How to Fix Outlook Search Not Working Issue? – Expert Guide

Outlook is no doubt the most widely used email client and is popular among businesses of all sizes. However, there are some flaws in this email client application that exasperate its users. We have recently received one such query in our mailbox regarding an Outlook 365 Search not Working issue which is given below.

“My Outlook search not working for the past few days. I am unable to search any email, option, contacts, or calendar. I tried to find a satisfactory solution on the Internet but got nothing useful. Please help me by providing a reliable and easy method to fix this Outlook email search not working problem. Any help will be appreciable.

Now, there can be many possible reasons for this Outlook error and so as multiple methods to resolve the issue. We will discuss both. First, start with some major reasons for the Outlook issue.

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Reason for the Outlook Search Not Working Issue

If you are using an Outdated version of MS Outlook, you are most likely to face various issues. The search function not working in Outlook is one such problem. The older version consists of multiple bugs because of which Microsoft launched the updated version with all the bugs fixed. Therefore, you must always use the updated version of MS Outlook to prevent Outlook issues.

Another scenario for encountering Outlook Search not Working is when the emails are not indexed on the data file. Outlook emails might have stopped indexing because of a faulty add-in extension or Outlook data file corruption. These are the two major causes of the Outlook email search not working. Now, let us discuss the solution to the query, “How do I fix the email search not working in the Outlook PST file?’

How Do I Fix Search Issues in Outlook?

Understanding the root cause of a problem is crucial because only then we can choose an appropriate solution for the issue. Now, we know the main reasons for the Outlook issue and based on that we have multiple methods to resolve it. Let us check these solutions one by one.

#1. Repair the Office Setup

  • Open the Control Panel and click on the Uninstall a program option.
  • After that, select the Office setup and click on the Change button.
  • A Microsoft pop-up will appear. Tick the Quick Repair option and click on the Repair button.
  • In the next wizard, again click on the Repair button.
  • This process will take some time. After completing the process, click OK.

#2. Use Registry Editor to Fix Email Search not Working

  • Press Win+R to open the Run wizard.
  • Type ‘regedit’ in the field and press the Enter button.
  • It will open the Registry Editor. Go to the following path.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search
  • Now, right-click on it and select the New option. Choose DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  • Assign the name ‘PreventIndexingOutlook’.
  • Double-click on it. Type 0 in the Value Data field and press Enter.

#3. Check the Outlook Indexing Group Policy

If the Indexing group policy is not set to the required value, the Outlook search will not work and you will face Outlook 2019 search not working. Therefore, you need to make sure that these settings are adjusted to the desired value. Follow the below instructions.

  • In the Windows Search box, type ‘gpedit’ . Select the Edit Group Policy option.
  • Now, select the Administrative Templates in the User Configuration.
  • After that, expand the Windows Components and choose the Search option.
  • Now, make sure the Default Excluded Paths and Prevent Indexing Certain Paths are set to ‘Not Configured.’

If the above condition is satisfied, Indexing Group Policy is not the issue for the Microsoft Outlook search not working issue.

Also Read: Resolved: “Microsoft Outlook has Stopped Working” Error on Windows

#4. Use the Index Repairing Option In Outlook

A damaged or corrupted Index is one of the major causes of the Microsoft Outlook mail search not working issue. Fortunately, Outlook allows you to repair the Index. Thus, you can fix the issue. Follow the below instructions.

  • Open MS Outlook and click on the File button.
  • After that, choose the Options tab. It will open the Options menu.
  • Now, select the Search option and click on the Indexing options button.
  • Select Microsoft Outlook and click on the Advanced tab.
  • In the Advanced wizard, click on the Rebuild button and press OK.
  • At last, click OK to confirm the action. Wait till the process finishes.

#5. Check for the Windows Search Service Status

  • Press Win+R to open the Run wizard. Type ‘services.msc’ in the field and press Enter.
  • Now, scroll down and select the Windows Search option.
  • Make sure the Status is running. If not, right-click on it and select Start.
  • Double-click on the Window Search option. Choose Automatic Delay in the Startup Type and press OK.
  • Now, restart the PC and check if the Microsoft Outlook Search not Working issue has been resolved.

#6. Disable Faulty Add-ins

Another common reason for various Outlook issues is faulty add-ins. If you are facing the Outlook search not working problem, it might be because of troublemaking add-ins. Therefore, you need to disable them and check if the problem is resolved or not.

  • Open MS Outlook and click on the File button.
  • After that, select the Options tab. It will open the Options wizard.
  • Now, choose the Add-ins tab and scroll down to the Manage Add-in section.
  • Unselect all the Outlook add-ins and click on the OK button to save changes.
  • Restart the Outlook application and check if the problem has been resolved.

#7. Repair Corrupted Outlook Data File

Corrupted Outlook data files cause many issues in Outlook. You can use the inbuilt scanpst.exe to repair the corrupted data files. It allows you to repair the damaged data file and restore maximum data from it. Follow the below steps.

  • Open the File Explorer and go to the following location and locate the SCANPST.exe
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Double-click on it to launch the application.
  • Now, press the Browse button and choose the desired Outlook data file.
  • After that, click on the Start button to start the file scanning.
  • Next, click on the Repair button to initiate the file recovery.
  • After completing the file recovery, click OK to close the application.

Best Alternative to the Inbox Repair Tool

As we mentioned that the Inbox repair tool or SCANPST.exe is suitable for fixing minor corruption. But this utility is not effective for repairing heavily corrupted files. So, we suggest the professional PST Recovery Tool for recovering maximum data from the damaged Outlook data file.

The professional PST File Recovery is the fast, most reliable, and most effective software to repair severely corrupted Outlook PST files. Moreover, it provides various features for recovering maximum data from the damaged Outlook data file. Moreover, this utility is compatible with all Windows OS versions.

Also Read: How to Fix Outlook Error 0x800ccc0f -Top 2 Solutions


The Outlook Search not working issue generally arises when emails are not indexed properly in Outlook or the Outlook application is hindered by other extensions or applications. Now, you can resolve the problem by rebuilding the email indexes, repairing the Office setup, verifying Outlook group policies, disabling faulty add-ins, and repairing corrupted Outlook data files. To repair damaged data files, you can use scanpst.exe. However, it is an outdated and less effective approach. Therefore, we recommend the advanced PST recovery tool for maximum data recovery in minimum time and effort.

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