Last updated on April 6th, 2019
In this tutorial you will find instructions to fix the "Outlook Search Not Working" problem in Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010 or 2007. On a Windows 7 based computer we observed this problem: Outlook 2010 returned incomplete search results. In fact, Outlook email search displayed just a few results and didn't display the most recent emails that should have been displayed since they matched the search. If Outlook search is not working as expected, then the problem probably occurs in the Windows Indexing service. Windows Indexing service creates an index of files on your computer in order to improve search performance. To fix search problems in a Windows 7 computer you have to rebuild the "Index" created by the Indexing service.
Below you will find step-by-step instructions to rebuild the Windows Indexing in order to resolve all the problems that you may have with the 'search' feature in Windows and the Outlook program. (e.g.: Outlook Search Not Working, Outlook Search doesn't "return" the correct search results, Windows search not working, etc.)
How to Rebuild Outlook Index & Solve Outlook Search problems.
1. If you 're using Windows 8, 8.1 or Windows 10 then skip the first two steps (Step-1 & Step-2) and go to Step-3.
2. Updated July 2017: Try to install the following updates before continuing below and then check if the Outlook search problem is resolved:
Step 1. Remove Windows Search feature from Control Panel. *
1. Open Windows Control Panel. To do this, go to:
- Windows 7 & Vista: Start > Control Panel.
- Windows XP: Start > Settings > Control Panel
- Windows 8 & 8.1:
2. Double click to open:
- Add or Remove Programs if you have Windows XP
- Programs and Features (or "Uninstall a Program") if you have Windows 8, 7 or Vista.
3. At the left, click "Turn Windows features on or off".
4. (Click Yes to UAC warning message). From the list uncheck the "Windows Search" feature and then press Yes at the warning message.
5. Finally, click OK to confirm your decision.
6. Now wait until Windows make the changes to features and then restart your computer when prompted.
7. After the restart, open Outlook and let the program to reconfigure the search function. Then Close Outlook and continue to step 2.
Step 2. Enable the Windows Search feature from Control Panel.
1. Navigate again in Control Panel > Programs & Features > Turn Windows features on options and select the "Windows Search" checkbox.
2. Wait unit Windows make the changes to features and then restart your computer when prompted.
Step 3. Rebuild Windows Index.
1. After the restart, go to the control panel and open "Indexing options".
2. At Indexing Options, choose "Advanced".
3. At Advanced Options, select "Rebuild".
4. Click OK at the information message and wait until rebuilding is finished.
6. Finally wait until Outlook indexes all Outlook items. When indexing is completed,* start using search again without problems.
* Note: How to ensure that Indexing is complete (Outlook 2010):
1. Press Ctrl + F keys to bring up the search menus.
2. Click at the arrow next to "Search Tools" ribbon and choose "Indexing Status".
3. You should see a similar information message when indexing is completed "Outlook has finished indexing all your items".
-If Outlook Search still does not work, then try the following:
1. Start Outlook without Add-ins (in Outlook Safe Mode) and perform a search. If the search is working, disable all Outlook Add-Ins . Detailed instructions to perform this task can be found here.
2. Try to repair Outlook.PST file by using the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST.exe). Detailed instructions to perform this task can be found here.