Why Is Outlook Search Not Working?

Outlook is the most frequently used email client in your computer. Just like any program which is used too often, Outlook needs some care and attention to keep it running. Even though you are using the latest Outlook 2016, it will eventually lead to some conflicts.

Sometimes, Outlook search tool doesn’t work as it must. It is one of the most common problems in Outlook clients. The error “Microsoft Outlook Search not working” is a very common issue in all versions. All of them are based on same algorithm, which is known as Outlook Search Index. Well, you don’t have to worry. There are different methods to help you fix your Outlook 2016 search.

Outlook Search Index

Outlook search is obviously one of the most common tools used on an email client. If it stops responding, it can adversely affect the performance of the users in navigating through their emails. You may need to deal with different types of malfunctions in Outlook Search Index. It can totally stop working and leave you with no results. It may also show up the results on a certain date or show you the items still in a queue to be indexed. There are different causes of these issues which may be fixed by different steps.

How to Fix Outlook Search Problem?

Is your Microsoft Outlook 2013 or 2016 search function not responding? Does it showing up the error like “We couldn’t find what you want” or “Something went wrong and we couldn’t complete your search”. Are you having problem navigating through the messages even after meeting search criteria? Try the following methods.

Start Windows Search Service

  • Click on “Select” and type “CMD”
  • Open Command Prompt by running as administrator.
  • If it asks permission, enter user and password for admin rights to the system.
  • Type “sc config wsearch start= auto” and hit “Enter”. It must show up a “Success” message.
  • Press “Enter” after typing “net start wsearch”. It must show up a message that service has been started.

Rebuild Search Index

Keep in mind that it may take several hours to finish operation.

  • Select File > Options > Search in Outlook
  • Hit the button “Indexing Options…”
  • Choose “Advanced”
  • Press the button “Rebuild”
  • Press “OK” to rebuild.
  • Take a few minutes for Outlook to index items. The search function should work automatically.

Using “Hide Message” Setting

This tip commonly works and helps users in most cases.

  • Select “View > Change View” in Outlook and ensure not to select “Hide Messages Marked for Deletion”.

Reset Indexing

These are the steps to reset Outlook Indexing if above steps didn’t work –

  • Go to File > Options > Search > Indexing Options > Modify in Outlook and uncheck the box next to Microsoft Outlook. Click Close once done.
  • Go to “File > Account Settings > Account Settings”
  • Select the tab of Data Files
  • Provide the location where OST files are placed. We won’t need to access specified folder.
  • Close Outlook.
  • Go to the folder where OST files are located with Windows Explorer. Usually the path is C:\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.
  • Select all the OST files by holding CTRL key and choose each OST file.
  • Right click on any selected OST file and select “Properties”
  • Go to “Advanced…” option
  • Check the box next to “Allow this file to get contents indexed along with file properties” if it is not checked. Now hit OK.
  • Go back to “File > Options > Search > Indexing > Options > Modify” in Outlook and check “MS Outlook” again. Close it when done.

Read Also: Why Is Microsoft Outlook Not Working? How to Fix?

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