Top 9 Ways to Fix Outlook Search Not Working on Windows 11

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.

Top Ways to Fix Outlook Search Not Working on Windows 11

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.

Open Programs and Features on Windows

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.

Repair MS Office Suite

Step 3: Select the Quick Repair option and click the Repair button to continue.

Quick Repair Office

If the issue remains even after performing a Quick Repair, repeat the above steps to conduct an Online Repair.

Repair Office Apps

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.

Since editing registry files can be risky, it is a good idea to back up all the registry files or create a restore point before proceeding with this workaround.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog. Type regedit in the Open field and press Enter.

Open Registry Editor

Step 2: Copy and paste the following path in the address bar at the top and press Enter.

Registry Editor

Step 3: Right-click on the empty area on your right, go to New and select Key. Name the key Windows Search.

Create Key in Registry Editor

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.

Create New DWORD

Step 5: Double-click on the newly created DWORD and change its value data to 1. Then, click OK.

Modify DWORD

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.

Outlook Search Bar

Step 2: Click the Search Tools menu and select Indexing Status.

Indexing Status in MS Outlook

If Outlook is indexing files, wait for the process to finish and then use the search function again.

Outlook Is Indexing

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.

Troubleshoot Settings on Windows

Step 2: Select Other troubleshooters.

Other Troubleshooters on Windows 11

Step 3: Scroll down and click the Run button next to Search and Indexing. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to run the tool.

Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

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.

Open Control Panel on Windows

Step 2: Change the View type to Large icons and click on Indexing Options.

Indexing Options

Step 3: In the Indexing Options window, click on Advanced.

Advanced Indexing Options

Step 4: Under the Troubleshooting section, click on the Rebuild button.

Rebuild Search Index on Windows

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.

Indexing Options on Windows

Step 2: Click the Modify button.

Step 3: Uncheck the Microsoft Outlook box and click OK.

Remove Outlook From Indexing

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.

Outlook Scan PST Files

Step 3: Click Start to initiate the scan.

Outlook Inbox Repair

Step 4: If the tool finds any issues, click on Repair.

Outlook Inbox Repair Tool

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.

Uninstall Outlook

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.

Open System Restore on Windows 11

Step 2: Click on the System Restore button under the System Protection tab.

Open System Restore on Windows 11

Step 3: Select the Recommended restore option and click Next.

Restore Point Windows 11

Step 4: Click Finish.

Perform a System Restore on Windows 11

FAQs on Outlook Search Not Working on Windows 11

1. What is the shortcut for using the search bar in Outlook?

You can use the Alt + Q keyboard shortcut in Outlook to quickly access the search bar.

2. Are search operators only for emails in Outlook?

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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