Windows 10 May 2020 Update Offers Speed Boost

John Lister's picture

Older computers might feel a little faster after the next major Windows 10 update. That's because Windows 10 is going to get a bit smarter in the way it powers its search tool.

Windows 10's Start Menu (accessed by clicking the Windows logo at the bottom left of the screen) includes a search box that doesn't just search the names of files, but also their content. Since the system's release, an update means it will now searches all files on the C drive - not just those in specific libraries such as "Documents" or "Downloads."

File Indexing Takes a Toll

To make sure results are as up to date as possible, Windows frequently re-indexes all the files into a database. When a user makes a search, the database is accessed rather than the entire hard drive.

This then translates to instant results because the index is usually a very small file compared to wading through hundreds of thousands of a files on a drive. Also, indexes are almost always sorted to contain relevant data. For example, if a user searches for something beginning with the letter "S", the "S" database is searched rather than the entire alphabet of databases.

Creating the index is a fairly intensive process, as it effectively involves looking at every word of every document. This process can hog computer resources - in particular, access to a hard drive. The effects have been significant in the past with previous editions of Windows, that some experts have suggested disabling indexing altogether. (Source:

May 2020 Update Makes Indexing Smarter

The May 2020 Update - the first of the two major updates scheduled this year - will now learn the times and situations when the user is least likely to be actively using a computer and carry out the searches at this point.

The update will also pause or stop search indexing while the user is actively using the hard drive such as when transferring or deleting files.

Old Hard Drives Benefit Most

Those who have tested the update say it makes a noticeable difference on machines with old-style hard drives which have spinning platters and read/write heads. This translates to significantly slower access to data.

The benefit isn't as substantial for systems equipped with solid state drives, as these use chips rather than platters and read/write heads. However, the change should mean even those machines benefit from reduced CPU usage at busy times, reducing the chances of a computer slowing or freezing.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you ever noticed indexing slowing down your PC? Is this a smart solution by Microsoft? How often do you use Windows Search?

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Average: 4.8 (9 votes)


randyh2's picture

When I install a system, one of the first things I do is turn off the MS search feature.
When I need to search for a folder or file, I use Ultrasearch or Agent Ransack. They are much faster than MS indexing, at least for what I want.

jamies's picture

I have an older system -
Fast ( for a hard drive) 2GB RAM with 64 but OS on the start 200GB of the hard drive.

And - over the past years updates to windows the system has become less and less responsive.

I now note that the (according to resource monitor) the pagefile I have had to increase to over 6GB - for the browser and Onedrive facility is being massively used whenever I select a new app - or reselect one that was not being used for the past few minutes.
That usage going along with a substantial reference to the MFT.

I have already reduced the search facility process to NOT index anything.
and check that the 'windows update' has not reset the search facility.
I also do NOT do as the MS support staff frequently tell me to - set the search facility to all the system.

That was basically essential in order to get work done with files being created, updated or brought into the OS partition.

I also note that the AV is using substantial amounts of the system resources.

So - my approach to making the older system faster - by a factor of at least 2, would be to reinstitute support for windows 7 so users can go back to that speedy OS.
And for those stuck with windows 10, make almost all the 'improvements' to windows 10 be optional on the older systems.

So - do I want a search for a file containing "xxx" to be done in milliseconds as opposed to minutes.
Yes - but NOT if it means the system takes minutes to respond to a selection of the already open and 'running' word, Excel, or browser session.

The app selection being an action I do many times a day, and the search for a file by content - maybe once a month - more likely not in any particular year.

So - my response - if Microsoft had not made the OS so resource hungry then the system would not be so slow that I will soon have to declare the 2core 2GB RAM, 2TB drive system incapable of running windows in an acceptably responsive manner, and that is with the search facility already effectively disabled.

dan_2160's picture


Two GB of RAM has long been an inadequate amount of memory for Windows including your beloved Windows 7. At a bare minimum, you would be prudent to install no less than 4 GB of RAM and if your Win7 is 64-bit, install at least 8 GB. The system will run a whole lot faster.

Windows 10 is a whole lot faster -- and more stable -- than Windows 7 ever was -- but as with any operating system you've got to have enough RAM for the system to work.

Having used PCs going way back to 1982, I admit to being rather bemussed -- and disappointed -- by those who object to new versions of the operating system, particularly Windows. If Microsoft (and Apple) were to have followed your advice, we'd still be mired in Windows for Work Groups 3.11 which was as simple as such people seem to like, requiring much less system resources -- and a very incapable, user-unfriendly OS compared to today's Windows 10. Frankly, Windows 10 is a massive improvement on Windows 7 in terms of speed, stability, and features, and it will continue to be improved because stagnation is not a viable option.

jamies's picture

Dan, (and rohnski,)
Thanks for the reply.
Agreed that 2GB RAM is inadequate for windoows-10, especially the 64 bit version.

The things to consider are:
when I got the system and then when I installed windows-10 on it the 2GB of RAM was adequate. Indeed as a general purpose (office-work and developer) system the 2GB was a reasonable amount, with 4GB being more than was needed.

The system is an 'older' one - and there is a 2GB physical limit to the amount of RAM that can be installed.

I do have a newer system with 8GB RAM and note that thee is none of the hesitancy in it's operation - Resource monitor on that system showing very little pagefile use.

I am not stating that Microsoft should not improve the OS and their App and working environment offerings

I am stating that they should not be making the new windows environment require more RAM than their original specification for the facilities, and then by removing support from the systems that are (apparently unsafe to use) and so forcing those with the older versions to move to the newer versions.

Re the older systems I use - they have a substantial amount of software running on them where the licence for that software is for use on the single system.
So to move that software onto the newer system will require the purchase of new licences for use on the new hardware of software including Oracle Adobe, Visio, Project management, cad-cam etc.
That cost being several times the cost of the system, including the £200 for the windows-Pro.

So Re.
"Windows 10 is a massive improvement on Windows 7 in terms of speed, stability, and features, and it will continue to be improved because stagnation is not a viable option."

Yes 10 is a massive improvement over 7 (and 8)
BUT not if your working environment is a system that has, and is limited to the 2GB RAM that was the recommended for general office use system, and stated to be appropriate for 64 bit windows environment.

As stated earlier - I have nothing against improvement - what I do object to is being forced to get a new system at a cost that will be well over £1000 for the software licences.

And - as "nospam_5346" posted - let users avoid the bloat.

So Microsoft maybe take the easy route - make the software that was stated to be safe - actually safe to use, and still supported.
And - maybe take the money saving option and do NOT spend time and effort clearing all mention of the older OS from the support system.
I suspect the cost of removing "Windows-XP" from the KB was far in excess of the cost of keeping it supported.

Currently the main development environment is still running perfectly well in a windows-7 environment on similar hardware to the painfully slow to respond windows-10 system.

The main problem being that the win-7 system needs to be being kept in isolation from the web in general and any data files that could be set to contain processing commands.

nospam_5346's picture

So, I don’t know about others, but when I’m not using my computer, I put my computer in sleep mode or hibernate.

So, how is it going to do its thing when my computer isn’t being used when it’s not on when I’m not using it?

The main problem is, I believe, Windows has become bloat ware. I still wish they would give users the option to install just the basic OS without all the “features” and make the features optional so you install the ones you want.

The last new features in Windows I’ve used were boot to last known good configuration and reliability monitor and they removed the former from 10. The rest I find useless.

rohnski's picture

Windows (10) is not happy with less than 4GB of RAM. 8GB is better.

Although MS says 1GB (32bit) or 2GB (64bit) is the minimum requirement, anyone living in the real world knows you don't want to try to use a computer with that little RAM.

Splurge on some new RAM, or new hardware. Win7 computers with only 2GB are getting long in the tooth ...

russoule's picture

I see that there are many who think Microsoft is a generous being who has "improved" the OS in "user friendly" ways. I happen to be one who thinks Microsoft has either stolen, purchased or merged with third-party software that performed these little tasks in addition to allowing us to use the main OS. "Search Everything" is a free app that allows the user to search very rapidly for file-names. The Microsoft Search wants to search within every file for an alphabetic sequence. Why? A few iterations ago, Windows allowed searches to be done on JUST the file-name OR within the file contents. Under that scenario, if the user needs to find a file that contains "Dear Sir", then the entire database could be searched, but if all he/she needs is to find the location of January 3,2006 Letter.doc, he/she could just search the file-names for that file's name. Much quicker, maybe even as fast as Search Everything.

Now my systems may not contain one-system programs that need to be re-purchased, but I have a real problem with an OS that basically FORCES me to purchase a new piece of equipment to do exactly what I was doing before. I have no need to do 3D Viewing or Printing or Creating. I will NEVER use an XBOX and resent that I must remove that software from an OS update. Forcing my machines to carry an off-line MAPS is ridiculous since they will NEVER use such an app. To be truly "user friendly" MS must stop all this foofaraw.