Fix Outlook Search Not Working [100% Working Methods 2024]

Written By Farhan Max

While emailing, you need to attach some files from other received emails. So, you searched for it using the search option of Outlook as It’s hard to find the exact email among many.

But a crippled surprise was in your luck because Outlooks search is not responding!

Don’t think you are alone; many people around the globe are having this severe issue with Outlook. This is like a nightmare when you can’t search for emails in Outlook when it’s urgent.fix-outlook-search-not-working

Well, keep your distress aside because you can fix this searching inability with Outlook with some simple methods. I have faced this issue, and I know how to fix this problem with Outlook.

I have given all the proven methods with easy steps in this article. So, take a cup of coffee and start reading.

Let’s begin!

Why Outlook Search Not Working?

Outlook search is not working due to errors in search and indexing, or Outlook is not in the list of locations from indexing. Another factor like the msg file type is not selected, or PST files get corrupted can create a problem with Outlook’s search. Backdated Outlook may cause this problem too.

According to Microsoft, Outlook Search is not showing recent emails after a Windows update — KB5008212. So, this is another reason, but the whole point is Windows updates sometimes create problems with Outlook too.

Outlook search work through searching and indexing functionality. When this function or the path gets scrambled, it won’t give you the search result. So, troubleshooting the search and indexing using Windows troubleshooting can put a light on solving this issue.

Outlook got an indexing settings option, and if Outlook is unchecked from it’s file location, it won’t be able to search emails.

These are the main reason behind this problem. I hope you understand why your Outlook is not showing emails when searching.

Check out our separate post on how to Change the Inbox View in Outlook.

How to Troubleshoot Outlook Search Not Working

You can fix Outlook search is not working by different methods; all of them are quite easy to apply. You will not face any difficulties while applying those steps within the methods.

Here are the methods to fix Outlook search not working:

1. Close and Re-open Outlook

When you’re unable to search emails in Outlook, you can first try to close the Outlook from the Task Manager. Then relaunch Outlook. So, closing and opening Outlook will solve the problem.

Here are the steps to close and re-open Outlook using Task Manager:

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to launch Task Manager.
  • Locate Outlook and click on it.
  • Click on the End Task button.end-task-of-outlook-from-task-manager
  • Launch Outlook again.

This thing happens to any app, not only Outlook, when too many functions of an app interfere with each other. I hope closing and re-opening Outlook will quickly solve the problem when Outlook settings are not altered accidentally.

If this didn’t solve the Outlook search issue, go for the following method.

Here’s a complete guide on how to Change Outlook View HTML to Plain Text.

2. Run Search and Indexing Troubleshooter

When searching for an email in Outlook seems not to be working, you can run the search and index troubleshooter from Windows. You can troubleshoot this by going to the Windows Settings. Windows has a built-in search and indexing troubleshooting option to get this job done easily.

Just go to the Windows settings and run the troubleshooter. Just follow the below steps to run the search and indexing troubleshooter.

Here are the steps to run a search and indexing troubleshooter:

  • Go to Windows Settings by pressing Win Key + I.
  • Navigate to System > Troubleshoot > other troubleshooters.
  • Scroll down and look for Search and Indexing.
  • Click on the Run
  • Check the box for Outlook search doesn’t return results from the popup Window. select-outlook-search-problem
  • Click the Next button.try-repair-as-an-administrator

After that, troubleshooting will run automatically and ask for administrator permission to fix this error. When it finds the error, it will resolve that also.outlook-search-problem-fixed

Related guides: how to View Message Headers in Outlook.

3. Ensure Outlook Messages are Indexed for Search

Sometimes Outlook search engines stop indexing for search, and that’s when you get search problems. But fixing this is not going to be a problem.

Windows has search settings and repairing options, and Outlook has its own search and indexing settings. When you are having a problem with Outlook’s search, you should check whether Outlook messages are indexed for search or not.

If the Outlook message is not indexed for the search, you should enable it. Just go to the Outlook Options and check for it.

Here are the steps to check Outlook messages are indexed for search:

  • Click on the File. click-on-file-from-ribbon
  • Select
  • Click on the Search option.
  • Click the Indexing Options under the Sources section.
  • Check whether Microsoft Outlook is in the list of locations or not. check-outlook-is-in-the-indexing-location
  • Click on the Modify button and check the box for Microsoft Outlook. If you don’t see Outlook is not on the
  • Click on the Advanced
  • Click on the File Types tab.
  • Scroll down and check the box for msg file type; if it’s not checked.
  • Click the OK

Close Outlook, restart the system, launch Outlook, and do the email searches from Outlook’s email search box. I hope this time you won’t face any issues with the search.

Also related to this guide how to Create an Outlook Rule to Manage Emails.

4.  Delete and Rebuild Outlook Search Index

I know you have done everything accurately to fix the issue using the above methods. But if Outlook’s search issue still continues, it’s time to delete and rebuild the Outlook search index. Outlook search might fail when the search index itself gets corrupted.

That’s why you should rebuild the Outlook search index. It’s a simple process, and it won’t take much time. So, let’s jump into the steps.

Here are the steps to rebuild the Outlook search index:

  • Click File from Ribbon.
  • Choose Options from the bottom.
  • Click on the Search option.
  • Click Indexing Options from the Sources section. click-on-search-then-indexing-options-in-outlook
  • Click on Advanced from the Indexing Options
  • Click on Rebuild under the Troubleshooting section from the Indexing Settings tab. click-on-rebuild-button

Deleting and rebuilding the indexing process won’t take much time. Restart the PC after the rebuilding is done and test whether Outlook’s search is working or not.

5. Use Windows Registry to Fix Outlook Search

You can also fix Outlook’s search, not finding all emails manually from the Windows registry. Using a Windows registry to fix this is a kind of force clean-up bugged files. Apply this method if you are a pro-Windows user or follow the below steps carefully.

There are two steps to fix this issue using the windows registry. The first one is deleting the Outlook folder, and the second one is modifying the registry.

Important: Incorrectly Changing the Windows registry can cause a severe issue. So, be careful while applying the steps. For protection, you can backup the registry before modifying it. For any mishappening, you can restore the registry later.

Delete Outlook from the Windows Registry

You can fix the search problem in Outlook by going to the Windows registry and deleting the Outlook folder. But don’t delete any other folder accidentally. Be extra careful while applying the following steps.

Here are the steps to use the Windows registry to fix Outlook search:

  • Press Windows Key+R and type regedit in the Run dialog.
  • Click the OK button.type-regedit-in-run-to-open-registry-editor
  • Navigate to the following path:
    • Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook
  • Delete the Outlook folder.delete-outlook-folder-from-registry

Note: After a restart, the registry entry should rebuild automatically.

After deleting this folder, restart the PC and check whether the Outlook search not working on Windows 10/11 is fixed or not.

Modify the Registry for Outlook

You can also try modifying the registry for Outlook to solve the problem. All you need to do is add a DWORD 32-bit value to the Outlook registry. So, follow the steps carefully.

Here are the steps to modify the registry value for Outlook:

  • Press Win Key+R and type regedit in the Run Dialog box.
  • Hit Enter key.
  • Navigate to the following path:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows
  • Right-click on Windows and go to New > Key.create-a-new-key-in-registry
  • Name the new key WindowsSearch.
  • Right-click on the WindowsSearch key.
  • Click New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. create-a-new-dword-in-registry
  • Rename the DWORD Value to PreventIndexingOutlook.
  • Hit Enter key.
  • Right-click on PreventIndexingOutlook and select Modify.
  • Assign 0 to Value.
  • Click the OK button.set-prevent-Indexing-outlook-value-to-0

After modifying the registry, you restart the PC and launch Outlook again. Check whether the Outlook email searing is working or not.

Check out our separate post on Delete Emails in Microsoft Outlook.

6. Use SCANPST.exe to Repair Outlook

Outlook search option might fail its functionality when Outlook’s PST (Personal Storage Table) gets corrupted. To solve this issue for corrupted PST files, you can use MS office’s build-in repair tool, and it’s called SCANPST.exe.

You will find the SCANPST.exe file in Outlook’s installation directory. All you need to do is run this exe file, and the repair tool will do the rest.

Here are the steps to use SCANPST.exe to repair the PST file:

  • Close the Outlook from the Task Manager.
  • Open File Explorer and navigate to the following path:
    • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Look for the SCANPST.exe file and double-click on it.double-click-scanpst-file-to-open
  • Click on the Browse button and manually select the PST
  • Select the Start button and wait until the process is complete.
  • Click on the Repair button when this tool finds any error.
  • Close Outlook after the repairing process is done.
  • Re-open Outlook again.

Note: If you are using the latest Outlook version like 2013, 2016, and 2019, you can find the PST file in C:\users\username\Documents\Outlook in this file path. But for older versions like 2007 and 2010, you will find it in C:\users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook this directory.

After relaunching Outlook, check if the search function of Outlook works or not.

7. Update Outlook

Sometimes bugs can create this type of issue with Outlook, or incompatibility in your current version might prevent you from searching emails. To solve this, you can try updating Outlook to the latest version. Running the latest version will help eliminate all the bugs and compatibility issues.

So, check for updates and install it if available. Below are the steps to update outlook from the MS Office account.

Here are the steps to update Outlook:

  • Click on File from the Ribbon.
  • Select Office Account and click on the Update Options drop-down icon.
  • Choose the Update now option.update-outlook-from-office-accounts-update-option

MS Office will look for available updated Outlook versions. If available, download and install them.


Why is my Outlook email searching not working?

Outlook email searching is not working due to an indexing error, outdated program, or corrupted PST files. Sometimes, Windows updates can create this issue too.

How do I fix the Outlook search not working?

You can try closing and relaunching Outlook, run search and indexing troubleshooting, and ensure Outlook Messages are Indexed for Search. Additionally, you can use Windows Registry to modify Outlook key values.

Why is Outlook not searching current emails?

The common problem with searching is the problem with the indexing function in Windows operating system. All the Outlook version uses the same Outlook search index function for searching emails.

How to check Windows search services working or not?

Click on the Start icon and search for Services. Open the app and search for Windows Search by scrolling down. Double click on it and set Automatic (Delayed Start) for the Start type. Click on the Start button if the Service status is not running.

Bottom Line

So, the Outlook search is not working because Outlook is not selected inside the indexing option. It’s one of the reasons among many. But fixing is possible with some simple steps.

You can go for troubleshooting search and indexing from Windows Settings. Rebuild the Outlook Index or scan the PST file will solve this problem.

All the methods I have implemented in this article are super easy. I hope you read this article till the end and you solve the issue already.

Do you need further assistance? Let me know in the comment box.

Peace out!

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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