Outlook

How to Fix “Outlook Search Not Working” Error?

Outlook search not working

As there can be numerous reasons responsible for causing the “Outlook search not working” error, it can be a bit of a task overcoming the problem. The solutions provided below are according to the type of issue you are experiencing with your Outlook. So, follow the information provided below according to the issue you are facing with your Outlook search feature.

Guide to Fix “Outlook Search not Working” Error

The following are the different scenarios with the solutions that you can use to get rid of the “Outlook search not working” issue.

  1. Outlook Search Returns No Results

If you are getting no result when using the search option in your Outlook, you can try the following workarounds to overcome the problem.

Run the Windows Search troubleshooter

  • For Windows 7: Select Control Panel from Start option, and click on the Troubleshooting option. Then, locate and run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.
  • For Windows 8.1: Search for Settings from the Start option. In the Settings section, search and select the troubleshooting option. Then, locate and run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.
  • For Windows 10: Press the Start button, go to Settings > Update & Security option. Select the Troubleshoot option and find and press the Search and Indexing option. After that, press the Run the troubleshooter button.

Verify Indexing is Complete

  • Launch Outlook and go to the Search box.
  • Next, go to Search Tools > Indexing Status using the Search menu.
  • Once the Indexing Status dialog appears on your screen, you should see a box with notification “Indexing Status for Outlook search”.
  • Here, you will need to wait for your Outlook program to complete indexing all your items.

NOTE: In case Outlook has is yet to complete indexing, it is suggested to note the items remaining to be indexed. Then, wait for a couple of minutes, and then check again. In case the number of items did not decrease, it is suggested to move to the next step.

Check Data Files are Selected

  • Go to the Search box of your Outlook program.
  • Next, go to Search Tools > Locations to search from the Search menu.
  • Then, make sure that data files/stores listed are selected.

Verify Windows Search Service is Enabled and Running

  • Go to the Windows Start menu and select the Search box.
  • Enter services.msc in the provided field and press Enter key on your keyboard.
  • Now, in the Name column, locate and open the Windows Search option.
  • Next, configure the Startup type to Automatic (Delayed Start) if you find that it was not already.
  • In case you see that the Service status is not displaying Running, press the Start button located under it to start the service.

Include Outlook Data in Indexing

  • Exit from your Outlook program and go to Indexing Options in the Control Panel.
  • Next, you will need to make sure that Microsoft Outlook is listed in the Included Locations column of the Indexing Options dialog box.
  • In case you find that Microsoft Outlook is not listed, you will need to click Modify, and then select the checkbox next to Microsoft Outlook.
  • After that, select OK, and then press the Close button.

Configure Indexing Options

Below are the steps to you will need to make sure that the indexing options are configured correctly:

  • Exit Outlook from your Outlook program and open the Indexing Options located in the Windows Control Panel.
  • Next, select the Advanced option In the Indexing Options dialog box and then select the File Types tab.
  • Then, scroll down until you locate msg in the Extension column and select it.
  • After that, make sure that the Index Properties and File Contents option is enabled.
  • Finally, press the OK button and then select the Close option.

NOTE: Here, you will need to make sure that the Filter Description column shows Office Outlook MSG Filter. In case the column doesn’t show it, it means either Microsoft Outlook couldn’t install the filters properly or the Windows Search service is not working correctly. In both cases, it is suggested to contact Microsoft Support for help with the problem.

Rebuild the Search Catalog

  • Exit from your Outlook program and open Indexing Options in the Windows control panel.
  • Next, select the Advanced option located in the Indexing Options dialog box.
  • Then, select the Rebuild option in the Advanced Options dialog box.
  • After that, press the OK button and then select the Close button.

NOTE: In case the indexing does not get completed, it is suggested to reach Microsoft Support to seek assistance.

Check if Search Works in a New Profile

  • In your Outlook program, go to File > Account Settings > Manage Profiles option. Alternatively, you can exit from Outlook and go to Mail in the Windows control panel.
  • Now, in the Mail Setup - Outlook dialog box, you will need to select the Show Profiles option, and then click Add option in the General tab.
  • Next, enter a name for the new profile in the Profile Name box, and then select an OK option.
  • Then, you will need to provide account information when prompted, such as your email address and password. After providing information, press the Next button.
  • After that, select the Finish button and you'll find the new profile name you added in the General tab of the Mail dialog box.
  • Now, in the “When starting Microsoft Outlook section, you will need to use this profile and then select Prompt for a profile to be used and then press the OK button.
  • Next, you will need to restart Outlook, select Profile dialog box from the drop-down list, and select the new profile name you created and select the OK button.
  • After that, you will need to click on the Search box and try to search.

NOTE: In case the search option works, the problem might have been with your old profile. In such a case, it is suggested to make this profile as your new default profile for Outlook and transfer information from your old profile to the new profile.

Repair Office from the Control Panel

NOTE: The steps to use the repair tool may vary according to your operating system. Below are the information provided for the Windows 10 operating system.

  • Start by right-clicking on the Start button located on the lower-left corner and select Apps and Features option.
  • Next, you will need to select the Microsoft Office product that you wish to repair and select the Modify option.

NOTE: Selecting this option will repair the complete Office suite even if there is only one app you wish to repair such as Word or Excel. In case you have a standalone app installed, then it is best to search for that app by name.

  • Depending on the copy type of Office is Click-to-run or MSI-based install, the following option will be displayed on your screen. Accordingly, you will need to follow the instructions provided below.
  • For Click-to-run: Select Online Repair > Repair in the window “How would you like to repair your Office Programs” to ensure that everything gets fixed. While there is also a faster Quick Repair feature is available, however, it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.
  • For MSI-based: Select Repair in the Change your installation section and then click on the Continue button.
  • After that, just follow the on-screen prompts to complete the repair process.

Uninstall and Reinstall Office

  • Start by downloading the Office Uninstall Support tool on your computer
  • Next, you will need to download and install the support tool according to your web browser.
  • Once the tool gets downloaded and installed on your system, open the tool and select the version you wish to uninstall, and then press the Next button.
  • After that, simply follow on-screen prompts and restart your computer.
  • Once you restart your computer, the uninstall tool will automatically re-open to complete the final step of the uninstall process. Then, again follow the remaining prompts to complete the process.
  • After that, you will need to select the steps for the version of Office you wish to install or reinstall and then close the uninstall tool.

2. Outlook Search Returns Incomplete Results

If you are getting incomplete results using Outlook search, it is best to follow the steps provided below in the same order:

Include Deleted items folder

Sometimes the missing search results can be in the Deleted items folder, so, it is suggested to add this folder to your search results. For this:

  • Start Outlook program on your computer.
  • Select File > Options, and then press the Search button.
  • Next, you will need to select the checkbox next to “Include messages from the Deleted Items folder in each data file when searching in All Items" and click on the OK button.
  • Then, restart the Outlook program.

Increase the Sync Slider to download Email for the Past

If you wish to increase the time in the offline settings of your email account to allow more or all your emails’ proper caching locally for indexing, follow these steps:

  • Launch Outlook and go to File > Account Settings > Account Settings option.
  • Next, select your email account on the Email tab and click on the Change button.
  • Then, drag the “Download email for the past” slider to the desired amount of time or even to the far right to All.
  • Then, simply click on the Next button, and then press the Done button. After that, close out the window and restart the Outlook program.

Allow Search to show all results

Outlook display 250 search results by default. If you want you can increase this number to show entire results, however, this will make the search a bit slower. To do this:

  • Open Outlook and go to File > Options, and then select the Search option.
  • Next, you will need to clear the Improve search speed by restricting the number of results shown, and then click on the OK button.
  • After that, simply restart your Outlook program.

Select Current Folder as the Search scope for incomplete search results in the Archive Mailbox)

You may see limited or no result search display when you search in Outlook using All Mailboxes or All Outlook Items scopes. If you want you can search for items that were moved to an auto-expanded archive mailbox only by searching the folder itself. Simply select the archive folder in the folder list to choose the Current Folder option as the search scope. In case a folder in an auto-expanded storage area has subfolders, you will need to search each subfolder separately.

3. Outlook Search can't Find Older Emails

When you can't find emails older than 6 months using Outlook search, follow these steps in the order provided:

  • Make sure to include the Deleted items folder.
  • In case the missing search results are in the Deleted items folder, you may add this folder to the search results:
  • For this, open the Outlook program and go to File > Options, and then select the Search button.
  • Next, you will need to select the Include messages from the Deleted Items folder in each data file option when searching in All Items checkbox and click on the OK button.
  • After that, simply restart your Outlook program.

Increase the sync slider to download email for the past

If you wish to increase the time in the offline settings of your email account to allow more or all your emails’ proper caching locally for indexing, follow these steps:

  • Launch Outlook and go to File > Account Settings > Account Settings option.
  • Next, select your email account on the Email tab and click on the Change button.
  • Then, drag the “Download email for the past” slider to the desired amount of time or even to the far right to All.
  • Then, simply click on the Next button, and then press the Done button. After that, close out the window and restart the Outlook program.

Allow Search to Show all Results

  • By default, Outlook will display 250 search results. You can increase this to show all the results but the search will be slower. To do this:
  • Open Outlook.
  • Click File > Options, and then select Search.
  • Clear the Improve search speed by limiting the number of results shown checkbox, and click OK.
  • Restart Outlook.

4. The search tab is Grayed Out (only Outlook 2016)

This issue generally occurs when upgrading to Windows 10 Version 1709 and earlier. The problem was fixed in Windows 10 Versions 1803 and later. In order to fix this issue, follow these steps:

  • On your Windows 10 computer, right-click on the Start button located on the lower-left corner and select Apps and Features option from the menu.
  • Next, select the Microsoft Office product you wish to repair and press the Modify button.

NOTE: Selecting this option will repair the complete Office suite even if there is only one app you wish to repair such as Word or Excel. In case you have a standalone app installed, then it is best to search for that app by name.

  • Now, depending on the copy type of Office is Click-to-run or MSI-based install, the following option will be displayed on your screen. Accordingly, you will need to follow the instructions provided below.
  • For Click-to-run: Select Online Repair > Repair in the window “How would you like to repair your Office Programs” to ensure that everything gets fixed. While there is also a faster Quick Repair feature is available, however, it only detects and then replaces corrupted files.
  • For MSI-based: Select Repair in the Change your installation section and then click on the Continue button.
  • After that, just follow the on-screen prompts to complete the repair process.

 5. Shared Mailbox: Problems with search results

If you are unable to get desired results from a shared mailbox search or if you receive an error, go through the following information:

Disable Server Search

You can fix the problem by disabling the server search as a short-term solution. To do so, follow these steps:

NOTE: As the following steps involve modifying the registry, it is suggested to modify it carefully as a serious problem may occur if the steps are not followed correctly.

  • On your Windows computer, you will need to right-click on the Start button, enter Run in the provided field and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.
  • In the Run box, you will need to enter “Regedit” and then click on the OK button. This will open the registry editor window on your screen.
  • Once the registry editor dialog box opens on your screen, located this subkey in the registry, and click it:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice16.0OutlookSearch
  • Then, click on the Edit > New > DWORD Value.
  • Next, enter “DisableServerAssistedSearch” in the name of the DWORD, and press Enter key.
  • Then, you will need to right-click the DisableServerAssistedSearch option and press the Modify button.
  • After that, enter 1 to enable the registry entry in the Value data box, and click OK button.
  • Close the registry editor, and then restart your Windows.

Trouble Searching Shared Mailbox Added as an Addition Mailbox

If you search a shared mailbox which is added as an additional mailbox, the following error might appear on your screen:

"We're having trouble fetching results from the server. Some items may not be included in your search results."

This error occurs when you are using a perpetual volume license (MSI) version of Outlook. This is basically a limitation with perpetual versions of Office. In order to overcome the problem, it is best to disable the server search by following the steps provided above.

So these are the different workarounds for different scenarios that you can consider for fixing the “Outlook search not working” issue on your computer.

Leave a Comment