Outlook Search not working

Is Microsoft Outlook failing to display any search results? Here in this post, we try to find out the reasons why Outlook Search not working and how to fix it. Actually, with the latest Windows 11, Outlook Search uses Windows Search to offer a much faster experience by using pre-indexed search results. And still, windows 11 is new there may be a bug hitting Windows search including Outlook search not working. Again, problems with the Outlook app or indexing options or corrupted system files also cause search not working in Outlook. Whatever the reason here we have a few working solutions apply to fix Microsoft Outlook Search not working on Windows 11.

Search not working outlook

Outlook’s search function is a powerful tool for quickly finding emails, contacts, and important information. However, there are times when it may not work as expected, Here are some common reasons why search not working Outlook.

  • A damaged Outlook user profile can lead to search problems.
  • Third-party add-ins can sometimes conflict with Outlook’s search functionality.
  • If your mailbox is very large, it may take longer for Outlook to index and retrieve search results.
  • Poor or unstable internet connectivity can affect Outlook’s ability to perform searches.
  • Security software may sometimes block Outlook’s search functionality.
  • Essential Outlook files may be missing or damaged, affecting the search feature.

If you are unable to use your mailbox because the Outlook search is not showing results, here are troubleshooting tips to fix the issue.

Tweak registry settings

As discussed before with Windows 11 Outlook Search uses Windows Search for fast search results. Let’s tweak the Windows registry to disable the Windows search and tell Outlook to use its built-in search.

  • Press Windows key + R, type regedit and click ok to open the registry editor,
  • Locate the subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows
  • Right-click on the Windows key, New > Key, and name the new key Windows Search.
  • Now select and right-click on the Windows Search key, New > DWORD (32bit) Value and name it PreventIndexingOutlook.
  • Right-click PreventIndexingOutlook, click Modify and type 1 to Value data box,

Registry tweak to disable windows search

  • Finally, close everything reboot your computer and check if the Outlook search is working.

Note: If you want to re-enable the Windows Desktop Search, you need to disable the PreventIndexingOutlook setting by typing 0 (zero) and clicking OK.

Update Microsoft Office

If your Windows or Microsoft Office is not up to date then it can cause such problems. Check and make sure to install the latest Windows updates and update MS Office as well.

You can update Windows 11 following the steps below:

  • Press Windows key + I to open settings,
  • Click on Windows Update then check for updates
  • If any new updates are available download them and restart your PC to apply the changes.

To update Microsoft Office

Outdated software can have compatibility issues. Ensuring Outlook is up-to-date can resolve these problems.

  • Start Outlook and go to File> Office Account.
  • Under Office Account, click Office Updates, and then click Update Now.
  • This will update the office, once you update the office, start Outlook and check the search is working fine or not.

update outlook

Check outlook index locations

Indexing is the process of gathering information from files, emails, and other content on your PC and cataloging it in order. Indexing helps computers to search faster. When you search for any file on your PC, Windows Search will analyze the search and you will get the results faster.

  • Start Outlook and click File> Options.
  • In the Outlook options on the left side, click on Search and then click on Indexing Options.
  • Under Indexing Options, click Modify, and under Indexed Locations, click Show All Locations.
  • Then choose all the locations and click OK.

Check outlook index locations

Rebuild search index

The search feature relies on an index that catalogs the content of your mailbox. If this index becomes corrupted or incomplete, Outlook may struggle to deliver accurate search results. To address indexing issues, rebuilding the search index is often the first step. This process essentially refreshes the index, ensuring it accurately reflects the contents of your mailbox.

Rebuilding the search index essentially means recreating the database that Outlook uses to quickly find items.

  • Press the Windows key + R, type control and click ok to open the control panel,
  • From the upper right corner, set the View by option to large icons. Then find Indexing Options and click on it.
  • Then under Indexing Options click Advanced, now you will get the Advanced Options window.
  • Click the Index Settings tab, and under Troubleshooting, click Rebuild.
  • This will rebuild the search index; it will take some time depending on the speed of your computer and the number of files on your system.

Rebuild search index

Check Outlook Add-Ins

Add-ins are like extra tools in Outlook. Sometimes, they can conflict with the search function. Checking and disabling problematic add-ins can resolve the issue.

  1. Open Outlook in Safe Mode by pressing “Windows key + R,” typing “Outlook /safe,” and pressing Enter.
  2. If the Search function works in Safe Mode, it indicates an add-in is causing the issue.
  3. Go to “File” > “Options” > “Add-Ins.”
  4. At the bottom of the window, select “COM Add-ins” from the dropdown menu and click “Go.”
  5. Disable add-ins one by one and test the search function after each disablement to identify the problematic one.

Repair Your Outlook Personal Folder File (.PST)

Another effective solution is to repair your Outlook personal folder file (.PST) using the Inbox Repair tool. You need to open scanpst.exe depending on your Outlook version.

32-bit Office 2016 and newer: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\
64-bit Office 2016 and newer: C:\Program Files (x86) \Microsoft Office\Office16\
64-bit Outlook 2016 and newer: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\
Office 365 (2016 package): C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\office16\
32-bit Office 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\
64-bit Office 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\
64-bit Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\
Office 365 (2013 package): C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\office15\

Also, need to know the location of your PST file. Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and users of newer versions should find their personal folder file at:


Found everything? Right-click on scanpst.exe and select Run as administrator.

  1. Click on browse then locate your personal folder file location
  2. Finally, click on start to start the repair process which will take some time depend on your PST file size.
  3. Now check if this helps fix Outlook searching not working problem.

Repair your Outlook data files (.pst file)

Run search and indexing troubleshooter

In addition, run the built-in search and indexing troubleshooter that automatically finds and fixes problems prevent Outlook display search results.

  • Open the Start menu, type in troubleshoot settings, and press Enter.
  • Select Other Troubleshooters then Scroll down to locate Search and Indexing
  • Click on the Run button and follow the on-screen instructions to begin troubleshooting.

Create a New Outlook Profile

Creating a new Outlook profile provides a fresh start and can often resolve issues related to a corrupted or misconfigured profile.

  1. Press the Windows key and type “Control Panel.” Open it.
  2. In Control Panel, search for “Mail” using the search bar in the top-right corner and open it.
  3. In the Mail Setup dialog box, click “Show Profiles.”
  4. Click “Add” to create a new profile. Follow the prompts to set up the new profile.
  5. Set the newly created profile as the default.

Repair Microsoft Outlook

  • Press Windows key + R, type appwiz.cpl and click ok to open programs and features window,
  • Scroll down and select your MS Office version and click Change from the top menu.
  • Now you will get a pop-up window with two quick and online repair options.
  • Try Quick Repair first if that doesn’t fix the problem, then choose Online Repair.
  • Let the process complete, then restart your system

Repair Microsoft office


Did the above solutions help fix Microsoft Outlook search not working on Windows 11? Let us know on the comments below.

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Steve Ballmer
With over 7 years of experience in the IT industry, I have experience in IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. Certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.