Microsoft Outlook is one of the most reliable email clients for Windows. However, like any other software, it is not immune to occasional issues. One such frustrating issue is when Outlook’s search function stops working on your Windows 11 computer.
If you’re unable to search your mailbox because Outlook search isn’t returning any results, don’t worry. This guide provides some effective troubleshooting tips that should resolve any issues with Outlook search for good.
1. Run the Office Repair Tool
Microsoft offers a handy repair tool that can automatically detect and fix problems with all Office apps, including Outlook. You can start by running this tool to see if that gets Outlook search to work again.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to launch the Run dialog box, type in appwiz.cpl and press Enter.
Step 2: In the Programs and Features window, locate and select Microsoft Office Suite or Microsoft 365. Then, click the Change option at the top.
Step 3: Select the Quick Repair option and click the Repair button to continue.
If the issue remains even after performing a Quick Repair, repeat the above steps to conduct an Online Repair.
2. Modify Registry Files
Microsoft has suggested a workaround for fixing Outlook search issues on Windows 11. The process involves modifying the registry editor to disable the Windows Desktop Search service for Outlook.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog. Type regedit in the Open field and press Enter.
Step 2: Copy and paste the following path in the address bar at the top and press Enter.
Step 3: Right-click on the empty area on your right, go to New and select Key. Name the key Windows Search.
Step 4: Select the newly created key. Right-click on the empty area, go to New, and select DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it PreventIndexingOutlook.
Step 5: Double-click on the newly created DWORD and change its value data to 1. Then, click OK.
Exit the Registry Editor and restart your PC. After that, check if the issue is still there.
3. Check the Indexing Status
Next, you should check Outlook’s indexing status on your PC. If Outlook is in the process of indexing your emails, the search feature may not work as well.
Step 1: Open the Outlook app and click the Search box at the top.
Step 2: Click the Search Tools menu and select Indexing Status.
If Outlook is indexing files, wait for the process to finish and then use the search function again.
4. Run the Search and Indexing Troubleshooter
Another thing you can do to fix issues related to Outlook search is run the Search and Indexing troubleshooter on Windows. Here are the steps for the same.
Step 1: Open the search menu, type in troubleshoot settings, and press Enter.
Step 2: Select Other troubleshooters.
Step 3: Scroll down and click the Run button next to Search and Indexing. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to run the tool.
5. Rebuild Search Index
Such issues with Outlook search on Windows can also occur if the existing search index has become corrupted. To fix this, you will need to rebuild the search index on Windows using the following steps.
Step 1: Click on the search icon on the taskbar, type in control panel, and press Enter.
Step 2: Change the View type to Large icons and click on Indexing Options.
Step 3: In the Indexing Options window, click on Advanced.
Step 4: Under the Troubleshooting section, click on the Rebuild button.
This might take a while, so be patient. Restart the Outlook app after Windows finishes rebuilding the index and see if the search works.
6. Remove Microsoft Outlook From Indexed Locations
If rebuilding the search index proves ineffective, you can prevent Windows from indexing Microsoft Outlook. Several users on the Microsoft Community managed to resolve the issue with Outlook search using this method. You can also give it a try.
Step 1: Click the search icon on the taskbar. Type indexing options in the box and press Enter.
Step 2: Click the Modify button.
Step 3: Uncheck the Microsoft Outlook box and click OK.
Restart Outlook after this and use the search feature again.
7. Repair Outlook PST Files
Outlook’s search function may stop working if the existing data files are damaged. Fortunately, Outlook offers a tool that can automatically fix problems with the data files. Here’s how to run it.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + E to open File Explorer and navigate to the following folder.
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
Step 2: Double-click the SCANPST.EXE file.
Step 3: Click Start to initiate the scan.
Step 4: If the tool finds any issues, click on Repair.
After completing the above steps, check if the error occurs again.
8. Reinstall Microsoft Outlook
If the problem persists, you can consider uninstalling the Outlook app and installing it again. This should remove any data associated with the app and resolve search issues in Outlook.
To uninstall Microsoft Outlook, open the Start menu and type in Outlook. Right-click on the first search result and select the Uninstall option.
Uninstalling Outlook will also remove other Office apps from your PC. To reinstall Outlook, you will need to download and install Microsoft 365 or the Office suite again.
9. Perform System Restore
It’s possible that some recent changes made to your PC have caused Outlook search to malfunction. If that’s the case, performing a System Restore will help you undo any bad changes and fix the problem.
Step 1: Open the search menu, type in create a restore point, and select the first result that appears.
Step 2: Click on the System Restore button under the System Protection tab.
Step 3: Select the Recommended restore option and click Next.
Step 4: Click Finish.
FAQs on Outlook Search Not Working on Windows 11
You can use the Alt + Q keyboard shortcut in Outlook to quickly access the search bar.
No, search operators can also be used to search for calendar items, contacts, and files in Outlook.
Your Search Ends Here
The search tool in Outlook makes it easy to locate emails, contacts, tasks, and more. Hence, it can be annoying when it stops working. Hopefully, the solutions above have solved your Outlook search issues on Windows 11, and you are at peace.
Last updated on 01 September, 2023
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