By Delia / Last update March 9, 2022

Windows has improved the search function over the generations, and in Windows 11, you can search for any file, folder, application, setting, etc. on your computer whether through the Start menu, the Search button on the taskbar or the search field in File Explorer.

Windows 11's search is powerful, but it can also lead to some awkward situations where you type in a keyword and the associated search items that pop up contain some unwanted content.

windows 11 search

Whether to avoid prying eyes on private data, prevent users from accidentally deleting important files while using a shared PC, or protect some confidential information, you may want to hide some specific folders in search results on Windows 11.

There are several possible ways to do this. Please refer to the following tutorial.

Exclude folders from search results via Windows Settings

First press Win + I to open Windows Settings and find the tab "Privacy & security". Here you can find the "Searching Windows" option.

searching windows

Click on it and you will see two options under "Find my files": Classic and Enhanced. The difference between the two options is shown in the figure below.

find my files

You can choose according to your situation. Then, if you also want to exclude specific folders from the search results, you can scroll down to the "Exclude folders from enhanced search" section and click on "Add an excluded folder " to manually select the folders you want to exclude. If you don't want to exclude a folder anymore, you can also tap the three dot icon next to it and select "Remove".

add an excluded folder

Hide folders from search results by indexing options

Indexing is a Windows service that catalogs information about the files, folders, emails, and other content stored on your computer to improve search performance on your PC. When you add a new file or make changes to an existing file, Windows automatically updates its index using the file's properties. Therefore, you can also exclude specific folders through the indexing option.

First, let's search for "Indexing" directly from the Start menu and go to "Indexing Options" in the Control Panel.

indexing options

Clicking on the "Modify" button in the lower left corner will bring up a window that allows you to unselect folders or entire volumes so that the unindexed directories will no longer appear in your search results.

modify indexed locations

After that, go back to the indexing options window and click "Advanced" at the bottom of the screen. In the advanced options window that pops up, click on "Rebuild" and the system search index will be recreated so that the new settings will take effect.

rebuild index

Hide specific file types in Windows 11 search results

Windows 11 also allows you to hide specific file types from the search results. To do this, you also need to open Indexing Options and go to the Advanced Options pop-up.

In the Advanced Options window, switch to the “File Types” tab. Here you can see a list of all file extensions supported by Windows that will be displayed in the Windows search.

To exclude a file type from the index, deselect it from the list and click “OK”.

select file types

If the file format you want to hide is not listed here, enter your file extension in the "Add new extension to list" field at the bottom and "Add" it to the list.

Then, switch back to the Index Settings and click “Rebuild”.

The indexing process will take some time to complete, depending on the number of files on the system. After that, the files of that type will not appear in Window search results, regardless of where they are located on the computer.