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How to Fix Outlook Search Not Working Problem?

Outlook is one application that not only helps access your emails but also takes care of your meeting schedules, reminders, contacts, to-do list, and other important information. The search is one feature that you can count on to access any of this information quickly.
Without even realizing, we become so reliant on Outlook search that it can get very annoying when Outlook search stops working. Search can also stop working when Outlook even stops indexing. This could be due to the faulty application or the Outlook data file corrupted. Here is complete information on how to resolve Outlook Not working issue.

How do i know if Search Function is Not Working in Outlook?

  • Outlook doesn't return searched results.
  • Outlook is not showing any result on screen.
  • Outlook search didn't find anything matching with your query.
  • Outlook search is not returning recent or older emails
  • Search tab is unusable.

In case you have encountered one of the above issues, don’t worry we have got you covered. Below we have mentioned 8 guaranteed ways using which you can fix search function not working in Outlook.

What are the reasons behind Outlook Search function not working?

The reasons behind unresponsive search function in Outlook can be many, right from minor issues including using out-of-date version of Outlook to disabled index option, inactive search service and issues in Outlook application. Problems like these can be fixed manually. If you are unable to fix them manually one of the major reasons can be Outlook PST files getting corrupt. Which makes those files inaccessible to the user and Outlook cannot index them. So, in order to access those files, one must try to repair them.

Remo Repair Outlook PST is designed to repair and restore extremely corrupt damaged or inaccessible Outlook files. With just 3 simple steps (Select, Scan and Repair) you can now fix any Outlook file.

Click here to know what more can Remo Repair Outlook PST can do for you.

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8 Sure-Shot Methods to Fix Search Function not working in Outlook

  1. Update Microsoft Outlook
  2. Check the Indexing Status
  3. Enable Outlook Indexing Option
  4. Rebuild Outlook Search Index catalogue
  5. Verify if Search Service is Running
  6. Disable Add-ins in Outlook
  7. Repair Outlook Program with Microsoft Inbuilt Repair Tool
  8. Repair Corrupt Outlook Files

1. Update Microsoft Outlook

Using Outdated application causes users to face all sorts of glitches and issues.

Updating Outlook may resolve the issue of search function not working in Outlook.

Follow the steps mentioned below to check for any pending updates.

Step 1: Launch Outlook

Step 2: Click on File Tab, Click on office Account

Step 3: Click on Office Updates, Click on Update Now.

2. Check the indexing status

One reason why the Search box might not be responding is because Outlook may not have indexed all the mails or items in the data file completely. To check the indexed status follow the steps below.

Fix outlook indexing problem

  • Click on the Search tab in the Outlook application.
  • Select the Search Tools and click on Indexing Status from the drop-down
  • If you don’t see a message stating “Outlook has finished indexing all of your items. 0 items remaining to be indexed”, Wait for few more minutes so that all the items are indexed completely.

3. Enable Outlook Indexing Option

At times the Outlook might have been removed from the list of Indexing items. In order to check and enable the indexing option here is what you need to do.

  • Click on the Start menu, type Indexing Options in the search box and select the displayed option.

Add MS Outlook to index list to fix search problem

  • In the Indexing Options dialog box, check if the Microsoft Outlook is listed under Index these locations column
  • If Microsoft Outlook is not listed, select Modify, and then click to enable the checkbox next to Microsoft Outlook

Add Outlook to enable outlook search function to work

  • Select OK, and then select Close

Note - If you are wondering how to add or enable the missing Outlook Search Bar, click here.

4. Rebuild Outlook Search Index Catalog

If Outlook is still stuck at indexing, rebuilding the index catalog is one easy way to overcome this issue.

  • Click on the Start menu and type Indexing Options in the search box

Rebuild index to fix Oultook not working problem with Advance Indexing option

  • In the Indexing Options dialog box, select Advanced
  • In the Advanced Options dialog box, select Rebuild and select OK

5. Verify if Search Service is Running

Search service is very important for the Outlook search box to function properly. This option will be enabled by default. However, if the Search service is not running follow the steps below to enable it.

  • Press Windows+R to open the Run window
  • Type services.msc and click OK.

enter service window to repair outlook search problem

  • Find the Windows Search option from the list and double click on it.

choose windows search to enable outlook search function

  • Under the Startup type select the Automatic (Delayed Start) option if it wasn't selected previously.

Fix Outlook search problem by selecting Automatic start type

  • The Service status should show Running by default, if not, click the Start button below to start the service.

6. Disable Add-ins in Outlook

Add-ins are third party application built to boost users’ productivity. Having said that, using outdated or incompatible add-in can cause havoc. Which might result in various types of issues in Outlook including Outlook application not working or responding, or Search function related problems, at times Outlook crash as well.

Follow the steps explained below to disable add-ins.

  • Launch Outlook, Click on File tab
  • Click on Options, Click on Add-ins from the list
  • A list of all the add-ins including active, inactive and disabled add-ins will appear on the screen.
  • Select COM Add-ins from Manage list, click Go
  • Untick the add-ins that you want to disable, Click OK
  • To see the effect of disabling add-ins, Restart Outlook application

7. Repair Outlook Program with Microsoft Inbuilt Repair Tool

If the above-mentioned troubleshooting steps haven’t worked out, there could be a problem with the Outlook program. You can fix this problem by repairing the Outlook with built-in repair utility.

  • Open Settings from Start menu and select Apps
  • Under Apps & Features choose Microsoft Office Professional and click on Modify

Repair Outlook to fix search problem

  • Choose Quick Repair from the option  to repair Outlook

Repair outlook to fix outlook search function

  • If your problem still persists, choose Online Repair to fix the program

Even after using the above-mentioned steps, if the issue was not resolved then the reason is corrupt Outlook files. Read the next section to know more about Corrupt files and how to repair them.

8. Repair Corrupt Outlook Files in order to Fix unresponsive Outlook Search

Did your Outlook application abruptly close without any prior warning? Or did it take unusually long time to complete simple task such as creating a new Email or perform any other task?

These issues might indicate that your Outlook PST files are corrupt. Below are the two ways that are guaranteed to repair your corrupt Outlook files.

Try fixing Outlook search with SCANPST.exe

SCANPST.exe is an inbuilt Outlook Tool designed repair data file. Using Scanpst to fix minor corruption is usually a good bet.

Follow the steps mentioned below to know how to use SCANPST.exe.

Firstly, navigate to SCANPST location and then run the program

Fix Outlook search with scanpst

  • After launching the application, click on Browse and choose the Outlook data file to be repaired (if you cannot find outlook data file, click on the given link)
  • Next, click on Start
  • If the tool detected any errors it will be displayed, click on Repair to fix the errors.
  • You can try to access your Outlook after PST Repair complete message box appears

Having said that, using scanPST.exe at times becomes tedious and time-consuming. Many users have reported that the tool freezes or stops responding in the middle of the repair process.

If your files are severely corrupt then the only way to fix them is using a powerful PST file repair tool.

Remo Repair Outlook PST- is an advanced PST repair tool which is built to repair severely corrupt or damaged even inaccessible files on all versions of Outlook. Integrated with read-only-mechanism, it makes sure that no harm is done to the damaged PST file during the repair process.

You can try Remo Repair now for free, and Pay when you are satisfied with the result.

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If you have followed the troubleshooting steps mentioned in the writeup, you will definitely resolve the Outlook search problem. If you haven’t been able to solve the issue, kindly let us know your doubts and queries in the comment section below.

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Tony Landry

Tony Landry is a Web Content Editor at Remo Software. He loves to write, edit, and manage content for users trying to troubleshoot and fix problems on Windows, Outlook, storage drives and Cloud storage networks.

He has published more than 200 articles in Remo Software blog. He actively engages in research and problem-solving techniques to consistently generate great web content. Fixing various hardware problems on computer and storage devices along with a great knack for fixing Outlook errors, Tony is also the fun-time IT guy for all his work friends. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys cycling.

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