Outlook Search not working on Windows 11/10 – Guide

Occasional glitches may be experienced with your Outlook search option; a common error is that the search indexing is not working on Outlook. In this post, we will be looking at some practical solutions to fix the issue where your Outlook Search is not working.

Fix Outlook Search not working

If search indexing is not working properly on your Outlook, it can cause hiccups while trying to load emails, or may even freeze Outlook. Microsoft acknowledged this issue, saying that POP and IMAP account users may face this issue if their emails are stored locally in PST files. In order to fix this issue on a Windows computer, Microsoft provides a troubleshooting guide.

Related Article: Outlook OST cannot be accessed, you must connect to Microsoft Exchange

  • Run the Windows Search & Indexing Troubleshooter
  • Verify the indexing status on Outlook
  • Ensure that Windows Search is enabled
  • Rebuild the Windows Search Catalog
  • Modify Windows Indexing Options
  • Repair the Microsoft Office Suite

Run the Windows Search & Indexing Troubleshooter

The first thing you should try is running the search and indexing troubleshooter available in Windows settings. This can help you troubleshoot the reason behind Outlook’s search indexing not working and even fix it.

  • Open the Windows Settings with a Win + ‘I’ keyboard shortcut
  • From the System tab, select the Troubleshoot option and click on other troubleshooters
  • From the list of available troubleshooters, locate the Search and Indexing troubleshooter
  • Check-mark the issues you are having a problem with and click on Next

Wait for Windows to finish the troubleshooting process and detect the problem that’s causing Outlook Search Indexing not to work. It may also implement a fix for the problem.

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Ensure that Windows Search is enabled

To avoid this issue, make sure the Windows Search services are running. You can do this with the Services manager.

  • pen the Run command window with the Win + ‘R’ key combination
  • Here, scroll down to find Windows Search
  • Right-click on it and open its properties
  • Now open the “Startup type:” dropdown under the General tab and select “Automatic”
  • Click on Apply to save this change

Now, restart your computer and check if there is still a problem with the search option in Outlook.

Rebuild the Windows Search Catalog

You can try to fix the Outlook search index not working by rebuilding the search catalog of all the data that was previously searched for on Windows. You can do that via the Indexing Options.

  • Search for Indexing Options from the Search bar available at the Taskbar
  • From the Indexing Options dialog box, select Advanced to open the Advanced Settings
  • Further click on Rebuild
  • Save this by clicking on Ok and then selecting Close
  • Once it is done, recheck with your Outlook if its search indexing has started to work or not.

Modify Windows Indexing Options

The process of cataloging files, messages, and other data on a computer is known as indexing. This makes it easier to find items on your PC. Sometimes, improving the indexing options in Windows can help to resolve Outlook errors.

  • Click on the Search bar present on the Windows Taskbar and search for Indexing Options present in the Control Panel
  • Click on Advanced as you’d done in the 4thworkaround above
  • Select the File Types tab above and from the list of files present, locate the ‘msg’ extension file
  • Click on that file, select the Index Properties and File Contents option, and finally click on Ok

Your last option is to initiate an online repair of the Microsoft Office Suite if none of the solutions above are helpful to you.

Repair the Microsoft Office Suite

To fix the Microsoft Office Suite application on your PC, follow these steps:

  • Open Windows Settings and click on the Apps tab from the options bar to the left of the screen
  • Click on Apps & features and search for Microsoft Office from the “App list” search bar
  • This search will yield the Microsoft Office Suite. Click on the triple-dotted icon and select “Modify”
  • Select the Online Repair option and click on Repair

Wait a bit for this process to end, then restart your computer. This should hopefully repair any issues with your Outlook’s search indexing.

We hope that our guide will help you fix all Outlook search indexing issues.

Another issue that users faced with Outlook were that, after installing the Windows 10 update KB5008212 or upgrading to Windows 11, Outlook didn’t show the most recent emails received in its search results. This issue mainly affected users that had POP, IMAP, and offline Exchange accounts. Microsoft acknowledged this problem and rolled out updates for the same in their March 2022 updates for Windows 11.

How can I tell if Outlook is indexing complete?

If you think Outlook hasn’t indexed your items: Upon performing a search, you may get a result saying that the item wasn’t found. To troubleshoot the indexing function, open Outlook and click on the Search Box. Click on the Search Tools drop-down, and further click on Indexing options. If all items have been indexed properly, you’ll see the message “Outlook has finished indexing all of your items. 0 items remaining to be indexed.” If not, wait for a few minutes for the unindexed items to get registered in the index.

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