How to Fix Outlook Search Not Working Issue?

Summary: Outlook search is an essential tool for organizing emails, contacts, and appointments. But what happens when it stops working? In this guide, we’ll explore common issues and provide practical solutions to optimize your search functionality. Stay tuned as we unravel the intricacies of Outlook search troubleshooting to enhance your productivity. Let’s dive in!

Content Table:

Why is My Outlook Search Not Working?

It can be quite frustrating when you’re attempting to find an email in Outlook but encounter an unresponsive search function. Numerous factors can cause Outlook search to stop working effectively. Here are some common reasons that can hinder your search queries in Outlook and how to address them.

  • Outdated Outlook application.
  • Outlook indexing issues.
  • Window search services are disabled.
  • Conflicts with registry settings.
  • Corruption issues in PST files.

How to Repair Outlook Search Not Working?

Even though Outlook search is a reliable tool but when it stops responding, that is a frustrating situation. Below we have given some of the easy-to-execute methods to fix the Outlook not working error.

Method 1: Check Outlook Index Settings

If you configure Outlook index settings incorrectly, your search may stop responding. You can follow the instructions below to check index settings,

  • Open the Outlook application and click on File.
  • Click on Option on the left side of the screen.
  • In the window, click on the Search

  • Click the Indexing Options button on the right side of the window.
  • Check that Microsoft Outlook is on the list.

  • If not, then click on Modify button.
  • In the window, check the Microsoft Outlook checkbox.

  • Click on OK and restart Outlook.

Method 2: Check Windows Search Service

Windows search service is an important service to use Outlook search. If this service is disabled, then you will face the search not working. Follow the below steps to check and enable the Windows Search service,

  • In the Start menu type services.msc and click on Open.
  • In the Services window, Find and double-click on the Windows Search
  • In the window, check the Startup type is set as Automatic (Delayed Start).
  • Now check Service status is set as Running, if not click on the Start
  • Click on OK and open the Outlook application.

Method 3: Run Windows Troubleshooter

Windows has a built-in troubleshooter for search and indexing issues. You can use it to fix Outlook not working issues. Below are the steps to follow to run troubleshooter,

  • Click on Settings on the Start menu to open Windows settings.
  • Now go to the System option.
  • Now you click on Troubleshoot and then click on Other troubleshooters.
  • Now find the Search and indexing option and click on the Run
  • In the window, check the Outlook search doesn’t return results box then click on Next.
  • Now follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

Method 4: Update Outlook Application

The usual reason for the issue in Outlook is the application is Outdated. Updating Outlook is the easy solution here. Follow the instructions below,

  • Open the Outlook application and click on File.
  • Now click on the Office Account
  • Now click on Update Option and then click on Update Now.
  • Wait for the process to complete then restart Outlook.

Method 5: Rebuild Outlook Index

The most common scenario for Outlook search not working is the Outlook index issues. The index is a catalog that allows your search process to be complete. The steps below help rebuild your index,

  • Open the Outlook application and click on File.
  • Now click on Option to open the Outlook Options window.

  • In the window, click on the Search option then click on the Indexing Option button.

  • Now in the window click on the Advanced button.
  • In the Advanced Options, click on the Rebuild button and click on OK.

Note: This process may take time to complete. Once completed please restart your Outlook application.

Method 6: Repair Using Registry Editor

You can use the registry editor to force Outlook to reset manually. This will clean the issues in the application and fix Outlook search. Follow the instructions to repair using the registry editor,

  • Press Windows + R to open the Run dialogue box.
  • Now type regedit and press Enter.
  • Now in the Registry Editor window, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.
  • Now right-click on anywhere in the window and click on New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  • Now name it PreventIndexingOutlook and double-click it.
  • Set the Value data as 0 and click on OK.
  • Now restart the system and open the Outlook application.

Method 7: Repair Corrupted PST Files

Another possible reason for the Outlook search not working could be a corrupted PST file. This is also a common reason for Outlook issues. You can use a repair tool to fix a corrupted PST file. Below have given two PST repair tools.

Repair Using ScanPST Tool

Microsoft provides a built-in inbox repair tool, called ScanPST. You can find the scanpst.exe file in the following locations,

  • Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
  • Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12

Note: If you are using a 32-bit version of Outlook, please replace the Program Files with Program Files (x86).

Now you can follow the instructions below to repair corrupted PST files,

  • Go to the location of your exe file and double-click on it.
  • Now in the tool, click on Browse to select the corrupted PST file.
  • Then click on the Start button to start the scan process.
  • If any errors are found, you click on the Repair button and repair the issues.
  • After the process is completed, open the Outlook application.

Note: This is time-consuming and may need to run multiple times to get the desired result.

Repair Using SFWare PST Repair Tool

You can use a professional PST repair tool like SFWare PST Repair Tool to repair corrupted PST files. This is a user-friendly tool to repair many of the errors in Outlook data files. You can download the software from the links below.

Free Download for Windows

  • After completing the installation, open the software.
  • Click on one of the options from the three choices.

    • Open PST File – If you know the location of the corrupted PST file.
    • Find PST File – If want to search for the available PST files.
    • Select Outlook Profile – If your system has multiple Outlook profiles.
  • Now provide your corrupted PST file and click on Next.

  • Here you will provide a location to save the repaired PST file.
  • You can choose the scanning method from the two options.

    • Normal Scan – You can scan for a low level of corruption in the PST file.
    • Smart Scan – If you are not found the desired result with Normal Scan.
  • Now click on the Repair button to start the scan and repair process.
  • After the process is completed, you can preview the result in an Outlook-styled window.
  • If you are satisfied with the result, you can save the file.


We have given you a detailed write-up on the Outlook search not working. If you need solutions, we have curated some of the sure-shot methods you can follow. Please use them and let us know the result in the comment box.

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