SharePoint 2010/2013 Search Incremental crawl vs Full crawl


In order to plan the Incremental and Full Crawl scenarios and schedule , I’m adding the below information in this regard:                                                                 

  • Incremental crawl covers the following scenarios, where SharePoint index files will be updated and search results will affected without the need to perform full crawl:
    • Adding new document to document library or new item to list
    • Edit current document content
    • Delete document (incremental crawl will detect the deletion and removes it from the index and from search results).
    • Changing Item permissions.
    • Document properties (columns)

Note1: a full crawl should be done at least once before performing incremental crawl.

Note2: the above scenarios are covered for crawled content within SharePoint 2010/2013 farm, (not file shares , exchange public folders, custom connectors , etc… for those scenarios incremental crawl behavior might differ).


  • Full Crawl includes the following scenarios :
    • If the incremental crawl failed to crawl content for errors , Incremental crawl removes the content from index  until next full crawl.
    • When a software update for SharePoint or service pack is installed on servers in the farm, full crawl is required.
    • Add a new mapping for the Managed Metadata property which used as refinements in search results. (e.g. add new filter in search center for documents to refine results by division ).
    • To include document changes on a non SharePoint 2013 sites or older versions of SharePoint, like ASPX pages on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites.
    • You want to detect security changes that were made on a file share after the last full crawl of the file share.
    • Crawl rules have been added, deleted, or modified which is used to include or exclude sites URLs to be crawled.
    • Creating  server name mappings.

Comments (7)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good post

  2. BlueSky2010 says:

    Thanks Issa for putting this together – very helpful. You readers might be benefited from this related post too:

  3. David says:

    How about .SystemUpdate()? It seems like that one is only picked up by Full Crawl.

  4. CF says:

    It seems that (at least in 2010) security changes are taken into account on incremental fileshare crawl!

  5. Kris Liebold says:

    SharePoint 2010 is NOT finding searchable text within certain PDF documents. I have changed the Attribute properties and uploaded the file again. It still does not work, but I’m not sure a full crawl has been done. Should that fix the problem?

  6. Rich Van Rooyen says:

    Chris… Are you finding content in any pdf documents? Also, are you sure the text is searchable? If you open the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader, you should be able to select the text using your mouse if it is searchable.

  7. sujith says:

    Nice post and so informative.. what if the files are moved from one folder to another folder with in the same document library.. do we need full crawl or incremental ?

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