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Hide Files in Start Menu Searcch (Exclude folders & Whitelist)

Published: Jan 17, 2023
Last Edit: Jan 17, 2023
Windows Tips Privacy
446 Words, 2 Minutes.

Watch the video:

0:00 - Explanation
0:56 - Edit Windows Search settings
2:23 - Allow file searches in specific folders only
2:50 - The BEST file 
3:55 - Exclude folders from the search manually


If you’re someone who records your screen, streams, or has sensitive files on your PC, you may not want file names showing up when you’re displaying things on your screen to other people. One common place where this can happen is in the start menu. I’ll show you how to disable files from showing up in your start menu search.

To do this on your PC, it’s simple. Hit start and open up settings. On the left hand side, head to privacy and security, then scroll down and click searching windows. Inside of that, look for find my files and enable the classic mode instead of searching your entire PC. Once it’s enabled, click customize search locations and it’ll take you to the indexing options screen.

From this list, simply untick everything except for start menu and start 10 control panel, if you’re using Start 10 or Start 11. This way, you can still search for programs and search through your control panel. If you click show on locations, you may see even more options that you previously didn’t have. Click ok, then click Advanced and rebuild the index. The next time you hit start to try and search for something, no files should show up because you’ve unchecked them on the list.

Now, keep in mind I’ll be disabling search entirely. You may want to disable search in just a few folders. Make sure you customize this to how you want, instead of just copying the guide verbatim.

Start Settings

Indexing Options

You can also add certain files, folders, and locations by expanding your drives and navigating to them. This way, you can enable searching of only specific folders, like my documents. By doing this, you have a more granular control of your privacy and what you show.

Improving Windows

However, when you’ve done this, if you open up a file browser and search for something on a drive, it will be rather slow as nothing is indexed or only certain files and folders are. I would highly recommend downloading a piece of software called Everything. It simply lets you search everything on your PC at once.

This software lets you search literally millions of files at once, in an instant. I find this infinitely more powerful and faster than the default Windows search, and I have become accustomed to opening this instead of any other search tool. It’s truly a must-have on all Windows compute!


TCNO TechNobo / TroubleChute © Wesley Pyburn (TechNobo / TroubleChute)