Google Desktop Slows Your Computer Down

June 14, 2007

Google Desktop logoGoogle Desktop, at first look, comes with features that many people think they just can’t live without. But after installing it, Google Desktop actually slows down your computer’s speed at times — which can be quite irritating.

But first, what are the features of Google Desktop?

  • Window's Search functionQuickly search your computer for the information you need. Google Desktop can search files, pictures, certain words within files, emails, your web-browsing history, and much more. When I say “quickly,” I mean QUICKLY — you get complete search results within a couple seconds, within a browser window instead of a separate window. Not like the “Search” function built into Windows that is accessed via the Start or Windows logo symbol. That dog seems to take forever to search for results within your computer. Google Desktop does this very, very quickly.
  • You can add a sidebar to your desktop which displays information you want, like your photos, recent news items, weather, and more. Much like the Windows Vista sidebar, butGoogle’s sidebar was there before the Vista sidebar.
  • You can add numerous gadgets to the sidebar — lots of gadgets similar (or identical) to those you can find on Google’s Personalized Homepage.
  • You can add a search box anywhere on your desktop or in the taskbar, linking to Google Desktop and/or the general Google search function.
  • And some more features as well.

But this functionality comes with a downside: noticeably slower computing speed at times. Not all the time, mind you, but some of the time. The first time you useGoogle Desktop, it will take quite a while for Desktop to do the first indexing (sorting of all the info on your computer). During this time, you will notice that your computer is slower, and that there is a noticeable delay for pop-up menus and right-click menus to appear, and for your clicks to “register” with the computer.

After the initial indexing is done (which can be within an hour, depending on how much junk, ahem, information you’ve got on your computer), your computer will feel normal once again. But once in a while,Google Desktop will do its indexing act, although for a far shorter time than the first one. During each indexing act, your computer will again feel slow.

Google Desktop says that it will do the re-indexing only when your computer has been idle for 30 seconds or more. But hey, that’s like an instant to us folks who open a largewebpage and read what’s on it, then gets tapped on the shoulder by our partner / spouse or kids, and then look back at the computer and click to see the rest of thewebpage — and hey presto, the browser now feels “slow” because Google had begun its re-indexing act.

Friends and associates often ask me to “clean out” their computers to make them feel more speedy. And when I sit down at their computer, I always look forGoogle Desktop first — and I uninstall it (with their permission, which they always give). Instant speed-up. (I also look for other assorted junk and spyware that they may have accummulated over the years — but that’s for another blog post.)

So, if you have Google Desktop and have been frustrated with your computer’s speed, I strongly recommend that you uninstall it. If you find it very useful, then well, good for you.


16 Responses to “Google Desktop Slows Your Computer Down”

  1. Gourmet Says:

    Straight to the point. This desktop search is sooo slows my PC. Plus security issues makes this tool very doubtful.

    The ancestor of Googol Desktop – deskbar, was more attractive to me. Hopefuly we brought it back to life as The tool that eats so much resources and ease your routine (like web search) is more valuable for me.

  2. V Says:

    I would love to learn how to clean up my laptop with all the junk. I’m not tech-savvy like you, but with some simple layman instructions, I’m all savvy!

  3. E. Olguin Says:

    What do you think about Copernic Desktop? I’ve been use it for 4 years and I think is not so bad, and when I suspect Copernic is the reason for the PC get slow down, simply I disable it, and from time to time just re-enable it again just for update the index and of course to make faster searches.

    In the past I used Google Desktop, but the reason I stop used it was that when deleted archives, the index still have registered the information concernig in the file deleted, even for long time. I Imagine thar over the years Google Desktop has resolved all that issues, but I still installed Copernic.

    If Google Desktop has the property of “Disable” and “Enable”, I’d recomend make the above procedure same as I do for Copernic.


  4. proudgeek Says:

    Hi Olguin — You raise an interesting point about being able to disable / enable indexing. I’m pretty sure the last time I used it, a year or two ago, I was able to disable desktop indexing when it slowed down my computer too much. I’ve not used the Copernic Desktop, somewhat out of mistrust (I don’t know Copernic well, so why should I trust it to keep an eye on my data etc), and somewhat because I don’t like installing extensions, toolbars, or desktop monitoring software onto my laptop. Slows down Firefox as well as many other programs.

  5. Hi, there!..be820e4e440c438dbb1ae055cf3d32bb

  6. Nick Says:

    I’ve also been frustrated with the performance issues using Google Desktop Search. I switched to Copernic, but had to disable the Copernic Firefox Plugin in order to keep up performance at a normal level which is not really necessary after all.

  7. jay Says:

    thanks just what i was lookig for. i thought it was hat was slowing i down =] and this is a brand new computer. ut mann i liked the side bar =\

  8. Fred Held Says:

    If you right click on the google desk top symbol you can get it to pause for 1 hour at a time. If you are doing a ton of work, just pause google. When you want to search your computer, and google is damn fast, you still have the function.

  9. Does anyone know of a utility that will allow me to pause indexing for say 8 hours – from when I arrive at work until when I leave?

  10. TheNorm Says:

    Good article!

    Fred, you are a lifesaver, that was excellent advice.

    Office Coffee, good idea. How about a pop-up every hour (or whatever) that says “will start indexing in 1 minute unless you click here”?

  11. Interesting article, it’s good to see a lot of people still critical about Google’s software. I’ll know to avoid it!

  12. Tom Says:

    Well. I unistalled google desktop right when it was indexing 70%. I figured it wont be any problem. if there is any, the unistall system will tell me is not possible due to indexing or to stop indexing first. But things seem to work out. I unistall just fine, only to find out (after i re-boot) that my labtop now is using lot of CPU, is like something is workign on the background. Its been couple of hours since i did that, and there is shit constanlly runing in my pc. As if still indexing or just got hung up on somethign. like stock. I went and do more research, and some google tech guy posted that some people need to remove stuff in the registry and on C drive data applications. After that, i reboot, and same problem. I then did system restore to lats week (when my pc was runing fine), and nothign

    FUCKING ASSHOLES FROM GOOGLE. They are becoming like NARCISSISTIC AND SLAPPY with their products. Im soo piss they F. my labtop now. Bring new. Jerks.

  13. Tom Says:

    Not to mentioned that it takes FOREVER TO THE NEW WAY THEY AUTO OPT-IN PEOPLE INTO THE GOOGLE PERSONALIZATION SEARCH> THIS SOUND MORE LIKE COMINIST OR SOCIALIST, NOT DEMOCRACY AS IT WAS. YES, THIS HAPPENDED PAST WINTER. iF YOU NOTICED YOUR SEARCH RESULTS ON GOOGLE.COM BEEN ODD. IS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW READING ALL WHAT YOU TYPE IN IT AND THEY ARE TRYING TO SERVE YOU WITH CUSTOMIZED SEARCH BASED on your previews search queries. WHICH IS STUPID>> PEOPLE CAN NOT BE IMITATED>> STOP THIS NONE SENSE> People are complex. Google is starting to act like the jerk that reads you couple of times and think they know you. People are complex. Personalization cannot imitate emotions. This is sooo annoying.

    I cant even search like before. jerks. This is contrary to what google used to stand for–Free information. Now Google is like .. “HERE this is what I THINK you like,” because im smarter than you. HOW INSULTING!!!. I like we are children that mom tells you what is good for you, and takes over your free F will.

  14. David Gugle Says:

    Surely use the tweak function and set the idle time longer?

  15. Jerry Says:

    I have been noticing my browsing experience slowing down some windows just not opening in certain web sites and tried all sorts to speed things up I could not access my usual broadband speed test site this is using IE then I thought what have I installed recently? could it be Google Frame which I installed a few weeks ago which I presume just runs with Google Chrome, its good to have a second browser just in case, so I uninstalled Google Frame and to my suprise everything is back to normal in IE, what do I conclude from this experience?!

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