Is the Microsoft Outlook 2019, 2016, or 2013 search not working for you? Does it just come up with the message “Something went wrong and your search couldn’t be completed.”, “Search performance will be impacted because Outlook is not configured to be indexed by the Windows Search service.” or “We couldn’t find what you were looking for.” even though you know you have messages that meet your search criteria? Give these steps a try.
Fix 1 – Ensure Windows Search Service is Started
- Select “Start” and type “CMD“.
- Right-click “Command Prompt” then choose “Run as administrator“.
- If prompted, enter a username and password that grants admin rights to the computer.
- Type “sc config wsearch start= auto“, then press “Enter“. You should get a “SUCCESS” message.
- Type “net start wsearch“, then press “Enter“. You should receive a message that the service was started.
Fix 2 – “Hide Messages” Setting
This tip seems to commonly help people.
- In Outlook, select “View” > “Change View” and ensure you don’t have “Hide Messages Marked For Deletion” selected.
Fix 3 – Reset Indexing
If Fix 1 didn’t do it, try to perform these steps to reset Outlook Indexing.
- In Outlook, go to “File” > “Options” > “Search” > “Indexing Options” > “Modify” and uncheck “Microsoft Outlook“. Select “Close” when done.
- Go to “File” > “Account Settings” > “Account Settings“.
- Select the “Data Files” tab.
- Write down the “Location” for where each “OST” file is located. We will need to go to the folder(s) specified.
- Close Outlook.
- Using “Windows Explorer” navigate to the folder(s) where the OST file(s) is/are located. These are the folders you wrote down in step 4. The location is usually “C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook“.
- Highlight all the OST files in the folder. You can hold the “CTRL” key to click and select each one.
- Right-click a highlighted file, then select “Properties“.
- Select the “Advanced…” button.
- Check the “Allow this file to have contents indexed in addition to file properties” option if it isn’t checked already, then select “OK“.
- Now Open Outlook, then go back to “File” > “Options” > “Search” > “Indexing Options” > “Modify” and recheck “Microsoft Outlook“. Select “Close” when done.
Fix 4 – Rebuild Search Index
Note: This could take several hours to complete.
- In Outlook, select “File” > “Options” > “Search“.
- Select the “Indexing Options…” button.
- Select “Advanced“.
- Select the “Rebuild” button.
- Select “OK” to start the rebuild.
Give Outlook a few minutes to index items. The search feature should start working eventually.
Fix 5 – Allow Access to Windows Search
- Select start, type “Services“, then open the “Services“app.
- Right-click “Windows Search” then select “Properties“.
- Select the “Log on” tab.
- Ensure the “Allow service to interact with desktop” box is checked.
- Select “OK“.
In Outlook, why is my “Indexing Options” button is grayed out?
This is probably because you have a policy set to disable it. Try this:
- Close Outlook.
- Select “Start“, type “regedit“, then open the Registry Editor.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search
- Look to see if you have a key named “PreventIndexingOutlook“, double-click it and set it to “0“.
Do you have any tips for Searching within public folder on outlook
We tried fix #1 but got a System error 1067 and the process terminated unexpectedly message in the CMD. Does that mean we should move on to the other fixes or is there a bigger problem happening here?
Fix 3 works, but only for one session. If I restart Outlook it won’t return any results again. Performing step 1 and 11 from the fix again will make it work but only for that session. In that session Outlooks dislpays the message “Something went wrong and your search couldn’t be completed” which is puzzling because it DOES produce results in that session. (Unfortunately I can’t send a screenshot of this here to demonstrate).
Billy Shears says
A Full Office repair was what fixed it for me ….
Do you have any tips for Searching within .PST files?
I recently created an Outlook Data File to cleanup my inbox that was reaching capacity.
I saved that .PST on a Network drive then re-opened it on my Outlook. When I try to search within that folder, I receive no results, regardless of my search parameters.