How to Resolve "Outlook Search Not Working" Issue

MS Outlook in an email client and Outlook search is one of the most important tools and frequently used by the users. Whenever it does not perfectly, it badly affects the user ability to navigate through the emails quickly. It becomes difficult for a user to understand and run the search tool in any updated version of MS Outlook. Therefore, the Outlook search issues are the most common problem faced by many users in any version of MS Outlook. There can be various possible reasons behind this like problem with the search index due to which it display zero result, or display a few results, or stop working, corruption in Outlook OST or PST file. Moreover, another reason behind this is search algorithm is not working perfectly. Since MS Outlook is the popular email client for sending and receiving bulk emails within and across the organization. So, it is important to upgrade and maintained Outlook on a daily basis. Thus, in this post, keeping all users requirement in mind, different solutions based on the cause of Outlook search does not work properly are covered.

Solutions to Fix "Outlook Search Not Working" Issue

There can be various possible causes due to which users face Outlook search issues. Depending upon the cause different methods can be used to fix this problem in MS Outlook.

Cause 1 : Problem in Windows Indexing Service

Solution : If the search in Outlook is not working properly or not displaying the latest emails based on the search, then it is due to issue in Windows Indexing Service. Therefore, to fix the issue, one needs to rebuild the Indexing service by following the steps below:

Step 1: Disable Windows Search Feature

1. First of all, go to the Windows Control Panel:

Windows 7 & Vista : click on Start » Control Panel.

Windows XP : Navigate to Start » Settings » Control Panel

Windows 8 & 8.1:

Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box

After that, type Control Panel and hit Enter

2. Now, you need to double-click to open:

In Windows XP, double-click on Add or Remove Programs

In Windows Vista & above, double-click on Programs and Features

3. After that, click on Turn Windows features on or off option from the left

4. Next, you need to uncheck the Windows Search feature from the display list and then click on Yes. option at the warning message.

5. In last, click on the OK button to confirm your choice

6. Then, you need to wait for a few seconds until Windows change the features and after that, restart the system

7. As you restart the system, open MS Outlook and let the application reconfigure the search function. Then, exit the Outlook and proceed to step 2.

Step 2 : Turn On the Windows Search Feature

1. Now, to begin this, go to Control Panel » Programs & Features » check the Windows Search features checkbox.

2. Wait until Windows upgraded the changes to features and after that, restart the system prompted

Step 3 : Rebuild Windows Indexing Service

1. To begin the rebuilding the process, go to the Control Panel and click on Indexing option

Now, in the Indexing Options, select Advanced option

Then, in the Advanced Options, choose Rebuild option

After that, as the information message displayed, click on the OK and wait until rebuilding process completes

As the process completes successfully, exit the Indexing Options window

In last open Outlook.image and wait until it indexes all Outlook items. When the indexing process completes, begin the search process again without any hassle.

Verify Indexing is completed Successfully

To make sure that indexing is completed successfully in Outlook 2010, follow the steps below:

1. First of all, press Ctrl + F keys to open up the Search tab

After that, click on Search Tools option and select Indexing Status option

A message is displayed i.e. "Outlook has finished indexing all your items" to make sure that indexing is completed properly.

Cause 2 : Corruption in Outlook OST File

Another most probable reason behind the Outlook search issue is corruption in Outlook data file. Corrupt OST file badly affects the working of Outlook search tool. Thus, it is important to repair the corrupt Outlook OST file make it work appropriately again. Now, the question arises how to repair the damaged OST file of Outlook. Don not Repair OST File with Scanpst.exe as this utility gets fail in case of severely corrupt OST file, so a user is advised to go for a professional solution i.e. OST Recovery tool. It is a utility that is specially designed to recover damaged OST file. It recovers all data items stored in it without any hassle. Moreover, the tool does not have any file size limitation as it is tested over 20 GB OST file.

The Bottom Line

Outlook search tool is the most important tool in an email application to search for particular email message as soon as possible. However, if there is any Outlook search issue, then it becomes really difficult for a user to manage Outlook searching properly. Thus, understanding the requirement of the user, different solutions to fix the Outlook search not working issue based on the causes are discussed. One can simply use any of the solutions depending on the reason.