A+: Indexing in Windows

Indexing, in theory, helps you find files faster, but also consumes hard disk space can can steal CPU and memory to slow down your system overall. Instead, you might just set up indexing of your My Documents folders (XP) or your User folders (Vista/7).

XP indexing can be disabled with Start | My Computer | Manage (which invokes Computer Management) | (at left) Services and Applications  | Services | (at right) Indexing Service | right-click, pick Stop.  Pick Start to resume indexing.  A right-click on the Indexing Service will show it the service is Automatic (it will restart at the next reboot), Manual (only restarts if asks for) or Disabled (won't run). A right-click on any drive or volume, picking Properties and un-choosing Allow Indexing Service to Index This Disk for Fast File Searching can also turn off indexing. Do not index optical discs or removable flash memory devices.

In Vista/7, indexing can be disabled with Start | right-clicking on Computer | Manage (which invokes Computer Management) | (at left) Services and Applications  | Services | (at right) Windows Search | right-click, pick Stop.  Pick Start to resume indexing.  A right-click on Windows Search will show it the service is Automatic (it will restart at the next reboot), Manual (only restarts if asks for) or Disabled (won't run). You can also right-click on any drive or volume in Windows Explorer followed by picking Properties then clearing Index This Drive for Faster Searching. 

An alternative to indexing all file attributes is to use only the NTFS file index of file names, which is enough for me and much faster as well as not consuming hard disk space.  Everything is donationware which does this on XP, Vista and 7. I have found it very useful.