Outlook Instant Search Not Working | How To Fix? [2007 & 2010]


Email, even in 2017, is the most widely used professional tool for communication. Picking an email provider, however, is not that easy a task. With tech giants like Google (Gmail) & Microsoft (Outlook) the choices can be narrowed down to a large extent though. Not matter which one you use, technical problems will stick to you all the time. Today, we’re going to discuss once such serious issue with Outlook instant search. Many users have found the Outlook Instant Search not working, in both 2007 & 2010 version.

While sometimes the search won’t load complete results, sometimes it may stop working completely. But generally, these issues don’t carry much weight and can be fixed within minutes. The very common cause of the inefficiency of Outlook search is the absent-mindedness of the users as they forget to turn on the search function of Outlook. I won’t blame them because when Outlook 2007 is upgraded to Outlook 2010, the search function gets disabled by default. One needs to go an extra mile to check the settings and re-enable the search function. Here’s how to do it.

outlook search not working

How To Re-Enable Outlook Search Function?

  1. Shut down Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Navigate to Control Panel>Programs>Programs & Features>Turn Windows Feature On/Off.
  3. Now is the important step. Ensure that the “Indexing Services” is checked.
  4. Start the Outlook and check if the search function has resumed working or not.

I’m pretty sure that most of you guys will solve the error using the above method. However, in any case, if you still are facing the search block, then it’s probably a severe indexing issue and might require an index rebuild. How do you do that? Here it is.

How To Rebuild Outlook Search Index?

  1. Open the Microsoft Outlook.
  2. File (Upper left corner)>>Options>>Indexing Options>>Advance>>Rebuild.
  3. Rebuilding the Outlook search index will take time.
  4. Once it is done, restart the Outlook.

Alternatively, a very intelligent gentleman mentioned another series of steps which helped many people solve the Outlook search not working issue. You might try your luck.

  1. When the Outlook is open, Go to Start>>Indexing Options>>Modify>>Uncheck Outlook.
  2. Click on OK to everything and close the window.
  3. Close the Outlook.
  4. Again open Outlook.
  5. Revisit Start>>Indexing Option>>Modify>>Check Outlook.
  6. Click on OK to everything and close the window.
  7. Try using the search box again, hopefully, it will work.

As absurd as it gets, another solution to this problem is to delete the profile and create another one. One may find the Outlook instant search working again. Leaving all these complex solutions behind, even a simple corrupted file could create a trickle-down effect and hamper the search function. Over the time, Outlook files could get corrupted and result in Outlook search issues, which is very common. Hence, the easiest solution is to run the Inbox repair tool to scan and clean the corrupted files. Moreover, this can be the simplest answer to the question you’ve been banging your head for. So, try these steps and you might just be fine.

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  1. In the Windows search box, search for “Scanpst.exe”.
  2. Run this .exe file and let it do the work.
  3. Check for the search function again.

I’d be really sad to say that if this doesn’t work, rebuilding is the only choice. But there’s nothing worry, most of the people have reported solving the Outlook search not working issue after executing the above methods. We have covered almost all the possible solutions. One thing that we have not covered is an alternative manual way of rebuilding the search index, but that won’t be necessary. If it was for the rebuild, the one method we have mentioned will work like a charm. Anyways, let us know if these methods have helped you solve the Outlook search not working problem.


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