extensions of the photos (like PNG or JPG) and exclude them from the search results to protect your privacy. In addition, you can also hide documents or any other file types from Windows Search to protect your privacy.