Outlook Search Not Working? Fix the Problem Right Away

Outlook Search Not Working? Fix the Problem Right Away


Outlook is a feature-rich application that helps users beyond just accessing their emails. It manages their contacts, meeting schedules, reminders, and other essential information. The search functionality in this application is something that users can trust when they need to access such information speedily. In such a situation, when they find Outlook search not working, it can surely throw their workflow off track.

Over a prolonged time of using this functionality, people become reliant on it. Undoubtedly, the search feature is a powerful tool. But what can you do when it breaks? In this post, you’ll find various ways to resolve this problem and access your emails easily.

Also Check:-How To Create a Poll in Outlook


Why is Your Outlook Search Not Working?

There are many reasons behind this problem. Some of the causes are minor, while others are more complex. You may find the Outlook search feature not working because of the following causes.

  1. You are using an outdated Outlook version.
  2. The index option is disabled. 
  3. The search service is inactive.
  4. Corrupt Outlook PST files.

Also Check, Why:- Outlook Spell Check not Working


Solutions for Outlook Search Not Working Issue

You don’t need to panic when you find the search feature in MS Outlook not working. Try these solutions that are proven to fix this issue.


1. Update MS Outlook

An outdated Outlook application will result in various glitches. The search functionality not working is one of the consequences of an outdated application. When you update it, you can easily fix this issue. Follow these simple steps to update Outlook.

  1. Start the Outlook application.
  2. Hit the ‘File’ tab and then tap ‘Office account.’
  3. Next, click ‘Office updates’ followed by ‘Update Now.’


2. Run the Troubleshooter

Running Windows troubleshooter is a good way to fix the search function problem in Outlook. In fact, you should run the troubleshooter first when you encounter this problem. 

  1. You’ll find the troubleshooter when you go to ‘Start’ followed by ‘Settings’ and then ‘Update & Security.’ 
  2. Once there, tap ‘Troubleshoot’ and then navigate to ‘Additional troubleshooters.’
  3. Now locate and choose ‘Search and indexing.’
  4. Lastly, tap ‘Run the troubleshooter.’


3. Rebuild the Outlook Index

Rebuilding the Outlook index often resolves the Outlook search function not working immediately. Follow these points to rebuild the MS Outlook index when the search feature isn’t working.

  1. Open the ‘Control Panel.’
  2. Go to ‘Programs’ followed by ‘Programs & features.’
  3. Scroll down and choose ‘Outlook 2019, Microsoft Office (the version you have).’
  4. Next, choose ‘Change’ and then select ‘Quick Repair’ or ‘Online Repair.’
  5. Then choose ‘Repair’ to resolve the Outlook indexing problem.


4. Repair Corrupt Outlook Files with SCANPST.exe

Suppose you find that the Outlook program suddenly closes or takes a long time to perform tasks like creating a new email. In that case, it might indicate corrupt Outlook PST files. Follow the method given below to repair corrupt Outlook files with SCANPST.exe. SCANPST.exe is an in-built Outlook tool that repairs data files. You can use it to resolve minor corruption. 

  1. Go to the SCANPST location and run the application. 
  2. After opening the program, tap ‘Browse’ and select the Outlook data file you want to repair. 
  3. Tap ‘Start.’
  4. In case there are any errors detected by the tool, they will get displayed. Tap ‘Repair’ to resolve the errors. 
  5. Access your Outlook after you see the message box of PST repair complete appearing. 


5. Inspect the Outlook Index Locations

When you find the Outlook search not working, check whether your Outlook is on the indexed locations list or not. Go through the steps below to check it. 

  1. Launch Outlook and navigate to ‘File.’
  2. Choose ‘Options’ followed by ‘Search.’
  3. Now, choose ‘Indexing Options.’
  4. From the Indexing Options panel, choose ‘Modify.’
  5. Ensure that there’s a check besides Microsoft Outlook.
  6. Hit ‘OK’ and start your system again. 


6. Inspect the Indexing Group Policy Configuration in Outlook

It’s also a good option to resort to when you find Outlook search not working. But only Windows 10 Pro users have the option to use it. 

  • In the ‘Start’ menu, enter ‘gpedit.’ Now choose the immediate search result. 
  • Go to ‘User Configuration’ followed by ‘Administrative Templates’ and then ‘Search.’
  • Now check ‘Prevent indexing certain paths’ and ‘Default excluded paths’ options for modifications for Outlook.
  • If ‘Not configured’ is the policy state, it means this isn’t the source of your search functionality problem.


7. Start Outlook Again Via the Task Manager

Sometimes, simply restarting Outlook fixes the malfunctioning search function problem. You can try restarting Outlook via the Task Manager and see if the problem resolves. 

  • Navigate to the Start menu and input task manager. Now, tap on its search result. 
  • Right-tap ‘Mail’ under the ‘Processes’ tab and choose ‘End Task.’
  • Open Outlook again.
  • Lastly, update your Outlook version. 


8. Repair MS Outlook with Built-in Repair Utilities

You can use built-in repair utilities for repairing MS Outlook in both Windows and Mac. For Windows, you can use the built-in Office repair utility and for Mac, use the Outlook Search Repair utility. 



  1. Exit all MS Office applications.
  2. Type ‘Apps & Features on the search and choose this option.
  3. Locate and tap ‘Microsoft Office’ in the list of ‘Installed apps and features.
  4. Now opt for ‘Modify.’
  5. Choose ‘Online Repair’ or ‘Quick Repair’ followed by selecting the ‘Repair’ button.
  6. Now restart the Outlook application after the repair process ends.



  1. Download the Outlook Search Repair Utility and open it.
  2. Now delete all duplicate Outlook installations if you are prompted for it.
  3. Start your system when prompted.
  4. Choose the ‘Reindex’ button.
  5. Let the utility finish. It can take around an hour or more than that.
  6. Exit ‘Outlook Search Repair’ when you find the message ‘Reindexing has completed!’ on your screen.

Also Check:- How to Repair Office 365


9. Disable Add-ins in Your MS Outlook

Add-ins are a common third-party application that increases the productivity of Outlook users. However, if you use obsolete or incompatible add-ins, it can cause major problems. It can lead to different kinds of problems in Outlook, one of which includes the Outlook search feature not working. Your application may not respond and may also crash. To disable add-ins, follow these guidelines.

  1. Open Outlook and tap the ‘File’ tab.
  2. After that, click ‘Options’ and then tap ‘Add-ins’ from the list.
  3. You will find a list of various add-ins like disabled, active, and inactive add-ins on your screen. 
  4. Choose ‘COM Add-ins’ from the ‘Manage List’ and hit ‘Go.’
  5. Untick the add-ins that you desire to disable and then tap ‘OK.’
  6. Start the Outlook application again if you want to find the consequence of disabling your add-ins.


10. Resolve the Problem with Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is a huge internal database having critical machine-specific data about system hardware, installed software, settings, and profile information. You can repair the Outlook search function not working problem using the Windows Registry.

  1. Hit the Windows key and R to find the ‘Run’ dialog.
  2. Input ‘Regedit’ and hit ‘Enter.’
  3. The Registry Editor will open.
  4. Hit ‘Ctrl’ and ‘F’ to launch the search menu.
  5. Paste the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
  6. Choose the right-hand panel. Right-click and choose ‘New Dword (32-bit).’
  7. Name the Dword as ‘PreventIndexingOutlook’ and give it a 0 value.
  8. Hit ‘OK’ and restart the system.


11. Reinstall MS Outlook

If you find the Outlook search feature not working, even after implementing a variety of fixes, try reinstalling Outlook. It is not a challenging process and has the potential to resolve the problem you are encountering. The following set of instructions will help you in doing so. Don’t forget to backup your personal data before you reinstall Outlook.

  • From the ‘Start’ menu head over to the ‘Control Panel’ section.
  • Next, double-tap the icon of ‘Add or Remove Programs.’ You will find a new window listing all the applications presently installed on your system.
  • Now scroll through these applications till you locate Microsoft Office. Now tap the ‘Change’ button. Let the installer program load. Wait for some time.
  • Proceeding forward, choose the ‘Reinstall or Repair’ option. Now hit ‘Next.’
  • Select ‘Reinstall Office’ and hit the ‘Install’ button.
  • Outlook will start to reinstall. Apart from it, other important software components will also reinstall.
  • When the installation process ends, click ‘OK.’


12. Make Another User Profile

When you find the Outlook search function not working, it can indicate a problem with your current Outlook profile. So, creating a new user profile in Outlook will help you put an end to this search feature problem. Follow these pointers to make another Outlook profile. 

  • Navigate to Outlook and choose ‘File.’
  • From here, choose ‘Account Settings’ followed by ‘Manage Profiles.’
  • Select ‘Show Profiles’ followed by ‘Add.’
  • Type in a name for your new profile in the box of ‘Profile Name’. 
  • Lastly, select ‘OK.’


Final Words

Use these methods whenever you find Outlook search not working. These techniques will undoubtedly prove to be helpful in resolving this problem. But you can also reach out to expert Outlook customer service professionals if the search function fails to work. They are there to help you 24/7.



Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.

Talk to Best Email Support Experts +1 314-558-6941