Outlook has long been the go-to email client for Microsoft users. It has been the foundation of many offices thanks to its nifty task management features and automation that helps almost everyone with their workflow.
Over the past few years, Outlook has gone through many changes and the latest now allows it to use Windows Search for enhanced functionality. This feature was first included in Outlook 2016, however, a recent update seems to break this feature. Are you in the same boat? So here’s everything you need to know about it!
Related: How to Search in Windows 11: Tips and Tricks You Should Know
Why is Outlook search not working?
Outlook Search today uses Windows Search to provide a much faster experience using pre-indexed search results. As Windows 11 is relatively new, Microsoft regularly releases updates to patch and fix persistent bugs. It seems that the latest update breaks Outlook search for many users due to its built-in functionality to use Windows Search.
This is a known issue and Microsoft has acknowledged it. The company recently released a permanent fix which you can find in the guide below. If however, search is still not working for you, you can use the following fixes listed in the guide.
Related: How to Find Duplicate Files in Windows 11
Outlook Search Not Working: 4 Major Fixes
You can fix search in Outlook using the fixes mentioned below. We recommend trying the official registry fix first and going through the list if that doesn’t fix your problem. Let’s start!
Method #01: Use Registry
This is the Microsoft recommended fix and it fixes Outlook Search on most Windows 11 systems. Follow the steps below to help you with the process.
Windows + RType the following and press Enter on your keyboard when done.
Navigate to the next path using the sidebar on your left. You can also copy-paste the path below into the address bar at the top of your screen.
Right click on an empty area on your right with Windows selected on your left and select “New”.
Name your new key under “Windows” as follows.
Click and select the new key, right click on an empty area and select “New”.
This time, select “DWORD (32-bit) Value”.
Enter the following and press Enter on your keyboard.
Double click on the newly created value and enter ‘1’ as value data.
Click ‘Ok’ when you are done.
Now close everything and restart your PC for good measure.
Search should now be back up and running as expected in Microsoft Outlook.
Method #02: Check Search Indexing and Locations
If the above registry fix didn’t work for you, let’s check your indexing options and locations to make sure everything was set up correctly. Follow the guide below to get started.
Open Outlook and select the search box at the top.
Now click on ‘Tools’.
Select ‘Research Tools’.
Now click on ‘Indexing Status’.
If your files are being indexed, you will just have to wait for the indexing to complete. Once complete, your search should work as expected in Microsoft Outlook.
Related: How to fix “Windows 11 Start menu not working” issue?
Method #03: Rebuild your search index cache
You can also manually rebuild your search index cache using the guide below. This patch is known to resolve this issue on machines with multiple POP and IMAP accounts with huge amounts of local and online data. Keep in mind that this process may take some time depending on your network bandwidth and currently available resources. Follow the guide below to get started.
Open the Start menu, search for Control Panel and launch it from your search results.
Click on ‘Indexing options’.
Click on ‘Edit’.
A new window with the currently indexed detailed locations will now open on your screen. Make sure your Outlook databases have been selected at the top and Microsoft Outlook is listed in the bottom half of the window. If not, add the desired locations and check the corresponding boxes.
Close the window and click ‘Advanced’.
Now click ‘Ok’ to confirm your choice. And that’s all! Your search index will now be rebuilt in the background. Once the process is complete, Outlook Search should work in Windows 11 as expected.
Method #04: Repair Microsoft Outlook
If at this point Outlook is not working for you, we recommend that you repair and reset the app on Windows 11. Follow the guide below to get started.
Windows + i and click on ‘Apps’ on your left.
Scroll down to find Microsoft Outlook and click the “3 dots” menu icon next to it.
Select ‘Advanced options’.
Now click “Repair”.
Once the process is complete, click ‘Reset’.
We now recommend that you restart your PC, but this is completely optional. Launch Outlook on your PC, log in to your account and try using the search function again. If you had any app issues, they should now be fixed and search should work as expected.
Related: How to Repair Windows 11 [15 Ways]
Last resort options: 3 general fixes
At this point, you might be facing an issue with the Outlook application itself or Microsoft Office services. It’s a good idea to perform a clean install to get everything up and running again on your system. Follow the guide below to get started.
Method #01: Reinstall Microsoft Outlook
We recommend you to use the above tool to completely remove Microsoft Office from your system including Microsoft Outlook. You can then reinstall the same using a valid Microsoft Store license.
Download the tool linked above and launch it on your PC. Select your version of Microsoft Office from the list on your screen and click “Next.” Follow the on-screen instructions and restart your PC as shown in the last step. Once your PC restarts, the uninstaller will continue to do its job and completely remove Office from your device. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process and close the tool when done.
Method #02: Use System Restore
At this point, there is no choice but to roll back recent changes to your PC that may have caused this bug. The best way to do that is to use System Restore and you can use this comprehensive guide from us to restore your PC to a previously known working restore point. If however, System Restore is not enabled on your system, you will need to use one of the last remedies mentioned below instead.
Method #03: Reset Windows 11 PC
If at this point you’re still having Outlook search issues, we recommend resetting your PC if it’s important to you to get search working again. If not, we recommend waiting a few days as this issue should resolve itself. Microsoft will release a server-side patch or release a Windows update to resolve this issue.
However, if you still want to reset your PC, you can use this comprehensive guide from us to help you get started.
Related: How to Reset Windows 11: Everything You Need to Know
It’s not every day that Outlook crashes on Microsoft systems. Therefore, here are some frequently asked questions that should help you get familiar with this problem.
Is editing the registry safe?
Editing the registry is not safe and unknown or erroneous changes can seriously damage your PC. They can cause performance issues, break functionality, and in the worst case, render your current user account completely unusable. We recommend that you back up your registry each time you make changes to it so that you can restore the original values if something goes wrong with your changes.
How to create a registry backup?
Creating a registry backup is quite simple. With Registry Editor open on your screen, navigate to File > Export. Now choose a location and name for your file, make sure “All” is selected at the bottom, then click “Save”.
A backup file will now be exported to your chosen location and you should now be able to restore your values in case something goes wrong in the future.
Does Outlook use Windows Search?
Yes, Outlook has been using Windows Search as a faster way to deliver results since the release of Outlook 2016. This is a much sought after feature, especially by POP and IMAP email users who were experiencing slow search times in Outlook before this change.
We hope this guide helped you easily repair Outlook Search on your PC. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us using the comment section below.